In the lyrics of her hit but controversial song, “Dear Future Husband,” Meghan Trainor demands from him: dates, flowers on their anniversary, being treated like a lady, being told she’s beautiful, apologies after every fight, his time, and a ring. In return, she offers to be the perfect wife, buy groceries, be faithful, kiss him and give him sex.
These things don’t seem unreasonable to me. Then again, Trainor is 22. What does she know about love and marriage yet? That said, do I have any right to criticize what she wants when she gets married? My marriage failed. Maybe I didn’t ask for the right things.
So, as a 49 year-old divorced woman and single mom, if I was going to write a letter to my future husband, here is what I’d write:
Dear Future Husband,
Should I decide to embark on a second marriage, which is extremely frightening to me on many levels, here is what I would ask of you.
Please take time to get to know me. All of me. Don’t let the initial, physical attraction you have towards me blind you from the real me. At the beginning of our relationship I will seem perfect to you, and the few flaws that you see in me will seem cute and harmless. And vice-versa.
You’ll think you are in love early on, probably because you will be so happy and surprised to have met someone you really like and who you are attracted to after having gone through the heartbreak of your divorce, and possibly dated a bunch of people who turned out to be disappointing. Additionally, you will probably be shocked that at such an older age, you are capable of feeling as much passion as you did as a 25 year old. So, what I’m asking is that you take your time and really make sure it’s right before you dive in.
If and when we do become a couple, make sure we always talk to each other. No secrets, no resentment, everything on the table. Complete and pure honesty, no matter how hurtful it might seem to either of us.
Also, realize that we are older people now. We have our own lives. We have our own children. Don’t try to force us to be the Brady Bunch. I will treat your children the way I’d treat my own, and I hope you will do the same, but let’s not be disillusioned. Our kids will need alone time with each of us, and when that happens, neither of us should feel hurt.
I agree with Trainor when I say I always want to date you. I want romance till the day we die. And, I want to have fun with each other and not lose that in the day-to-day realities of marriage.
When one of us is sad or sick or has a problem, I want us to be there for each other no matter what. I want us to be best friends and treat each other like that. I want “us” to remain our top priority (other than our children) no matter what.
Promise me that as I grow old, you will still love me and look beyond the wrinkles, belly flab and ailments I might develop. Promise that you will take care of me, and I will do the same. It’s a promise that is a lot closer in number of years than it was when you made that promise to your first wife. Ask yourself, ‘Am I really up for this?’ before you propose.
Lastly, just love me. I’m a little damaged and insecure. I need to feel cherished, treasured, appreciated and respected. I know you need that, too.
Dear future husband, I’m scared so I’m cautious. But I’m also wiser than I was as a young person. All that said, I’m hopeful. Happily ever after is still in my core. So, I’m really looking forward to you.
I would love to see are your letters to “My future wife.” Feel free to post!
Michael C. Craven
Thank you for your article. I found this interesting.
-Michael C. Craven, Chicago Divorce Attorney
Okay you asked for it. I’ll take a stab at it;
Dear future wife,
I don’t know if you even exist. but I hope so. Right now, with all of the baggage I’ve accumulated, I don’t know if anyone will ever love me again like my first two wives did, or if I will ever find another woman with whom I will want to spend the rest of my life. Still, I don’t feel like I’m built to spend the rest of my life, alone, without a partner to share life with.
You see, I was happily married twice, and sadly, I have now been widowed twice as well. Breast cancer took my first wife of ten years. Lung cancer took my second wife of 14 years. I’ve spent nearly half my life learning how to be the best husband I can be, and I’m not sure I really know how to be anything else. I am very lonely, and my heart seeks a new best friend, confidant, lover, and partner in life.
