“The first time you marry for love, the second for money, and the third for companionship.”
– Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis
It’s a funny thing, love, isn’t it? Strangely enough, my mother told me this quote many years ago and for some reason, it always stuck with me. It seemed to be the perfect contradiction of a person I could never quite figure out; a romantic, a strategist, and a woman just looking for a little happiness. And maybe that’s just what Jackie intended when she spoke it; to reveal different sides of herself, yet keep who she truly was at her core a mystery…
Having been married two times, just as Jackie Kennedy was, her words resonate not only with me, but for all women who, for whatever reason, have been married more than once. After a woman has children, her little babies influence almost every decision she makes. Jackie was unique in that despite her affluent upbringing, she also seamlessly represented what it was to be “America’s everywoman”. At JFK’s funeral, she wasn’t just a wealthy girl from East Hampton anymore, but instead, a multifaceted, strong, vulnerable mother whose grief everyone could relate to, because at one time or another, we’ve all experienced something devastating and heart-wrenching. And it’s those relatable parallels that women everywhere drew between Jackie and themselves to make them feel like not only was she a part of them, but dually, like they were a part of her as well; a woman, a mother, a real human being,
However, Jackie’s relate-ability didn’t stop at being a full-fledged human. I saw similar parallels between Jackie and myself as a mother too – not only regarding marriage, but also regarding her devotion to her two children and the lengths a parent goes to keep them safe and protected. As a fellow mother, Jackie’s marriage to Aristotle Onassis most likely seems like a move she made to ensure her children received every possible opportunity available to them in order to become successful. Perhaps that’s why she said the second time you marry for money.
And though death, however destructive it may be to a person, is commonplace, the sad truth about partners is that sometimes they change. Or you change. Or you both change, leading to an irreparable disconnect. Change in life is imminent; sometimes people change and one partner doesn’t keep up with the other. And if those two parties fall into a mutual rut of stagnation, more often than not, relationships change, and sadly, on occasion, end.
When you are young and in love there is a tendency to overlook things in your partner; personality flaws, lack of money, lack of communication, addictions, and temperaments. Maybe that’s where the phrase, “love is blind” comes from?
But when you get older you look at love differently, because you’ve gone through changes, you’ve had life-changing experiences, and your entire worldview shifts from careless adolescent to responsible adult. But I am a firm and ardent believer that everyone can definitely love again. Instead of rushing in blinded by passion and lust, in later relationships you take pause and take a more thoughtful approach to relationships. “Can I handle a different financial situation?”, “Would I be happy living with a different kind of temperament?”, “Could I overlook this shortcoming?” – and you think twice. If anything, it opens up a window to communication, after which, love can effortlessly breeze in.
All of our personality traits, all of our flaws, all of what makes us who we are are simply things that are pristinely packed in the baggage we carry around each day. My advice? Look at the baggage your potential partner is bringing along and choose one with carry-on luggage.
Yes, love is a funny thing. Sometimes it hits us unexpectedly upside the back of the head, and other times it’s a slow journey of two people finding each other. And whether you heed Jackie’s advice on the order in which one should marry, or if you attack love with sheer passion, both Jackie and I – and I’m sure many of you also know – you can’t help who you fall in love with.
For me though, two times was the charm.