When I said, “yes” to getting married for the third time I often wondered where the saying, “The third time’s a charm” came from. I heard it constantly from people.
It’s the belief that the third time is lucky because a person is more likely to succeed than the previous two attempts. It’s considered a good luck charm. The term originates from a phrase in Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Letters addressed to R. H. Horne, 1839:
“The luck of the third adventure” is proverbial.
It is listed explicitly in Alexander Hislop’s The proverbs of Scotland, 1862:
“The third time’s lucky.”
The phrase “try, try, and try again” also identifies “three” as the right number of times to try. (This makes me feel good because I’m a 2x divorcee. PLEASE don’t follow this advice if you’re doing well in Marriage #1 or #2. Again, STAY with your current marriage. Don’t follow in my footsteps). Think of every time you’ve seen a drama in which a character tries to unlock a door with a set of unfamiliar keys. The first key fails, the second key fails – it is always the third that works.
After two failed marriages, I thought I was doomed to never find love again. It’s easy to think, “I suck. Life blows. I must not be marriage material.” But then I realized, it’s more about emotional growth as a human being… and everyone is deserving of love, and forgiveness.
My first marriage didn’t survive for multiple reasons. We were young, naïve, and I thought the grass was greener on the other side. Shoooot. That grass had long been dead with weeds growing uncontrollably. I had postpartum depression but I didn’t realize it. Nobody understood that condition back in the 90’s. Because of my immaturity, I had convinced myself that a marriage should just “work” naturally. When I look back, I laugh at how dumb I was… But I still view that marriage as a blessing because we share something special between us – our only child, Matthew. I never truly grasped love until my son was born.
My second marriage failed because my ex was crazy. I felt like I awoke one day to find “Fire Marshall Bill” lying next to me. Did I just get punk’d? He used to be handsome but he took a wrong turn somewhere. He abused me, and there is no magic pill for “nuts” I finally realized. After our divorce, I spent years reiterating to people that I’d never remarry again – almost bragging about it. I became a temporary man-hater. I never wanted to put myself through that kind of vulnerability again.
By 2011, I had reached a point in my life where things were good, and I was happy being single. Nothing felt rushed and my days were whatever I wanted them to be. I had my son every other week. On kid-less weeks, I met up with girlfriends, went to bible study, church, co-ed soccer, hung out with family, and watched marathon television shows. Although I hadn’t surrendered ALL hope in finding love again, I still had no desire to ever get remarried. I’d rather drink a tall glass of 100% pure lime juice than do the “M” word again.
I had been exchanging emails with this guy “John” for a few months through a cheesy dating website. I hadn’t put any effort into my dating profile because I was using it to scroll for potentials, and not the other way around. I had no time for some weirdo hitting me up with pics of his lower anatomy. My profile picture was a blonde-haired anime angel, and I’ll admit she was creepy looking. I found two potentials and emailed them both but John was my first choice. His profile was kindly worded and well put together. This guy had it goin’ on. My first thought had been, “What’s wrong with this guy? Why is he single? He’s a good catch.” It’s that moment where you wish you could speak with their ex to get the real scoop. All I knew was, I wanted to meet him eventually.
The other potential guy was quickly squashed after talking with my girlfriend, Michele. I sent her pictures of both men and she was like, “Girllll, you don’t want to date that guy. I know him and he’s a total weirdo who doesn’t even own a cell phone.” I don’t know why, but that made a lot of sense to me. I mean, if he didn’t own a cell phone, that had to mean he was a tight-wad. Who doesn’t have a cell phone these days? Needless to mention I wasn’t into the Weekend-White-Guy image (as referenced in “Undateable”). You know – the office guy who breaks away on the weekends by wearing high-waisted, pleated khaki shorts with a leather belt, white running sneakers, and a polo shirt. Even worse would be a Hawaiian or Tommy Bahama shirt. Stop the madness. I just couldn’t deal.
If you’re a guy, ^^^ and this is your personal style, I am so sorry!
It was a beautiful St. Patrick’s Day when my brother, Michael, asked if I wanted to head out together for drinks. After all, we are Irish… even though I rarely drink. But I am funny as hell when I do have a few drinks. I turn into an instant comedian. My brother actually looks like a leprechaun, and I don’t mean that creepy, sadistic one that goes on killing rampages, searching for his beloved pot of gold. Michael is more like the Lucky Charms leprechaun. He’s adorable, and wants everyone to be happy. If only I had a rainbow for him to slide down right now…… *sigh* Anyway… I asked John if he wanted to meet up at the bar, and he said yes. I had no idea that a single week would change my outlook on love for the rest of my life.
