A Divorcee’s Guide To Getting Married – A Guest Blog From Vanessa Stewart

The Core Belief

Today’s guest blog is from Vanessa Stewart, actress, author of Louis and Keely: Live At The Sahara (her new play Stoneface opens at Sacred Fools Theater on May 25, 2012) and because Samuel Beckett Patron Saint of Budding Playwrights was smiling upon my co-writer Terry Tocantins and me, Jackie Kennedy in The Magic Bullet Theory (Only three weekends left.  Buy your tickets by clicking here.)

Originally written in 2008, Vanessa’s blog is practical advice for those about to leave the single life.  It contains some of the best relationship advice I’ve heard since my Mother convinced me in a July 2009 blog that an agreement to agree was the essential component to a lasting relationship.


On the eve of my show opening again here in Hollywood, and in celebration of the divorce that partly inspired it, I’ve decided to make good on a promise and put in writing my thoughts about getting hitched– 

Gotta say… I don’t know what it is with the Santa Ana winds. Many of my good friends are simultaneously either breaking up, or getting engaged. For the former, I curse you, winds! For the latter: my unsolicited advice:

1) I really think you should wait until you’re 30. One of my biggest regrets in my marriage is that, while in it, I realized I had no idea who I was! I felt the need to try on different hats. I needed more adventures. The kind one can only do while single. (and I don’t just mean the sex kind) See, when you’re tied down in a marriage, it’s hard to make a random escape to a foreign country, or run off blindly with the girlfriends. I think the 20s are all about finding out who you are, and what you believe. I found myself at the age of 26 not even knowing what kind of music I liked. I had a lot of catching up to do after I was single again. And on that note:

2) Do NOT move into the other person’s space. You must both find a place to start out at together, and bring each other’s personalities into the space. It’s where you live. If you lose your space, you could lose yourself.

3) Have at least one fight. You don’t know the other person fully until you see how they fight. In fact, I would say that you can’t really know that you love a person until you see them at their absolute worst, and love them despite of it.

4) Seriously wait a year until proposing. The honeymoon phase is awesome. Enjoy it. Being married is nothing like this honeymoon phase. Trust me.

5) Regarding rings: They are a metaphor for the financial future of the marriage. And this is important. As far as I have been able to decipher from my married (and divorced) friends is: (more often than not) … A ring bought on credit is a marriage that struggles with debt. A ring that was once a family heirloom is sometimes a husband that might depend on his wife financially. A ring that is bought and paid for right away no matter what the expense, is a well-planned financial marriage. Thinking about the finances of marriage probably seems unromantic, but it’s one of the hugest causes of divorce. It’s almost like merging two businesses. Don’t put your own financial burdens on this person you love so much. It will only cause resentment. And I think resentment is the biggest poison any marriage could have. Keep bank accounts separate. Your spouse doesn’t want you buying them a birthday present with their own money. Unless you’re rich. Then I guess it doesn’t matter.

6) Listen to them. Communicate. Sometimes when they say things in the middle of the night, it might seem small– but sometimes that’s when it’s the most important.

7) Celebrate with them. Have a glass of champagne with every accomplishment. Even if it’s a tiny one. Find any excuse to praise them. 

8) If one person cooks, the other washes the dishes. 

9) If you live together, enjoy every time the person comes home from work. Kiss your guy/lady before you go to work. Even if they’re asleep in bed.

10) Say you’re sorry.

11) Before you’re married, look at the person you think you’re in love with. Imagine the worst case scenario. If something were to happen, would you still love them? If their legs were broken, or they lost their sight, would you take care of them? If they were disfigured, or if they acquired an incurable disease, would you be there for them? Look at your person now and their habits. Do they have a bad knee? You’ll be caring for it when you’re older. Do they smoke? You might have to deal with the ramifications of that when you’re in your 60s. Do you like their family? They will be with you forever.

12) When you are in your 70s and you’re not the spry young thing you once were, and boobs are sagging and hairs are growing out of your ears instead of the top of your head– will you still enjoy this person? We will never wind up as attractive as we started out. What is it about this person that you have to have for the rest of your life? At the age of 75, will you have run out of things to talk about, or are you still having a great time?

13) Why marriage? Why this one person for the rest of your life? Why make a legal and ethical eternal contract with this person? What is the difference between a marriage and a good long term relationship? 

I guess I’m writing this blog for me as much as anyone. I want to get married again. But I constantly have to challenge myself: why? The idea isn’t as romantic to me as it once was. It’s more practical now. I want a family, and I’d like a guy around to help out with that. But there’s a smidgy part of me that still believes I can be the old lady in the rocker with a gin and tonic enjoying the end of my life with my best friend. 

I think after everything– after now a VERY long time of declared singledom– I might have my confidence back. I might be at the place again where I’m able to be a good… whatever. It’s all scary, for the aforementioned reasons. So many things have to come together perfectly. Really if you think about it– what are the odds that two normal, decent people that could have chemistry together find themselves at exactly the right time where both are single, and no agenda, and have the same goals in the same town? It’s rare. Completely. And for that reason, I tell my friends and enemies and strangers and exes– I wish you the very best in everything. And I’m glad you found this rare thing. Take care of it, and don’t jump too soon. Good things come to those who wait. Or so I keep telling myself.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Every Friday, get 2 for 1 movie tickets when you use your Visa Signature card.

Recent Comments