After reading the post about Marathon Girl and me celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary, I got an email from a reader expressing frustration with the widower she’s dating. She asked how Marathon Girl and I were able to overcome the widower issue and make things work.
That’s a good question and one I didn’t have an answer to off the top of my head. After mulling it over the last couple days, I think the biggest reason it worked out was because we both wanted it to work out. Once we both realized that we wanted spend the rest of our lives together, we did everything we could to make it work.
I moved on because I wanted to start a new life with Marathon Girl. I wanted to open my heart to her. I wanted to marry her, have a family with her, and spend the rest of my life with her. Because I wanted to do this, it wasn’t hard to assign the late wife a small, special place in my heart give the rest of it to Marathon Girl, and then go out and actually start a new chapter in my life.
Marathon Girl wanted to marry me but wasn’t going to settle for being number two or feeling like there were three people in our marriage. Once she saw that I was moving on (and not just talking it up), it was easier to accept my past and the fact that a small part of my heart would be always reserved for the late wife.
It also meant we both had to be willing make some sacrifices. For me it meant selling my house and moving to a place where we could start over. It meant that I wouldn’t spend as much time with friends and family of the late wife as I did in my old life. For Marathon Girl it meant a longer commute to work and postponing graduate school for awhile. We were willing to do all that and more because we valued our relationship (and future marriage) over everything else.
Looking back, I don’t have any regrets about putting Marathon Girl first. (I assume she’d say the same thing.) By making her number one, we’ve been able to overcome the ups and downs that come with any relationship and will continue to do so as long we make each other a priority over everything else.
There are a lot of things that make our marriage work. But when it comes to the widower issue, it took both of us moving forward, making sacrifices, and starting a new life together. You both have to want to do these three things and then go out and do it (as opposed to just talking about it). If only one person in a relationship is willing to do those three things, then odds are it’s not going to work out.