'Everyone was shocked I wanted to get married at my age.'

Women of my vintage - I've just turned 50 - display a whole range of exciting life choices. Some take up beekeeping or do a tree change, whilst others engage in African drumming or start a new business endeavour. 

Some, of course, engage in more textbook mid-life behaviours such as divorcing, taking a younger lover or becoming an empty nester. 

I, on the other hand, got married.

No, not re-married - married. It's not a second (or third marriage), it's the first for us both. As I happen to have two 'big' children, it's hardly surprising that I had a previous long-term relationship, however, I was never married to the father of my children. In the past, I was perpetually aloof around the subject of weddings and I could never really grasp why people got excited over a dress that they were only ever going to wear once.

Watch: A study shows first-time marriages rise in people in their 40s and 50s. Post continues after video.

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My now husband had taken a more political stance; why get married when many people in our society were excluded from doing so? Well, this argument understandably held more weight prior to marriage equality, than after...


As two secular and progressive human beings, meeting in our late 40s, a wedding wasn't an experience that either of us had spent any time fantasizing about and it also wasn't something we felt we ought to 'tick off'. We felt no pressure from others to do so either. It was almost the other way around; although our family and friends were absolutely delighted for us to get married; until we announced it, I don't think anyone really had expected it

So why did we get hitched? It's simple: we just really wanted to. 

As we have just celebrated our first anniversary, I can now look back and reflect that it took us both until middle age before we found a person with whom everything felt right. 

We had both experienced heartbreak, trauma, and a range of challenges throughout our lives before we met, so why not pay homage to the fact that we could now share in all those things? Getting married suddenly made sense. 

It came as a surprise to many, even total strangers. I think this is because matrimony is supposed to be scheduled in a Disney Timeline kind of way; as if it is a milestone exclusively for those with taught skin and well-functioning ovaries. Are we 'over the hill' or have we 'missed the train' for such frivolity, mostly reserved for those belonging to a generation with a different moniker from ours?

Or are there societal unwritten rules that play a role in shaping the view of expected life events? 

Younger generations are repeatedly asked supposedly well-meaning questions: "Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?", and when they do; "When will you move in together/buy a house/get married?" and when they do; "When will you have children?" and when they have one; "When will you have another one?"


Are the expectations hoisted upon younger people indeed much heavier than we may realise, and is this why many people – who initially comply with the norms - wish to throw off the shackles, rebel, and do whatever they always wanted to do when reaching midlife

Could it be that since neither my husband or I ever fully embraced the social expectations when we were younger that we have therefore now freed ourselves up to explore those milestones in our time? 

Is this also why some of my friends, who were more compliant with societal expectations in their younger years, now can't imagine anything worse than spousal conversations along the lines of "Did you take the bins out?"

Admittedly, joint garbage disposal responsibilities and constructing wills and talking of "What happens when one of us dies?", isn't the most romantic part of tying the knot.

However– and I hope this doesn't sound like a soppy cliché - I'm actually grateful that I have found someone who I genuinely want to share all of life's ups and downs with. The drudgery can become an adventure when done with the right person. 

Listen to the 456 Club where hosts Narelda Jacobs & Cathrine Mahoney talk about dating, relationships and dating again in your 40s, 50s, and 60s. Post continues after audio.


For the big day, we squeezed 110 people into our terrace-sized backyard, followed by a party at our local pub which merged into an after-party back at our place. Our celebrant did an acknowledgment of the country recognising those who have lived, loved and died on the same soil before us. We walked down the red carpet together - as a couple - experiencing the buzz and the palpable feeling of the love radiating from our family and friends and from all of them watching the live streaming from overseas in real-time. We had a singer/guitarist with an eclectic playlist, covering everything from Over the Rainbow to A Whole Lotta Love

The dress code was, 'Come as you are', which for those who did not experience the 90s firsthand, was a tribute to the Nirvana song with the same name. And the guests certainly didn't let us down, arriving in everything from suave suits to cricket shirts to vibrant coloured dresses, jeans and even tracksuit pants.

There are too many amazing moments from the day to pick a favourite. 

Any words of wisdom? To millennials and Gen Z, I wish to urge you to do whatever is right for you; and do it now! You don't have to adhere to the Disney Timelines and you don't have to wait until you have lived half your life to do what you really wanted to do all the way along. For Generation X and the boomers; have fun, and do your thing, but do not hoist your expectations on the younger generations. They need to find their own path in life, whatever that may be.

Feature Image: Getty.