The bar was packed, indoors and outdoors. There were so many people there celebrating, I had no idea if I’d even find John. To make matters more interesting, Michael decided he wasn’t going to head into the bar with a clean-shaven wholesome image. He decided to slip on his furry-orange-bearded “hat” set to look like a leprechaun. He didn’t even forewarn me. He just snatched this “thing” from the backseat and slipped it over his head. I was kind of jealous. I would have dressed up too had I known he was going for the “gold.”
We walked in and within 10 minutes I spotted John. He was wearing a navy blue New York Yankees ball cap. I found that to be humorous considering I was wearing an Orioles cap. (We’ve never resolved this dilemma till this day). He had freckles across his nose and cheeks, a genuine smile, and beautiful blue-green eyes. He was tall, and although he acted totally confident, I could see he was a little shy under the disguise. He also had the cutest little Ukrainian chin I had ever seen. (Image below is not from that day but still… same hat).
It was an instant attraction for me. I didn’t know if he felt it too but I was determined to make sure he felt something… even if it was, “Man, this chick is not my type, and her ball cap sucks.” We chatted and laughed the entire time. I wanted to latch on to him like a blood-sucking tick. Okay, that was a bad analogy. But he was perfect for me, and I knew it.
Michael had a few friends there and we all went to Cheeseburger in Paradise (CIP) for snacks. Following, I volunteered to let John drive me home. I lived five minutes from CIP, so it’s not like I was setting myself up to star in “48 Hours” or something. I knew I’d be fine. Michael pulled me off to the side – “Miss, I don’t know if this guy should drive you home. I mean, we don’t really know this dude.” Oh, here Michael goes again being that overprotective little brother that I argued with for years. There were some days he wouldn’t even let me leave the house when we roommated together because he didn’t approve of my attire. I started having flashbacks. He used to block our front door, demanding I change my outfit into something more appropriate. Yeah, hilarious… especially considering what I see girls wearing these days! I was in my late-30’s and Michael had been worried that “John” could make me his latest victim. My defense was: “Michael, he drives a minivan for Pete’s sake, and it’s not the rapist type of van advertising free women’s shoes or candy. It’s like a family van.” Do rapists drive family minivans? I don’t know, but luckily I wouldn’t have to find out.
We got to my driveway and I decided I was going for it. I said, “Hey, do you want to kiss to see if there’s a spark? Why waste each other’s time if there’s nothing here.” He had to think I was crazy but I do believe that saying is true – “It’s in his kiss.” His response threw me for a loop. He kindly said, “Oh no, we don’t have to do that. We just met a few hours ago.” I thought to myself, “Seriously?” I persisted. “John, c’mon. We need to see if there’s interest here.” He rejected me again. Finally I said, “Okay, I’m getting out of the van now… ” As I opened the door, he yelled, “Okay! Waitttt!” …AHA! Sucker. This was my lucky day!
In that moment I knew we had something special between us. I still didn’t believe in marriage but he convinced me otherwise with sweet letters, cards, and kindness. I came home one day to gluten free brownies on my doorstep. And it wasn’t like he just left a recycled grocery bag with a plastic container inside. They were beautifully wrapped in a heart-shaped gift bag.
We went for a motorcycle ride that next day to a local park. We stretched out across the tall grass, feeling the breeze against our skin… just talking and laughing….
The humorous part had been trying to keep it away from my teenage son. He was at an age where he knew my subtle laughter and when I had been sneaky. John and I tried video chatting on the weeks I had Matthew because I wasn’t ready for our kids to meet each other just yet. Saturday night rolled around I scooted toward the opposite end of the couch while watching TV with Matt. I felt giddy like a love-sick teenager. Finally Matt goes, “Mom! What’s up? Who are you talking to?!” He yanked away my laptop, and said, “I knew it was a dude! Who is it? I want to know!” It was hilarious. The secret was out!
The rest is history. Time stood still yet it flew by. Months felt like days, and here we are today – 5 years later and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. I always thought the word “soul-mate” was ridiculous… an over-played, dramatic title for someone who didn’t exist in the world. Now, I’m a total believer. When I’m old, and ready to take my last breath, I pray to God my love will be sitting next to me holding my hand. I’ve had talks with God, and he’s well aware that I want to go first. I’m just sayin’. Call me selfish, but hanging out several decades later alone doesn’t sound appealing to me.
John is the one and only true love of my heart. He makes me want to be a better person… and the best part is, he can never divorce me. I told him he’d have to bury me in the backyard. I don’t do divorces anymore. I mean, heck, if I got divorced a third time I might not even be marketable at that point… and that’s not fair to me. Who wants to be the broke version of Elizabeth Taylor? Not me ~
~ Our Wedding Song ~