It was a second wedding for them both. 

The bride, a mother of two and a woman in her late 50s, wanted all the bells and whistles.  The groom, a father of three and a man in his mid 60s, wanted his bride to be happy. It was a destination wedding, complete with attendants, rehearsal dinner, and the requisite white gown. One hundred and twenty chairs were draped in organza and assembled on the lawn. At the appointed hour – sunset – the bride came down the aisle clutching a cascade of roses and escorted by her adult son. Floating over the crash of waves was the sound of violins playing Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. Clearly, a lot of thought had gone into the wedding.  Okay, maybe a touch over the top for Matrimony Redux, but each to his own.

It was a second wedding for them both.

The marriage lasted four years.

According to statistics, if a first marriage is to end in divorce, it will usually do so in about eight years. A second marriage, if it’s bound to fail, will hit the skids in about seven years. Despite the much bruited about figure of 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce, the statistics are actually less bleak. In Canada, about 38 percent of first marriages culminate in divorce. That percentage, however, goes up to 60 percent for second marriages. Third marriages are the leakiest vessels with 73 percent of them sinking.  I’m no statistician, but if my calculations are correct, that would mean when you say, “I do”, for a fifth time, there’s only a one percent chance of that union lasting. Fifth weddings! Talk about a triumph of hope over experience. I’d recommend including a Scratch and Win ticket in with the invitation. 

I’d recommend including a Scratch and Win ticket in with the invitation.

Marriage is such an interesting proposition. I think we can agree that a happy marriage is a beautiful thing. In theory, marriages are an excellent building block for families, communities and nations. It can be argued that the pursuit of this ideal takes up the lion’s share of our existence.  

Generally speaking, we like being married.  At least, we like the idea of being married.  We may not be so crazy about our spouse, but that’s not the fault of the institution, right?  

Or is it?

The internet is rife with statistics about matrimony. Divorce lawyers have entire websites devoted to their biggest cash crop. In 2020, there were 42,933 divorces granted in Canada which is a big drop from the 56,937 divorces recorded in 2019. This 25% annual drop is the largest since the Divorce Act of 1968 came into force. Covid threw a monkey wrench into all things matrimonial and those numbers are just starting to settle. In 2022, the US saw more couples walk down the aisle than in the past 35 years. Of those 2.5 million weddings, about 21 percent involved spouses marrying for the second time. The likeliest cohort to seek dissolution of marriage is the 55 to 64 age group. Women tend to initiate divorce proceedings more than men and money issues are often at the root of much of the discord. The stats indicate that, if you were to find yourself flying solo, you’d probably consider remarriage, especially if you’re a man. 

Photo by Mathieu Stern

After perusing the many charts and reams of statistics, I find myself wondering if the institution of marriage is keeping up with modern times. Maybe marriage should be a renewable license? There would certainly be a wide spread benefit from ameliorating the negative effects of marriage dissolution.  

You know why you go out on a limb?
Because that’s where the fruit is.

People like to speculate what they’d do if Bob was abducted by aliens, or Jill ran off with the circus. I don’t think any of us really know until the pillow beside us is cold. I don’t have any insights here except this one:

You know why you go out on a limb?

Because that’s where the fruit is.

Photo by CBC News

Ladies and gentlemen, a toast to the bride and groom …  and lottery tickets.

This week’s question for readers:


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Submissions to last week’s question:

What are your encounters with invasive species and how do you manage those?

I recoil in horror at the thought of a stink bug invasion. I had a much-too-close encounter with these beasts whilst staying at a safari lodge in Namibia a few years ago. The heavy rains had, unfortunately for us guests, brought about a massive occupation by these nasty beetles. They were literally everywhere – in our beds, crawling over the soap, nesting in our toothbrushes, and worst of all, climbing onto our dinner plates. In the subdued lighting, I inadvertently ate one, mistaking it for a garnish of some kind. Definitely not recommended! Growing up in Zimbabwe, you’d think I’d get used to them, but believe me, you never do. And as an additional point of interest, they smell and taste just like cilantro.

Carlie Holland

For many years my husband picked blackberries alongside the road on the north side of YVR. He would arrive home with buckets of berries and multiple scratches but pleased with his bounty. A couple of years ago I offered to go with him, though I am a reluctant berry picker.  Picking went well but suddenly I felt my right leg was burning. I looked down to see my shoe was covered by tiny bright red ants that were scurrying up my leg.  With vehicles passing by regularly, whipping off my jeans was not an option, so I crushed the pant leg tight to my leg all the way up, which helped stop the ant bites, meanwhile dancing about in panic and pain!  By the time we got home my knee felt like it was on fire. It was swollen and covered in bites.  Weeks later my knee was still painful and angry looking.  No more blackberry picking for me, no matter how delicious the jam and pies. 

Sheila Charneski 

As a little kid I would ferry a struggling ant across a mud puddle on a dry leaf.  Not now. They are the enemy.  Ever since my encounter with their kin, the European fire ant, such benevolence has disappeared. Two years ago while gardening in my rockery, I accidentally disturbed a nest of small reddish ants and was stung on the foot. The sting I received was amazingly painful, even necessitating crutches at one point during the weeks it took to subside. It brought on an allergic reaction that eventually sent me to Emergency. To this day, I still feel phantom twinges in that foot and an MRI shows residual swelling. I had never even heard of fire ants in BC, but believe me they are here and they are Bad News. The nests are below ground with no mound to alert you so be aware of where you are standing. Your weight is enough to bring out these aggressive fighters defending the several queens within the colony. They’re considered invasive and are wiping out the common ant. Your Municipal Hall will want to hear if you suspect your garden is harbouring these villains.

June Macdonald

My kids were out on our swing and slide set in the yard while I locked up the house.  I came out to see my son at the top of the slide and what I figured was a coyote pup at the bottom of the slide.  The pup had been enjoying watching my ‘pups’ at play.  Even though nothing had happened, I was alarmed. I figured there had to be other coyotes close by and, given that my kids were preschoolers, small enough to, perhaps, be at risk.  A call to the authorities indicated that I had nothing to be concerned about … but that was years ago. Coyotes are in the news!  Like you said, they’re now shaking us down for our lunch money!

L.C. Allan

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