To paraphrase something I once read: Marriages are like martinis. One is not enough and three are too many.
Fair enough. I’m being trite. But there is a magic to second marriages that most people don’t see. First marriages are like your first onion bhajiyas and chai in the rains – you look forward to it and remember the moment all your lives. Second marriages are akin to going to the opera. You wonder if you are doing the right thing, but eventually most people are overjoyed they did.
So I asked myself (and others like me who are married a second time) how a second marriage changes one. Most of the answers, I was surprised to find, were very similar.
Before a second marriage most people conquered what they considered their biggest flaw – usually the one that resulted in their first marriage breaking up. Infidelity, addiction or even just being too quick to judge (the last one breaks up more marriages then you’d expect.)
Don’t conquer that and chances are you’ll be on your second divorce in a hurry.
They became more grateful that life gave them a second chance. And this gratitude extended to other facets of life too, whether work or other relationships.
They discovered who their true friends were while going through the trauma of their first marriage ending and weeded out the ‘party only’ friends, leaving them with fewer friends, whom they can trust with their lives.
They saw people reacting to them differently after their second marriage – as if you had an accident and couldn’t walk, and now are miraculously healed. It taught them to care less about what the superficial world thought.
They even saw family who once stood by them now a little miffed because they were no longer the most important ‘unit’ in the divorced person’s life.
On a side note – they had marriages, not weddings the second time round, intimate affairs with fewer people and the money saved for more important things.
But most of all, what they discovered was a new sense of the joy of living – they swore to fulfil their dreams. They took their vacations NOW, not when time afforded. They saw new places, did new things, experimented with their looks. They exercised. They lost weight. A just married couple in their 40s even gave up smoking so their chances of spending more time together increased.
Of course all is not rosy – people in second marriages fight too and occasionally these marriages end as well – but more often than not, they work.
Now here’s the slightly scary part.
They work because one goes into it with their eyes open. There’s love. Lust too. But it isn’t all consuming. You spend time together. Live together if possible. Discover habits. Assess qualities. Discuss with near and dear ones. And then say yes.
There is a bit of an arranged marriage in every second marriage. Thankfully – mostly without any or minimal involvement from parents. Because when parents have their way, most Indians continue to suffer all their lives in a bad first marriage instead of exiting into a scary, but exciting world.