Can you accept me as I am? Can you accept that I will never be “over” my first two wives and will never stop loving either of them. Know that you will not be in competition with them, and I do not expect you to be like either of them. I will try not compare you to them, anymore than you will compare me to your father, or other men you may see as examples of the type of man that would make a good partner for you. Understand that I did not leave my wives, and they did not voluntarily leave me, so I do not resent them. I did not cheat on them, nor do I believe they ever cheated on me. I will always remember them fondly, and probably more saintly than they actually were. Do not ask me to, nor expect me to, destroy old photos or other memories of my life with them . If I am to build a life with you, I am willing to store those memories away somewhere. They won’t need to be out and in your face, and I will probably never pull them out to look at them, but I want to know that if I ever do want to reflect back on my life, that those items will be there for me. My second wife had a hard time accepting that at first, because she was divorced, and didn’t have the same fondness for her ex, but eventually she saw that our house was filled with only pictures and memories of our life together and that I never felt the need to pull out those old photos of my life with someone else, but it was a comfort to me to know that they were there. Had she pressed me to get rid of them, and I relented, I would have resented her for that for the rest of my life. Do not ask me to resent you.
If you have children, and/or grandchildren, I do not expect you to hide those remnants of your life with another away from me. As much as you, your children/grandchildren, and your ex(‘s) allow me to do so, I will treat your offspring as if they were my own. I do not have children of my own, but I do have a stepdaughter, and step grandchildren that I intend to maintain a relationship with. Do not be jealous of that. If you are my partner in life, I will put you and your needs before everyone else’s, but try not to be selfish and take advantage of that fact, to the extent that you are isolating me from relationships with friends and family that were made before I met you. I love my dogs. They live in the house with me. Do not try to banish them to the garage or outside. If you can’t learn to love my dogs, you are not right for me.
I am sometimes insecure. Reassure me. Let me know that I am the most important thing in your life. I will not make you choose between me and your friends and/or offspring, but make me believe that our relationship is the most important thing to you. As I said, I have no children of my own or other close living family members. I do not know if my step family would properly care for me if I became ill. Let me know you would take care of me. Look out for my health and try to encourage me to eat healthier and exercise without nagging me too much.
I have saved all of my life for retirement as best I could. Do not expect me to spend my safety net for other things. Be honest with me about finances. Do not hide debts, savings, and purchases from me, and I will do the same with you. We will not always agree on how we each spend our personal money. I believe we should each have some discretionary funds of our own to spend how we like, but we should never take on debt secretly or hide what we save or what we spend our personal money on, from each other, even if the other disagrees with it (with the temporary exception of gifts we will buy for each other) I won’t criticize you for buying a designer bag with your personal funds. Don’t criticize me for losing my personal funds playing poker or whatever. Joint funds and/or lines of credit should only be spent as we both agree and budget for. We should discuss finances at least once per month and make sure we are both aware of financial goals, challenges, and successes.
Let me know you desire me. Tell me how handsome you think I am, even though I know I’m getting older, and not as physically attractive as I once was. Keep yourself up as best you can. I know you will get old and wrinkled, and that’s okay I will still love you, but try to keep yourself desirable to me, and I will try to keep myself from falling apart too. Take care of my sexual needs. Understand that I am going to become an older man. I will probably become more difficult to arouse. I may need visual aids, little blue pills, and/or special attention to satisfy me. My stamina will decrease, and I will need more time to recover. Men are very visual, that’s just the way we are. 20-something swimsuit models will get my attention. I know they are out of my league, but I’m going to look anyway. Don’t get mad, or insecure. Use that to your advantage to get my motor running. Tease me. Be playful. Do what you can to make me feel like a young stud. You may need lubrication, toys, special attention, etc. Communicate with me. Let me know what you like and what you don’t. I will find joy in pleasing you. Take joy in pleasing me. We will figure out how to please each other. Be patient with me, and understand that I have a fragile male ego that needs to be stroked to feel good about myself..
Be a Godly woman. Don’t cuss like a sailor and take the lord’s name in vain. Be compassionate towards others. Don’t be too quick to judge others. What is right for you and your personal relationship with God is not necessarily what is right for others. Be kind to animals. Be charitable to the less fortunate. Share your thoughts with me. What are your dreams? What are your fears? Let me know when I do something you appreciate. That will encourage me more than complaining about all the things I will do wrong. You can let me know about those too, but try to find a balance. Positive reinforcement is more effective than complaining. I do care what you have to say, but don’t try to talk to me about anything important to you, when I’m watching the forth quarter of a football game. Make sure you have my attention, before you tell me anything you expect me to listen to. Vow to always keep working to improve our relationship. I will not be perfect. I will make mistakes. Learn to forgive me when I do. I will try to improve, and will forgive you when you fall short, Love me and let me know you do.
Are you out there?