Loading...
The Heart Beat The Heart Beat blog

True love stories: Couple marries three times

Amid evolving same-sex marriage laws, Bob and Rik have vowed their love thrice.

By Kristin Wong Jan 25, 2013 7:58PM

The Heart Beat is excited to introduce our new weekly feature, "True love stories." Each week, a couple with a truly amazing love story will be profiled. If you know a couple with a story worth sharing, please email us at msnlivingmail@micros​​​​oft.com for a chance to be featured.

Bob Bragar realized he was gay at a young age. It was the 1950s, and he never really had plans to marry. In a piece for the Huffington Post, Bragar writes: 

"Marriage just wasn't an option for gay people in that time and place."

As an adult, Bob fell in love with Jay. While they couldn't marry, they did live in domestic bliss for 17 years, until Jay passed away in 1993. Naturally, Bob was devastated and found it difficult to keep going. 

Photo: Brian Summers/Getty ImagesMore on MSN LivingKissing dos and don'ts

A year later, Bob met Rik—"a tall, blond, wonderfully athletic" Dutch man "with a warm, easy smile."

Bob still remembers the moment he laid eyes on Rik for the first time: 

"More than 18 years later, we both still recall that moment as love at first sight."

Little did Bob know that, over the years, he and Rik would marry three times.

More on MSN Living50 wedding cost-cutting tips from real brides

In 1998, Bob was living in the Netherlands with Rik, and the country made "civil registration" legal for same-sex couples. The couple decided to have a ceremony — cake, champagne, the works — and vow their love to each other. 

"We invited all our close friends and family members, many of whom flew in from the United States, while others gathered from all across Europe. My mother, my sister Joan, my cousin Alice and my old friend Paul from Washington were there, as well as Rik's parents, his brother and sister-in-law, and our many friends." 

That was Wedding No. 1. And although Bob admits he didn't have a clear grasp on the true meaning of marriage at that time, he kept his vow, and he and Rik lived happily. As the years progressed, so did Bob's understanding of the significance of their union. 

In 2001, the Netherlands updated its laws so that same-sex couples were entitled to actual marriage. If Bob and Rik wanted to upgrade their "civil registration," they had to go to city hall and sign some papers. 

Bing: Gay marriage bill faces tough road

Since they would now be considered married in the eyes of the law, the two figured they might as well throw another wedding. 

"Our original concept was to head over to city hall by ourselves, or with just a couple of friends as witnesses, then enjoy a quick lunch and hop on a plane to Paris, where we would celebrate in grand style. Inevitably, however, word of our plans got out. And each person who heard about it had the same, quintessentially Dutch response: "A WEDDING?! How wonderful!" 

For the second time, Bob and Rik gathered with friends, family and champagne.

"I realized that it had been, yet again, a perfect wedding," Bob wrote. 

Ten years later, New York state approved same-sex marriage. Because Bob considers New York his home — a place where his "heart beats faster," he immediately knew he wanted to tie the knot in the Big Apple. Bob writes about his decision to marry Rik for a third time: 

"I'm a member of the New York bar. Finally having the right to return and be married in my hometown meant a lot to me.  There was a practical reason, too: American estate taxes."

So at 10:30 in the morning on a Tuesday in August, Rik and Bob gathered, yet again, with 18 of their closest friends and family. They tied the knot with a slew of other couples in a building next to city hall. 

"As far as we could tell, we were almost the only gay couple getting hitched that morning. But it didn't matter; we were all awash in happy anticipation, and full of warm feelings for our fellow celebrants… Most of all, I wanted to thank my city and state for finally making me a full citizen. I hope that one day soon my country will do that, too." 

Indeed — here's hoping there's a forth wedding for Bob and Rik.

Subscribe to The Heart Beat

More from The Heart Beat:
True love stories: Couple remarries 30 years after divorce
7 lost wedding ring stories with happy endings

Study: Confidence before marriage leads to a happy union

Love content like this? Friend us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and find us on Pinterest

Photo: Brian Summers/Getty Images

1Comment
Jan 27, 2013 2:27PM
avatar
Three times, huh? Is this what you call, "Shoving it down our throats"?
Report
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
Categories
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

love: friendships, dating, sex & marriage

  • Sign placement/"10 Most Outrageous Wedding Photos"/Photo: Brooke Aliceon Photography

    10 outrageous wedding photos

    The typical wedding: A white dress, tiered cake, floral centerpieces and a cute flower girl -- you know the drill. Every once in a while, though, a couple trades in tradition for a quirky, never-seen-that-before idea. Here are a few of the most out-there wedding photos that made us do a double take.

  • Hot wedding trends for fall

    9 hot wedding trends for fall

    There's a lot to love about weddings this fall, like cocktails served in copper Moscow mule mugs, industrial-inspired lighting and pheasant feather details. See what's new!

  • Monique Pean Mineraux diamond and rose gold ring, $3,400; barneys.com

    Why single ladies are rocking a wedding ring

    Do you have to be engaged to sport a ring with bling?

  • ​KIVILCIM PINAR, Getty Images //  ​KIVILCIM PINAR, Getty Images (​KIVILCIM PINAR, Getty Images)

    Majority of Americans are single

    124.6 million haven't gotten hitched.

  • least expensive places to get married

    These are the 25 least expensive places to get married in America

    Even though the national average wedding is $29,858, that’s just an average. If you live in a smaller state like Idaho where the average wedding costs $16,159, you may find yourself saving a little more than half of the national spend! Check out some of the other least expensive cities to get married in below:

  • M Swiet Productions, Getty Images // M Swiet Productions, Getty Images (M Swiet Productions, Getty Images)

    Americans have nostalgia for summer romance

    Summer is winding down, but the ubiquitous summer romance lives on.

  • 8 signs it's time to break up

    8 signs it’s definitely time to break up

    For those times when nothing big and horrible happened--but nothing is feeling right either.

  • Actor/"Why we love an older man"/Photo: Shutterstock

    Reasons why we love an older man

    He’s confident, distinguished and anywhere from 4 to 20 years older than you. Age is just a number, but there’s something about older men that we love. Here are eight reasons why being in a relationship with an older man is tops.

  • Actor/"Why we love a younger man"/Photo: Shutterstock

    Reasons why we love a younger man

    While a younger man may have less life experience, that doesn’t mean he’s not emotionally mature. Here are the eight reasons why being in a relationship with a younger man is tops.

  • Other woman (Courtesy YourTango)

    5 reasons the other woman slept with your man

    Have you ever wondered what the 'other woman' was thinking?

  • Apple picking

    6 fun fall date ideas

    So fall is coming and you need some romantic inspiration now that long walks on the beach are out of the question. Well look no further! From apple picking to pumpkin carving, these are some great fall date ideas from girls just like you!

  • Go to a theme park

    8 cute celeb date ideas

    Getting bored of the same dinner and movie date night? Take an adorable cue from your favorite celebs and try something new! From dancing to boxing you can't go wrong with these awesome date ideas.

buzzing now on msn living
Loading...
The Heart Beat is a Great Dating Blogs Winner The Heart Beat is a Great Dating Blogs Winner
relationship videos
editor's picks
Loading...
the heart beat
Loading...