I read this article recently. As a newlywed and a someone in the wedding industry, I found this advice to be refreshing, intriguing and quite applicable.
To view the original article from Elle, click here.
4 Weddings and 3 Divorces: An Expert's Guide to Love Gone Wrong
Margo Howard has advice in her veins. She’s the daughter of Ann Landers (otherwise known as Eppie Lederer), the niece of Dear Abby, and an advice columnist in her own right: She was behind Slate’s Dear Prudence column for eight years, and she had her own syndicated column called Dear Margo until 2013. Though she’s dished out her share of romantic advice, she’s not exactly the best at taking it. She’s on husband number four, and in her kicky new memoir Eat, Drink & Remarry, Howard is transparent about her many romantic missteps.
But Eat, Drink & Remarry: Confessions of a Serial Wife isn’t strictly self-help. It’s more of a cautionary tale about avoiding the wrong men. Here’s the best advice that Howard never took, but wished she did. And the one piece of advice she did take, and was glad for it.
Lesson 1: Don’t Ignore the Greek Chorus
When Howard was just a senior in college, she met her first husband. In hindsight, she describes him as "an unattractive Prince Charles." That should tell you about how well their marriage turned out. She agreed to marry him on their fourth date. "Reader, I said yes," she admits. "Do not ask me why because I could not tell you." She proceeded to ignore a lot of red flags, including a drinking problem and the fact that he was a cold fish. Her parents begged her not to marry him, but she was 21, and no one was going to tell her what to do. She writes 40 years down the road:
“After many years of life experiences granting me distance from Coleman, not to mention many years of my reader mail, I now understand that a Greek chorus saying, 'Don’t do this' should not be disregarded. If I knew then what I know now, as they say, the question I would have asked myself is, 'Why would your friends and family go out on a limb to tell you this was a bum choice, taking the risk of becoming persona non grata?'"
Good question! And one you should ask yourself.
Lesson 2: Know Thyself—and Don’t Settle.
Howard chose her second husband as a reaction to her first. Where her first husband was work-obsessed and stiff, her second husband was easygoing and attentive. "I didn’t have to question his honesty, and he was lovingly solicitous of me…we didn’t argue and the relationship was comfortable," she writes. That comfort made her gloss over the fact that they didn’t have very much in common. She also just assumed that he would be a good step-parent to the three children she had with her first husband. Both of those assumptions were incorrect: "Obviously I did not know myself very well at the time or acknowledge my need for excitement," Howard writes. "Ordinary didn’t do it for me. I would advise anyone not to settle—yet that is what I did."
Lesson 3: Don’t Borrow Other People’s Husbands
After a decade-plus marriage to a famous actor—Ken Howard—their relationship dissolved. Then Howard dated a married guy, who she refers to as a "borrowed husband." "Dallying with a married man seldom ends well (For you, that is. He is usually fine.)," she writes. "Time flies when you’re sabotaging yourself."
Lesson 4: Always Give Second Chances
When she was in her late 50s, Howard was set up on a blind date with a surgeon, who she didn't think was her type. She described him, on first meeting, as "balding and avuncular." But she liked talking to him, and so agreed to a second date. It might be a cliché, but Howard found that "being able to get beyond the surface…made it possible for me to look for things that mattered. This is what prompted me, both in my advice column and when counseling friends, to always advise giving a new person a second look, as it is not possible to get a read on someone after just one encounter."
Reader, she married him. And this is her current—and she hopes, last—husband.