Reaching out my hand, I showed off the sapphire engagement ring Dan had just given me.
"A bride?" one friend exclaimed. "At your age?"
I admit, to think of myself as a "bride" at age 50 was difficult. When I married my first husband, Larry, I was 23 and freshly graduated from college. I walked down the aisle clutching my father's arm and praying Larry and I would get enough wedding gifts to set up housekeeping. We were bursting with plans for a home and the eventual patter of tiny feet. Never did I imagine a rare genetic disease would strike Larry in his late 30s and take his life an agonizing 15 years later.
I'd known Dan for years; we were family friends. His first wife died of cancer when their twins were 12. So we were somewhat surprised to find ourselves smitten in our mature years.
But it really wasn't so strange. Brides over age 35 are a major part of today's marriage picture. Some put off marriage to pursue a career, or take longer to meet the right person. Others, such as me, outlive their spouse. Still others fall prey to rising divorce statistics. Whatever the reason, more and more couples are getting married older. And they're discovering that, with a little work, midlife marriage can bring some wonderful benefits.
Firm Financial Footing
Midlife couples are more likely to be financially secure than much younger newlyweds. While financial security and independence certainly don't guarantee marital success, they can lessen marital stress. And more discretionary money allows more freedom to enjoy special time together. After we'd been married almost a year, Dan went to England on business. Because of our greater financial security, I was able to go along and celebrate our first anniversary in London.1