I’m Getting Married.

By Jen Louden   |  31Comments|

I’m getting married.

Me, getting married.

We met four years ago on (His sister met her husband on Match too. Wild!) Both of us were simply looking for someone to have dinner with, maybe go for a hike. We’d both been on Match for a couple of weeks and were not digging it – it felt like person shopping and made us feel a little icky – so we were about to sign off when Bob sent me an email:

“Wow, you live on Bainbridge? Nobody single lives on Bainbridge. Want to have coffee?”

We meet. I liked him but not that way so on the sidewalk afterward, I said, “I’d love to be friends but we certainly don’t have a romance here.”

Oh, Jen, so adorable when you make your definite predictions.

Of course, it turns out I was utterly wrong because within a few weeks we were inseparable, at least as inseparable as single parents of children can be.

It also turns out we both terrified of marrying again. We couched our fear – not dishonestly – in
“We’ve done marriage, had the babies, now we’re going to be modern. We’re going to stick it to the man and never get married.”

Yet underneath our 60?s counter-culture brio lurked – speaking only for myself now – my most ancient fear: that I am unlovable. Impossible to live with. Too intense, too dark, too much.

Fast forward four years and a few weeks. We’re spending a week on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, turning into bodies of bliss via meditation and yoga-bendiness. We’re climbing the stairs to our little bungalow when Bob says, “I have a treat for you. And a surprise.”

I bop up the stairs ahead of him. “Sweet!”

We sat on our porch with the warm wind from the lake tickling our cheeks and shared a bar of our favorite chocolate. Me thinking: what a thoughtful guy.

And then: a Rumi love poem recited through tears, a perfect ring slipped on my finger, and a declaration:

“I want you to know that I want to spend the rest of my life with you, and I want the world to know that I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

I cry. I exclaim. I am shocked. Did. Not. See. This. Coming.

This is the moment in which I throw myself into his arms and cry yes, yes, yes! A thousand times yes.

If only. Instead, I froze. That ancient fear I mentioned, that “You can’t love me” ick? It gripped me like Gollum gripped the ring.

I sat there, barely breathing, as Bob waited for me to say yes.

I finally managed to stammer I was scared and I needed time to grow into my yes. I reassured him I was delighted and it was wonderful – amazing! – that he asked me, no really! – meanwhile, I felt … shuttered. Far away. Cold.

We finished our luscious retreat and set out for a week of gentle adventure through the magic, mystery and astonishing resiliency of Guatemala. Every once in awhile Bob would look at me quizzically and I would look at myself quizzically. Why was I so shut down?

As we traveled, I did my best to love and be kind to whatever part of me was so terrified. I breathed, I waited, I was as patient with myself as I could be.

It was a tad surreal – we were having an incredible trip and yet … there was this unspoken thing hovering between us.
And now we come to the last day of our trip. We’re in a splurge-y hotel room, getting dressed to take the flight home, and Bob asks, “What you are going to tell Lilly?”

I stutter something and he, gently but firmly, says,“I don’t want to tell the kids anything. Nothing has to change. We can just go along as before.”

And then he adds,“Pretend I didn’t ask.”

Sitting across the room from him, I felt two paths in front of me. One was the life I would live if I choose the story of being unlovable, of being intrinsically flawed. The other path was one of literal lightness – both in feeling and color – of knowing and sharing the ease of my essential goodness.

I could feel each path, each future, in my body. And then, it occurred to me that I had a choice.

I thought,“Could it truly be this easy? Could I just decide to be happy?”

I blurted out (and I mean blurted),“OK!”

Bob peered at me and slowly said,“OK?”

I checked in and yes, there was the biggest, the brightest, the ripest OK ever.

The whole room vibrated as we stared at each other.

“OK then!”

Tears, hugs, more tears, long kiss, tension-releasing belly laughs, then running for our plane with the dawning realization as we moved among people and settled into our seats: miracles happen.

Perhaps it is rare in life to see so clearly the choice between love and separation, between happiness and fear, but perhaps not. Perhaps these kinds of miracles are waiting for us every day, even every moment.

