I Said I Do. I Did, but I Knew I Shouldn’t Have Walked Down That Aisle.

I recently read and shared a great article about a lady who decided not to get married after accepting a marriage proposal by someone she did actually love but knew her heart he was not supposed to be her husband.  Her story and the comments I got when I shared it inspired me to share another part of my story that most people don’t know.

Summer wedding

In my mid-twenties, I met a guy (the one I talk about in my first book). He wasn’t really my type, but the more time I spent with him the more I cared for him.  After a few months of him being my “friend” and enjoying his company, I decided to give the relationship he had been asking for a try.

That was in November, and on Valentine’s Day he asked me to be his wife.

I did want to be married.  I had been a single mother since I was fifteen, and I really wanted my son to have a father and eventually siblings. I cared about my boyfriend and would even say that I loved him, but I really wasn’t ready for him to propose to me. But he did, and I said yes.

I said yes because I figured he would be the one I would marry one day anyway, and I didn’t want to subject him to rejection by telling him no or even by saying, “not yet.”  So I said yes and insisted on a long engagement so that we could get to know each other better…you know, the thing you do when you’re dating.

Not engaged.

Immediately after I said yes, he started telling everyone. He woke up my son the night he proposed and told him and called my parents and his. The next day at work I found out that all my friends already knew because the week before he told them he was going to ask me. So people knew. Even with doubts, I can’t turn back now, right?

We set a wedding date for June of the next year so that gave us nearly sixteen months to date and get to know each other. Yes, it was quite a bit of time, but it’s amazing how different things are when you are truly dating versus being engaged and dating. Although I set up premarital counseling and found books for us to read together and discuss, his willingness to participate was limited. At the same time, I was planning a wedding that both he and I would be proud of. He was a really great guy, but he was very concerned about what others thought so I worked hard to make sure everything was perfect. Surprisingly, it was less important for me to impress others by a beautiful wedding, but I did want it to be nice.

I wanted our marriage to be nice too, nicer than the wedding, so I kept pushing for the premarital counseling and even counseling that included my son since we were about to be a blended family. I knew from being a stepchild that it was important that my son be a part of the process and feel loved and included.  Counseling was in progress, and my son was getting on board and even sold on the idea of us having a father/husband and even a sibling in my fiance’s son.  I had made deposits on the photographer, videographer, caterer, and other vendors so…even with doubts, I can’t turn back or push it back now, right?

Things got a little better I think when my fiancé came around and went to the counseling, but we didn’t complete the counseling before the wedding was upon us.  We both still had our doubts, but I dismissed them as both of us just being afraid of the lifelong commitment we were about to make. We did love each other and I did not want to bring another man in and out of my son’s life. I figured, once we got married we would get over those fears and everything would work itself out.

I considered just postponing the wedding a bit, but that would have cost me/us more money.  I would lose some of the deposits I’d made for one, and even have to pay a few I had gotten out of paying. After I booked the facility for the reception, I was offered the space for free if I would change my reservation for the weekend before or after the date originally reserved. Some important person wanted the space on the date I had chosen, but I gladly moved it for the $2,500 savings. So when my doubts persisted, I didn’t want to postpone the wedding because I would then lose the benefit of getting the space for free. Everyone who knows me understands how much I appreciate a deal, and I was very proud of the awesome wedding we were about to have on a tight budget. So we moved forward.

He got a little more involved in the planning and even picked out the song I would walk down the aisle to as well as other songs for the program. Our theme was, “A Wish Come True & A Prayer Answered,” and was based on some special moments and songs we’d had. To save money and because I love craft projects, I ordered beautiful paper and handmade all two hundred invitations.

Crying and still experiencing doubt as I mailed the invitations, I had, in my opinion, officially gotten to the point of no return. There was going to be a wedding.

As our wedding date approached, I shed lot of tears and talked to others including my best friend who had experienced similar feelings before her wedding and still went through with it only to get divorced a few years later. I figured, that was her though. My situation was different, and we would be fine. I had invested so much into this already—time, money, and feelings…especially my son’s feelings. There was  going to be a wedding and a happy marriage one day.

So on that June date sixteen months after my beautiful Valentine’s day proposal, I walked down the aisle with a question mark in my heart.  As I walked down that aisle towards the man I was planning to spend the rest of life with, he looked up towards the ceiling. I was crying inside and hoping he would feel my payer to look at me. To watch me walk to him. He didn’t lay eyes on me until I was in his face. He had tears in his eyes and said he looked up and not at me because he was crying. I wanted to see him and to feel his love for me in that moment. It was a strange, difficult moment for both of us even though we loved each other. Later as my husband, my fiance told me that he felt like “he wasn’t really there.”

After lots of tears, fights, and way more money than we “saved” by not canceling or postponing the wedding, we were separated. After another year and a half and lots more tears, fights, and money, we were divorced.

