After several proposals, Jane Corry has some advice for those contemplating tying the knot.
I’ve had four and a half proposals of marriage in my adult life. I accepted the first out of surprise more than anything else. It went along the lines of ‘My mother wants to know if we’re going to get married.’ I was 18 at the time.
It’s so happens that I got on very well with the boyfriend’s mother. So I was rather flattered. Besides, there was this niggling feeling which comes from lack of confidence that no one might ever asked me to marry them again. So I said ‘yes’. We were engaged throughout university but when I went on to train as a journalist, I broke it off. Why? Because we were too different. And besides he never rang me when he said he would. That made me write down rule number one when it comes to choosing the right marriage partner. You need to find someone who keeps his/her promises. However small.
My third proposal also came as a surprise. Again, I said ‘yes’. It led to a very long marriage. I’m not going to say why it ended because it’s personal. Anyway, there are always two sides to a story. But it did help me to draw up more rules for my list.
That’s why I accepted the fourth proposal. My current husband (and hopefully my last) is a unique man. We each have our own interests but we also do things together. We accept that each one has past baggage but we don’t get jealous or insecure. We laugh all the time. But we are not afraid to argue. We always make up before the sun goes down. He knows that my children are my number one priority.
This mix of marriage ingredients might not work for everyone. Yet that’s the whole point. Looking back, I think you need a different marriage mix for different stages of your life. Sometimes you’re lucky enough for these ‘mixes’ to adapt along with you.
Lilly and Ed, in ‘My Husband’s Wife’, are desperately trying to do this. But certain characters have other ideas. I don’t want to spoil the plot so I won’t say any more.
However, if you’re getting married again (or know someone who is), here’s a little quiz to see if you’ve got the right person:
Have you know him/her for less than a year?
(There’s an old saying that you should be with someone for at least twelve months because some people change their personalities according to the season.)
Does he/she listen when you talk?
Or does your intended hog the conversation?
Do you have to search for things to talk about?
If so, do you really think you have enough in common?
Does he/she take offence easily?
Marriage won’t be easy if you have to keep treading round eggshells.
Is he/she jealous of your past?
A little envy is understandable. But too much might be a sign of deep insecurity. I have a friend whose husband sulked when she went to a university reunion. She left him soon afterwards.
Does he/she get on your nerves?
If so, what’s it going to be like twenty years down the line?
Are you secretly in love with someone else?
Do you both agree about whether or not you want children?
Best to get this straight at the beginning.
Do you ever feel like murdering him?
You’ll probably have guessed by now that you don’t need any ‘correct answers’ to know if you’re making the right decision. These questions will (hopefully) have triggered your gut instinct. Good luck!
As for my second proposal? Not to mention the half? Sorry! They must remain a secret. Every married couple has one.
First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes murder.
When lawyer Lily marries Ed, she’s determined to make a fresh start. To leave the secrets of her past behind. But when she takes on a new case, she starts to find herself strangely drawn to her client. A man who’s been convicted of murder. A man she will soon be willing to risk everything for.
But is he really innocent? And who is she to judge?
Jane Corry is a writer and journalist, and teaches creative writing all over the world. Recently she spent three years working as the writer-in-residence at a high-security prison for men and discovered a world she could not have imagined and which she found strangely addictive – so much so that it wormed its way into this book.