This is my truth: a miracle happened. I chose to turn away from the brittle, hackneyed story – a story that isn’t even mine but one I inherited along with my blue eyes and strong thighs – that I couldn’t say yes to the man I love because … how could he love me?

To say this decision – this leap into love – has changed everything – our relationship, our blended family, my work – is not an exaggeration.

I choose to be loved. I will choose it again and again and again.

I so hope you will, too.

For more by this author, visit

Photo credit: micala

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31 responses to I’m Getting Married.
  1. jes said on May 11, 2012

    I needed to read this right now, as I am typing in tears. I am so happy for you Jen!!

  2. beautiful, beautiful story, and beautifully written. congratulations, jen! a thousand blessings on your union. ?

  3. What a beautiful story. Just the other day in meditation the question came to me, “What if I simply chose to be happy with ___?” Going through relationship trouble has created quite a block, but that question rocked me… because I could see how simple it was to just be happy and get over the past. It’s a choice, and I choose to be happy no matter what or who is involved. :)

  4. Dear Jen,

    I don’t know you, but I so loved this blog. I hope you both have a wonderful, full of magic wedding day. I wish you a happy life together. Why? Because everybody deserves love. And you know what? A Dutch author once said: “love you don’t share, love is multiplied.” So, be love. Congrats!

    And thx to Kris for posting this on Facebook!

    – Sandra
    @DutchFreckle on twitter

  5. so so beautiful, i am a mess of tears. yes, we can choose happiness, we can say no to the “old voices” telling us we aren’t worth it. i am so so happy! I know this sounds mad, but as i was reading it the second time I just kept thinking, “I want to officiate their wedding”! (It is one of my jobs, it’s not totally random!) xx super congrats, beautiful beautful xx

  6. DS said on May 11, 2012

    Wow – yes, like someone stated above – I am also in tears.

    Amazing how things come right on time. I’ve been having this same EXACT internal conversation lately – been crying about it, meditating about it, literally having restless nights over it…thinking that I’m somehow too flawed to be close to or to contribute to anyone, irrespective of what anyone else says. I simply haven’t been believing this for myself.

    And I could SO see myself doing the same exact thing your gut instinct did in that moment. Wow, really tearing here. Wow. Thank you for this. And congratulations to you! Yes, remarkable how the choices we make shape our lives – and how they can shape them for the better when said choices are based on love.

    Thank you so much for sharing this story. Stunning, inside and out.

  7. This is so beautiful, Jen. Thank you for the reminder that we always have a choice! I really needed to hear that today. :) Congratulations to you <3

  8. Cher said on May 11, 2012

    So Cool, congratulations – be happy :)

  9. another vote for happy tears – and I can so relate! I just met an amazing guy and it’s been so wonderful and easy and I keep thinking “how can he like me?”. I am also choosing to leave my past behind, and my fears, and take a risk as he is. Yeah, we’re both scared but thinking positively can only lead to a positive outcome, no matter what happens. THANK YOU!!

  10. Cher said on May 11, 2012

    aww now I have read the whole thing, how beautiful, and very brave of you, I can so relate ;( maybe one day I will stand in your shoes. Thank you for sharing that, you have written it so well, I can feel your joy.
    I wish so much for you, for you both and your little ones.
    Cher :) xx

  11. Hi Jen,
    Congratulations on your brave leap of faith! We’re always sent lessons when we’re ready for them and your timing is perfect. Making decisions out of love instead of fear is the key to a happy existence. I actually felt my heart expanding as I read what you’d written… what a beautiful gift to receive from a stranger!
    Thank you.
    Karen x
    PS. Isn’t Guatemala amazing?!

  12. oh darling women, thank you so much for your kind words. We have been working on planning the wedding – for next August – and is so much fun. To love my dears, to love!