The lessons for me were:

  1. Listen to your heart.
  2. Date until you know without a doubt you are with someone you can’t be without.
  3. Don’t worry about what other people say or think if you change your mind at ANY point in the process.
  4. This is the time to be selfish. Consider the feelings of others-your boyfriend, your children-but think about what YOU really want first.
  5. Money wasted getting out of a wedding and marriage you are not sure you’re supposed to have is not wasted. It will definitely cost you more to get out of it.
  6. Don’t feel rushed or pressured. You can respect your own timeline and wishes and love your significant other.
  7. Screw a wedding to impress others. The simpler the better because all that matters is if YOU love each other, if YOU like each other, and if YOU can’t imagine your life without this person. If your marriage survives, it won’t be because of those in the audience, and if it fails that audience may feel bad for you, but that’s it. It’s about YOU (as in you plural…but just you and him and the future you’ll create for yourselves and your children if you have them).
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About Summer Owens

When I started writing my first book, Life After Birth: A Memoir of Survival and Success as a Teenage Mother, I just wanted to tell my story. Today, I am a best-selling author, inspirational speaker, life coach, and college professor with own course that I created. Everything I do about helping people have success over obstacles and live their best lives no matter what. This blog is dedicated to sharing and expounding upon the lessons I learned and share in my book and that we all can use to say, "S.O. What!" to all the challenges life will throw our way...every day.
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29 Responses to I Said I Do. I Did, but I Knew I Shouldn’t Have Walked Down That Aisle.

  1. justvou says:

    Reblogged this on Vou Vents and commented:
    Well, this is it gentlemen and ladies, girls and boys. We should all learn to follow our hearts!

  2. deuts says:

    Wow! This is tough. Thanks for the insights 😀

  3. Donnette says:

    Every woman should read this before she gets married

  4. Ashlee says:

    Well said…. ready but no potentials and not wanting to marry anyone

  5. Jennifer Richardson says:

    I know this story by heart because I lived it. To this day I wish I had ran out of that church even as I was walking down the isle; bottom line. listen to your heart no matter what, I didn’t and I lived to regret it.

  6. QUEENBEA says:

    WOW ONLY YOU KNOW AT U FEEL AND KNOW WHAT U CAN ADJUST TO IN LIFE. WITH DAT BEING SAID I KNOW THE FEELING AND RIGHT NOW I WISH I COULD TURN BACK THE HANDS OF TIME

  7. Audrey Jordan says:

    Each person’s experience differs. Been there done that. The love thing doesn’t work for everyone. For me love comes from GOD and LOVE is GOD. What people really experience on planet Earth is infatuation filled with sugar honey ice tea. It mostly excitability for a short or long duration but in the end some people put on blinders and pretend because of sheer embarrassment while people with stiff upper lips (yours truly) go on their merry way. It’s not a crime to just go. I think it’s criminal to stay even for the kids and the bills. People need backbones.

  8. Blessed byChrist says:

    It’s so funny that so many of us have lived this same scenario. I’m not up to the separation/divorce part yet but Gid knows I’ve thought about it too many times to mention.

  9. Ramses says:

    It’s weird from the beginning with you not wanting him to tell people you were engaged. Then you say you cared for him( not liked/loved him). He wasn’t your type etc.etc. Why did you get involved in the first place? Strange.

    • Summer Owens says:

      I never said I didn’t want him to tell people. I told people too. I did fall in love with him and even thought he would be my husband…someday. I just wasn’t ready then. Sorry you find it strange. Lots of people understand though.

    • nickyann says:

      Sometimes someone is not your “type” because of what we have in our heads which may be completely idealistic and unreal BUT she did say she grew to care for him. In this case, I believe they both were just not ready. Timing is everything. Who knows, maybe given time, they would have had a beautiful marriage.

  10. koi koi says:

    thank you for posting this at a timely moment

  11. LadyVee says:

    Wow this story is real..How do you even know the one?

  12. nickyann says:

    This is real! I say it all the time – follow your heart/mind. Listen to your instinct… Don’t live to please people…

  13. 2dimplzs says:

    Thank you for sharing your truth! I married young (I was 20 and my husband was 21) but we knew each other since grade school. However, it wasn’t until we started dating that we truly got to KNOW each other. Had we not had taken the time to date, and if we didn’t have that history between us, there’s no way we would have gotten married when we did. Take the time to date and get to know one another. Don’t ignore the red flags. Thank you for sharing with others that it’s never to late to change your mind and that what other people think does not matter. Marriage is a huge decision and commitment and it should never be taken lightly. Great blog post Summerowens! 🙂

  14. Janet Robbins says:

    I Really Enioyed Your Blog, Summer Owens…I just wanted to be married, all my friends were married. I liked the guy a lot he loved me. I feel in love after the marriage..I should not have married Him, there were the red flags others saw including my grandma not me…We were
    Married 10 years, 2 sons, 9 years old fighting, I finally got the courage to leave.
    Remarried now for 30 years and happy…

  15. Bitter says:

    Wow. I’m at the arguing every single day stage, (for the last 3 months) 3 kids, later. I want out and he does too but never says so, but his actions show other wise!! Behavior, disrespect, text messages with other women etc.. got married super young and felt like “we might as well” (biggest mistake ever), been dating since high school. Wish I would have listened to my heart & my mama…

  16. Stephami says:

    Follow your heart but take your brain with you too….i did none of the two. Divorce in progress with restraining order after 2yrs 8mths of indescribable pain.

  17. Annie says:

    And what if you date for 5 years get engage for 3 and it’s still wrong.

  18. Pingback: Divorce. 10 Years Later. 5 Lessons Learned From One of My Biggest S.O. What!’s | summerowens

  19. Pingback: No Honeymoon. New Cancun Memories and 10 New Life Lessons. | summerowens

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