DEAR ABBY: Is there any kind of legal limit or restriction on the number of times a person can be married and divorced?
I have three daughters, ages 30, 27 and 25. The oldest and youngest are both college graduates, have great careers and are still single. My middle daughter dropped out of high school when she was 16 to get married. We were opposed, but she was determined. "Lana" works as a waitress in a restaurant/bar. She has been married and divorced 11 times.
Lana and her newest boyfriend are going to get married. It has been only three months since she divorced her last husband. She has known this new boyfriend for only a few weeks. He is 38 years old and has a good business. This will be Lana's 12th marriage.
She says she wants all of our extended family to be invited, because it is her boyfriend's first wedding -- and she claims it will be her last. (We've heard that several times before.) Her boyfriend is paying all the wedding expenses; however, neither I nor her sisters, who will have to travel a great distance, are eager to attend. I will -- but I do not want to interrupt the lives of our extended family to have them attend another wedding that may end up in divorce sooner rather than later, as her 11 other marriages did. Your thoughts, please. -- MOTHER OF THE "BRIDE"
P.S. During a wedding, when the preacher asks if there is anyone present who knows why this man and woman should not be united in holy matrimony, what does that mean? Is someone actually expected to stand up and object? I object, but I doubt it will do any good.
DEAR MOTHER: Your daughter appears to be a super salesperson. It defies belief that someone with any degree of intelligence would marry a person with Lana's marital history after such a short engagement and no premarital counseling. There is either a sucker born every minute, or her fiance is a terminal optimist.
Since your daughter's fiance is paying for the wedding, they may invite whomever they wish. It's up to the relatives to decide whether or not to attend the 12th wedding. However, if they sent only their good wishes, I wouldn't blame them.
Unfortunately, there is no limit on the number of times a person can be married. Let's hope your daughter doesn't go for a baker's dozen.
To address the questions in your P.S.: Asking whether there is anyone present who knows why this man and woman should not be united in holy matrimony is a holdover from times when there were no phones, travel was difficult, and there was far less communication between communities than there has been in the last century. Its purpose was to reveal if there were any impediments to the union, such as the bride having been pledged to someone else, or the groom already being married. Another impediment might be that they were close blood relatives. Today, no one is expected to voice an objection.