Case Study #4 for Ring EXchange book – Evan (Real Name)

Evan has actually been married 14 times -- but...and here's the surprising part...each of those 14 times, he's been married to the same woman! 

A  40-year-old speaker, best-selling author, and global entrepreneur, Evan is indeed very happily married;  he and his wife have two children and a stable relationship.  They have simply chosen to affirm their love (in an unusual way) by renewing  their vows annually, each year in a different state or country.

"I was 26 when we first got married," Evan recalls, "and that's when we decided to remarry every year in a different location.  At that time we had no money and no idea how we would pull off our imaginative idea.  We just made the decision, and then found a way to make it happen."

So far, some of the places the couple has been married are: at the Versailles Garden in Paris; at a 300-year-old windmill in Germany;  in the water, surrounded by dolphins, at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas; on the beach in Washington state; at the Excalibur Hotel in Las Vegas, where they were King and Queen; on the beach in Maui, Hawaii; and in a little church with a great view in Park City, Utah. 

Evan explains further:  "One year my bride chooses where we will remarry, and the next year I do.  Half the fun is just planning the whole adventure.  This year, for example, we've decided to renew our vows in a hot air balloon over Santa Fe, New Mexico." 

Most of the couple's friends and family are very, very excited and supportive about the annual renewing of vows.  "In fact, they sort of live vicariously through us," Evan observes.  One friend, though, when he learned that Evan and Susan will do their ceremony this year in a hot air balloon, remarked, "My marriage is definitely going in the opposite direction from yours!"

Usually a pastor officiates at the annual marriages for Evan and his bride, but one year they asked a good friend to preside over the ceremony.  "It was a blessing, to him and to me," Evan comments. 

So far there have been no complications, from a legal or tax standpoint, to the annual vow renewals.   "We have our original marriage license from our first wedding in our home state, California. So we don't apply for paperwork in other states because we're only renewing the original vows we made."

Evan was born in California to parents who divorced when he was about 4 years old.   After the divorce, during the week he and his brother stayed with his mother and went to his father's house on the weekends.  "I had a great childhood," Evan recalls, "but I didn't know how much damage the divorce had done until I was in my mid-30s.  I had really needed a father figure when I was a kid, and my dad simply wasn't around."  Evan's mother never remarried;  his father remarried,  then divorced, and is now married for a third time.

Evan and his brother grew up in a very happy, middle-class background.  "We had the stability of staying at the same school.  Mom moved to a condo about 10 miles away from our original home, and she made sure we were loved and very well taken care of."

As a young person, Evan had his first romantic experience in high school, and his first serious romantic relationship a few years later, when he was 19.  "The woman I was involved with was a little older, more established and much more mature than I.  Thank goodness this situation did not lead to marriage!  The relationship was founded only on physical pleasure, and that only lasts so long."

When Evan was younger, the attributes he was looking for in a marriage partner are not necessarily what he needs and wants now, at 40.  "My bride and I have grown together, and that's good, to be in a mutual growth process."

As for his picture of an "ideal marriage" before he got married: "I definitely did not want to be one of those guys who get married and then become fat and miserable.  I knew that I wanted to live my dreams, and also to live 'happily ever after' with my wife."

Now, Evan says he has a new picture of what an "ideal marriage" is.  "My bride and I still live 'happily ever after,'  but the seasons of life are constantly changing -- what with raising children, moving, career demands.  So I think that an ideal marriage is something that responds to the changing seasons of life.  After you have children, everything changes! We don't have the same quantity of time to spend with each other that we did before the kids came along, so instead we focus on the quality of time we can spend together.  We didn't want to look at each other after the kids are grown and say, 'Who are you?'"