Suzette and her three husbands by Suzette Standring

Suzette Standring
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Let’s get something out of the way.  I’m 68 and I have been married three times.  As they say, the third’s a charm. I am not embarrassed, although the wife of my first ex-husband did try.  At my daughter’s wedding, she loudly said, “I want a picture of Suzette and her three husbands!”  

Since I was flying under the radar, I didn’t appreciate her waving that flag, but I kept a neutral face.  

Again very loudly, she said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I hope I didn’t embarrass you.”  

I laughed and said, “On the contrary, that makes me the belle of the ball.  Come on, guys, get in a little closer.”  

Sheesh, how did Elizabeth Taylor do it?

Now there was a time when my two divorces made me feel “less than”.  But when you go a few decades down the road, my so-called black marks mean less.  All struggles make us who we are today.  

The surprise is that all that pain did not embitter me against men.

This is the lesson I’ve learned. My mistakes were from choosing men who I viewed as diamonds in the rough. I’ll be the savior, the light, the wonder woman who polishes them right up.

If I had to advise my younger self, I’d say, “Marriage is an as-is sale.”  

Don’t wade in thinking you’re going to change anyone in a big, big way.  Whatever he does that rubs against your spirit and soul today will drive you insane eventually.  Be with a kindred spirit.  Somebody who gets you. Pay attention to deal-breaking qualities.  

I just celebrated my 26th anniversary with David and it feels like only two years.

Once a church service I attended celebrated long-time marriage. Questions culled through the couples. “Who’s been married 20 years? Twenty-five years? Thirty years?”

With 20 years under my belt back then with David, I got knocked out in the second round.  Finally, couples who had been married 40 years and longer were left standing to applause. 

I thought, “Well, that could have been me…if you think in cumulative terms.”

This piece was written from a writing prompt in a class led by Elaine Person. The prompt was “surprise” and I realized escaping bitterness after all the shenanigans is a surprise.