The Other Side Of Divorce: What It’s Like Being The 2nd Wife

Disclaimer: This post is about an LDS divorce and remarriage. However, it can relate to anyone going through divorce/remarriage.

My husband started 2016 married to someone else, and ended it married to me.

Never would I have planned on marrying someone who was divorced, but that’s just not how life works, is it?

I fell in love with Cristian 6 years before we actually got married. We were in college — I was 19, he was 25. Our relationship ended abruptly and left me with a great deal of heartbreak. He moved on and began a life with someone else.

Christmas 2010

When I found out he was engaged to her, I knew that was officially it. By this point I had already deleted his number from my phone and removed him as a friend on Facebook. But it was real now, there could never, ever be any going back to us.

I tried moving on with my life — graduated from college, started my journalism career, and went through the temple to receive my LDS endowment.

I was lonely, navigating depression, and felt like I had accomplished everything I could besides getting married and starting a family (my ultimate dream).

Then, in July of 2016, I was shocked to find out through one of my best friends that Cristian, the love of my life, was divorced.

All sorts of emotions started running through my body like fire. Part of me was nervous that he was going to come back into my life just to hurt me again, and the other part of me was so mad at him. Mad that he didn’t marry me the first time around — we could have had a family together already.

I wasn’t expecting to hear anything from him until at least the Fall, since the divorce was still fresh. Then, to my extreme shock, a letter from him was sitting at my desk at work when I came in for my 6 am shift on Thursday, July 14th, 2016. You can read more about how he came to write said letter in this blog post about our love story.

In his letter, he said I didn’t have to respond. That he would leave it up to the Lord, and desperately needed me to know how sorry he was. He said, “For me, to move forward, I’m leaving my gift at the altar to come before you and reconcile all the damage I’ve done. I have no expectations. If I never see or hear from you again in this life, I need to tell you how I feel about the last words I left you with; the last time we saw each other.”

And…

“The problem is that I am sick in spirit with the vivid memory of hurting you. I never treated anybody as wrongfully as I treated you, and causing your hurt is one of the worst mistakes I’ve ever made.”

I mulled over those three pages for a couple of days. I had a response letter (in which I left my phone number at the end) all ready to mail that following Monday morning. It just needed a stamp.

I woke up in the middle of the night with a strong impression that I needed to call him instead. So I got on Facebook later that morning and sent him a message asking for his number. He willingly gave it to me and I called him that night.

We saw each other for the first time in 5 years on August 4th, 2016.

We were married in the Portland, Oregon LDS Temple exactly three months later.

Our road to marriage had its difficulties. It was so divinely obvious to us that it was the right thing to do and what Heavenly Father wanted, but we still experienced our road blocks and stressful moments. One being us waiting on his ex to write a letter so we could get clearance from the First Presidency of the LDS Church for us to be sealed (aka married in the temple), since he was already sealed to her.

However, everything seemed to keep falling in place. We got the letter. The church gave us clearance less than a week after sending our application. The company he worked for told him they were transferring him to Portland, which was where we were getting married.

I worried that the wounds he received from his failed marriage were still fresh. We thought about putting the wedding off and waiting. But no, we knew we needed to be together, and that we couldn’t wait.

We had a beautiful wedding and a beautiful start to life together.

Then, as newlyweds, the realization that I was his 2nd wife started to take up residence in my mind. Cristian himself hated the fact that a lot of his “firsts” were stolen from him, and that he didn’t get to experience them with me. I looked forward to when we would hit milestones that he and she never hit together.

I wasn’t his first sexual partner.

I wasn’t the first woman he lived with.

I wasn’t the first woman he got pregnant.

He and his ex got pregnant but lost the baby, so when we got pregnant, I couldn’t wait until I went past the number of weeks she was when she lost their baby…because that meant Cristian hadn’t experienced that yet and it would be a new thing for us to have together. That makes me sound a little horrible…but it was real.

I still look forward to when we get beyond our 3 year anniversary…because that’s how long they were married.

I also often needed reassurance that he didn’t miss her or his previous “life,” and that he loved ME. I still do sometimes. He reminds me that their relationship was toxic, and they weren’t getting what they both wanted out of it.

Cristian still gets upset if he thinks too much about her and what happened towards the end of their marriage — the hurt is indeed fresh.

He hates the fact that there are still attachments to his 1st wife. They’re small…nothing like the need to send her money, or a child to share custody of. For example — he’s still making payments on a car that she had him lease in his name. We don’t even have the car anymore because it was nearing the end of its miles.

However, we know that all of these feelings and frustrations with my husband’s previous marriage come from the adversary. Satan stirs them up to put road blocks in our eternal marriage — much like he did when we were preparing for our wedding. Sometimes, it’s easy to give in and feel like his ex wife is hanging over our marriage like a dark cloud.

But, we try to remember that WE are sealed for time and all eternity. Cristian never forgets to express how happy he is in our marriage, and how much of a night and day difference it is. His 1st marriage, while not the best, taught him a lot about how to have a happy, celestial marriage. It also helped him realize what exactly he wanted in a marriage.

Our marriage isn’t perfect. But it’s wonderful.

We see each other not only for who we are, but who we could be.

We have a beautiful daughter together.

We cherish each other — even when we have disagreements — because we know our lives could be worse. He could be stuck in an unhappy, struggling marriage, and I could still be alone, waiting for the next stage of life.

We nurture our marriage. We work really hard on communication, expressing our expectations, and knowing each other’s love languages. We say “I love you” probably 100 times a day. He never fails to let me know how incredibly glad he is to be married to me.

Cristian discovered this quote right before we got engaged and I think it perfectly describes what we’ve learned so far in marriage.

“If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently. you shield it and protect it. You never abuse it. You don’t expose it to the elements. You don’t make it common or ordinary. If it ever becomes tarnished, you lovingly polish it until it gleams like new. It becomes special because you have made it so, and it grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by.” –F. Burton Howard

In a way, we are grateful for my husband’s divorce. It brought us back together.

And will always remind us how lucky we are.

If you are LDS/Mormon and recently divorced, we encourage you to read this article about hope and healing after divorce