1. Shock Value
People are so surprised that you're finally doing it at last that everyone shows up and makes a much bigger deal about your wedding. Long-forgotten acquaintances and distant relatives you didn't even invite send cards, checks, and crystal vases.
2. No Midlife Marriage Crisis
You're already in midlife! You never thought it would happen, so you are filled with glee, grace and gratitude. If you're lucky, by the time the novelty wears off, you're dead.
In middle age, your midriff has grown, but so has your bank account. Nothing jump starts a new life together like two bathrooms, enough closet space and the occasional first-class hotel on an expense account. Teenagers often think sleeping on the floor of a dirty European youth hostel is romantic. As a middle-ager, five-star hotels are usually much more of an aphrodisiac. Don't underestimate the benefits of physical comfort and room service.
4. Swinging Single
Remember all those illusions about the exciting, glamorous time you would have alone? Well, you played it out. Being a slob, wearing sweatpants all day, eating cold pizza for breakfast and not answering to anyone pales beside having a built-in warm body for a Saturday night movie date.
5. Hope Chest
All your competitive and unmarried friends in their 40s, 50s and 60s flocked around, buoyed by your sudden switch in marital status. They say things like "You were the last person I ever thought I would se walk down the aisle," and "If you can do it, anybody can." Take it as a compliment and talk often and openly about how wonderful it is to find love a little on the later side. It's nice to give others inspiration!
6. Fountain of Youth
When reminiscing with your partner, you can exaggerate or have selective memories about your youthful days -- since they were so long before you met.
"I was so skinny in college," "I used to dress much more provocatively," or "I was so much more popular with the opposite sex back then," adds to the myth and the mystery. Thanks goodness all your lovely but loser exes are locked away in photograph albums.
7. You Are Secure With Your Insecurities
You've been there, done that, and screwed it up so many times that you don't even have to bother hiding your sordid fears. At a certain age, jealousy and vanity actually seem cute.
Combining long lives usually involves upgrading technology, since chances are one of you has already acquired a decent iPod, cell phone, blackberry, CD and DVD players, TIVO, laptop, high speed Internet access, a laser printer and top-of-the-line blow dryer.
9. Therapy Pays Off
All that time and money spent in psychoanalysis, Alcoholics Anonymous, transactional analysis, EST, Gestalt, watching Oprah and Dr. Phil, taking yoga, Pilates, and meditation classes has clearly sunk into your system. When steamed or upset, you now know how to say, "I think I'll go take a walk to cool off so I don't kill you," "Perhaps we shouldn't bring seven years of hostility into an argument about microwave popcorn," or, "I'm going to make a shrink appointment now."
10. War Stories
You've been around the block. Did it in an elevator. A plane bathroom. The beach. This led to a sprained ankle, getting the evil eye from angry passengers who were hopping up and down, and sand in your shoes for six months after the passion ended. You've finally learned it's much nicer with somebody you love. In a bed. Lying down.
Susan Shapiro is the author of "Secrets of a Fix-Up Fanatic" (Delta, 2006) and "Five Men Who Broke My Heart" (Delacorte, 2004).
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