I Do, Finally
A Soon-to-Be-Bride Shares Her Unexpected Path to Marriage
- Pamela Ferdinand, Photo by Mark Thomas
By Pamela Ferdinand, co-author of Three Wishes: A True Story of Good Friends, Crushing Heartbreak, and Astonishing Luck On Our Way to Love and Motherhood
"Out of order" usually describes a broken parking meter, public bathroom or ATM. For me—and for a lot of other women in their late 30s and 40s—it reflects how I've lived my life. At 46, I'm a mother of two preschool-aged girls, Emma and Anya, and I'm getting married to their father in less than six months.
Deliberately or not, many women, like me, have traded in the traditional relationship timeline to create families based on what is possible and desirable for them at certain points in their lives. A recently released Pew Research Center study shows that the median age at first marriage has never been higher, for both brides and grooms. Simultaneously, there's been a record increase in first-time mothers over 40.
While a growing number also consider matrimony obsolete, a lot of people still want to get married—some of us just didn't get around to prioritizing our personal lives until later. As a young journalist covering murders and plane crashes, I assumed that I would find love and have a family someday—say, around age 35—but I did nothing to make it happen until it seemed like I was running out of time. Then, after yet another breakup, I decided to take a breather from romance to prepare for becoming a single mother. And that's when I unexpectedly met a handsome Welshman named Mark. Although he was coming out of a marriage and needed a breather too, Mark—unlike all the other boyfriends in my life—made it clear right from the get-go that he wanted to be with me. Forever.
However, on account of my nearing 40, we decided to have children first and do the marriage thing later. By the time he proposed—undeterred by wind and rain on a mountaintop in Wales—we had nearly eight years and one child under our belts. Stunned, crying and joyful, I accepted as our daughter scampered ahead of us.