  13. Mary said on May 11, 2012

    Aww, I’m crying at work! What a great story, so relatable. Thanks so much for this today. you have no idea what perfect timing it was. :)

  14. kd12 said on May 11, 2012

    beautifully expressed. you touched so many of us who carry the same baggage. Tell you what. When you throw that bouquet at your wedding? Toss it to us — we promise to let go of our fear so there’s nothing we’re holding onto except that beautiful bouquet of self-love! happy wedding/happy life to you and bob:-)

  15. Lily said on May 11, 2012

    Beautiful, i love the honesty you showed in each situation and i cant stop wondering…how did you both proceed after your initial reaction of “I’d love to be friends but we certainly don’t have a romance here.” Do tell!!

  16. Lily – which is my daughter’s name – that is a great question. Bob emailed me to say “I haven’t met somebody who talked as much as me” or something cute like that, and I emailed back, and we started flirting that way… a few weeks later, we went for a walk with my two doddle dogs in the woods near our houses (we lived about 3 miles apart on our little island – which is wild as there are very few single people here) and he gave me a tiny kiss afterwards…. It was those emails, honestly, he is such a great writer and so smart and funny.

  17. It’s amazing how we can have the best lives ever and still feel inadequate. I find myself struggling with this concept in other areas of my own life, so I applaud you, Jen for putting this story out there for us to connect with. When fear gets in the way, we have to go inward and figure out how to recalibrate our energy so that we can move through what it is that really terrifies us and become our best and highest selves.

  18. Yes Hadley, in meditation this morning really feeling into exactly that place of letting love in! Letting it be okay. Letting it flow.

  19. Ahhhh… Dreams and Happy Ever After DO come true for women over 40! Take THAT silly Yale study! (Was it Yale that concluded that we were more likely to get killed by a terrorist than marry? And wasn’t that Snoped anyhow? Hmph. Note to self: Share this with grandmother next time she brings it up.)

    love, Love, LOVE your Love Story, Jennifer. Congratulations!

  20. YOU SHARE IT Michelle! I was 45 when I met Bob, almost 50 now.

  21. Beautifully Written!

    I cried in happiness for you..

    Keep Shinning!
    Happy Ever After….:)

  22. Skye said on May 11, 2012

    What an amazing, wonderful story. Thank you sooo much for sharing!

  23. Mia said on May 12, 2012

    Your post broke me into pieces. I’m sobbing in my car. I never realized but I have not married at 40 because I’ve believed all those things about myself. Thank you for putting this into words & speaking to me.
    Thank you

  24. congratulations!!

  25. sooo happy for you, hopeful too..AND jealous! lol ONLY a few weeks on Match!!? It was DEfinitely Meant to BE lol (it is yucky on there, isnt it? I really dislike it tremendously, maybe thats part of my problem)..espec on a small island?? hmm..maybe I should ready to turn 60, divorced for MANY..MANY..yrs and no children, hard to believe/accept it may always be this way, but I have the same inherent fear that you had..about a lot of things really..sad, but working on day at a time..much love to you and continued happiness..

  26. What an incredible story. I could almost hear music playing in the background as I read it. Congratulations!

  27. Great story! Thank you for sharing!!

  28. Awesome. I love romantic stories – especially real life ones! Be happy always both of you … live happily ever after … as they say in the best of stories!

  29. Beautiful post, Jennifer. I never post comments (well, very rarely) but your story moved me to tears. I’ve had a similar ‘second chance at happiness marriage’ and faced all the same doubts you did. Brava for making the courageous, life affirming choice,

  30. thank you all so much for your kind words – it means the world to me. I hope you’ll come over and visit my home on the web, love to have you as part of my tribe!

  31. Ely said on May 21, 2012

    This brought me to tears. My kinda intense, mostly ok, but basically incompatible relationship is ending; cue the darkness, cue the intrinsically flawed, turn away from love thinking. I’m just a single kind of gal, right? No, no, NO!

    When I meet the guy that makes loving easy, when there are the right measures of respect, friendship and desire, I hope I remember the light you write of in your article. Maybe by then I’ll be better at choosing happiness as well.

    Thank you for sharing.