This morning, I had a number of surprise revelations. It’s tough to surprise me. I’m old and wise and I’ve been working with the public for forty years now. I’ve also literally “seen it all” in the wedding and events business.
Today’s eye opener was something I’ve yet to encounter so buckle up for yet another bumpy ride ya all because I literally found myself “stuck in the middle of a situation” today with two brides planning to marry the same inmate. I’m also as shocked as you are.
“You’ve seen it all? What do you mean Wendy?” Last year, a brawl at an upscale and elegant wedding in Fort Worth resulted in several arrests. Was I surprised? Absolutely. I was also hurt while trying to separate the brawling groomsmen.
A few months ago, while signing in at the Duty Desk at Tarrant County Jail with my client, the inmates “baby mama” was waiting to visit this Don Juan herself when overhearing that my client was on site for a visit “with her minister.”
Could we have known that the “baby mama” was on site with her minister and a Louisiana marriage license? No. Who would? But, after a verbal altercation, my client tore up her marriage license and effectively washed that man right out of her hair and her life. Just when I think I’ve seen everything- I’m consistently surprised by Events that no one could have foreseen!
Shockingly, THIS weekends round of surprises involved an inmate writing love letters to someone in another state who had contacted me regarding a TDCJ marriage in Texas and another client scheduled to marry the same inmate this month. What the? Stay tuned.
In August, I had a DM from someone wishing to marry an inmate. This isn’t unusual. I went through the process of advising her what she would need to do from her end to expedite the process in Texas. Why? Texas has a 3 day waiting period. To overcome this inconvenience for my out of state clients, I suggest the Twogether In Texas Premarital Course that effectively waives the 3 day waiting period while also discounting the cost of the marriage license by $60.
Last night at a client meeting with my November 2nd clients for a backyard wedding, my groom asked about his minister “making a certificate.” I’m going to clarify that no one can “MAKE a certificate” for Twogether In Texas that will be accepted by the the county clerk UNLESS that person is a registered provider WITH Twogether In Texas.
The Twogether certificate MUST be printed on an authorized Twogether In Texas form. Explaining this to my clients who had been taking Premarital classes through their church minister, it became apparent to me that there is widespread confusion regarding Twogether In Texas.
Let’s review ONE MORE TIME why Twogether In Texas exists…
TEXAS HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES COMMISSION
EXECUTIVE COMMISSIONER Date: Aug. 6, 2008
Contact: Stephanie Goodman (512) 424-6951
New Law Promotes Free Marriage Education Classes
Couples Who Complete Courses Can Waive Marriage License Fee, AND Waiting Period..
AUSTIN – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is spreading the word about a new state law, which takes effect Sept. 1, 2008 that encourages couples to attend free marriage education classes before taking the plunge. Couples who complete the skills-based course will pay less for their marriage license.
House Bill 2685 increases the marriage license fee to $60. However, the fee will be waived for couples who complete an eight-hour premarital class, and those couples can forgo the 72-hour waiting period to get married. Counties may continue to charge up to $12 in local fees for a marriage license.
HHSC is running a billboard campaign throughout August to raise awareness of the new law and the marriage education classes. The agency also has contracts with community-based organizations that are working to build a network of classes across the state that meet the requirements for the marriage license discount.
The state’s initiative, called “Twogether in Texas,” promotes free marriage education classes that provide eight hours of training on communication skills, conflict resolution and other elements of a healthy marriage. Couples can find classes in their area by calling 2-1-1.
Starting Sept. 1, 2008, any couple who complete a class will receive a certificate that they can take to their county clerk when they apply for their marriage license. The certificate is good for one year and serves as proof that the couple is eligible for the discounted marriage license fee.
For obvious reasons, a clergy not affiliated with Twogether In Texas CANNOT create a certificate. The certificate MUST be on the state approved form. After explaining this to my clients last night, it became apparent that paying the additional $60 is easier and more beneficial than TAKING ANOTHER Premarital Class through an accredited Twogether In Texas provider. I agree although I wish they had asked me about this weeks ago. It would have certainly spared them a lot of time and grief during their wedding planning process.
Now, back to two people trying to marry the same inmate…. I needed to verify the facts before contacting and obviously upsetting my client who is preparing to marry in less than two weeks.
Client 1. From August had been alerted to Client 2. How? FB. It’s not just for friends.
Due to a FB group moderator, one of the women who had contacted me in August to marry an inmate in Texas was advised that the same inmate that she was planning to marry was SCHEDULED to marry someone else. Guess who was the Officiant? That’s right. Me. FOR BOTH WOMEN TO THE SAME INMATE. I have NO contact with inmates via phone or mail. My clients are “on the outside.” I don’t even meet inmates until wedding day. I have no information other than their name and inmate ID necessary for me to contact to the Unit and verify client status with their loved one and schedule the weddings.
After reviewing numerous texts and validating the inmate ID number, I was alarmed to realize that whomever the group moderator on FB was that had advised my out of state client that the inmate was engaged to someone else, was in fact correct. To my own shock, I was effectively “caught in a love triangle.”
After reviewing the numerous documents sent to me via text message, I then contacted my client who HAS a marriage license and a date at the Unit to marry in order to alert her to the other woman.
The “other woman” had already been attempting to message my client WITH A MARRIAGE LICENSE via FB. I thought it best to contact her myself rather than have her wake up on a Sunday morning with dozens of messages from the other woman.
Last night, I also had an alarming voice mail left on my phone regarding this “love triangle” situation.
This morning AND this afternoon, I have spoke to both women and advised them to address and confront the inmate regarding his intentions. He needs to be loyal to one woman. Both women deserve loyalty and honesty.
Marriage is based on trust. Love is sacrifice but loving an inmate is 99.9 percent more of a sacrifice for the “person on the outside.” How so? They have far more to lose than the person on the inside. They are going to work everyday and raising their children alone. They are paying for expensive phone calls and putting money on the books of the inmate. They are driving to weekend visits and they are effectively making ALL of the sacrifices singlehandedly to make their relationship work.
Throughout my conversations with both of these women, it became apparent to me that one of them was a pen pal who had been sending money to the inmate and had never met him in person. The inmate had benefitted from this relationship. Dishonesty hurts everyone involved though.
My other client has known the inmate for years and had visited him at the Unit. The inmate was playing both sides of the fence. I was quickly reminded of the “Coffield Unit Con Man and The Bride That Gave Him The Boot.”
The inmate isn’t my client. In the Coffield Con Man situation, I refunded my client and agreed wholeheartedly that she was better off without him. In fact, I married her to someone else less than a year later.
In today’s situation that began “boiling over” 48 hours ago, it would be different from Coffield in that one woman refused to let go. I asked “how long have you known him?” She had been exchanging letters, phone calls and sending money for 6 months. She was also shocked and upset that this inmate would be marrying in less than two weeks. Convincing her that stepping back was in her best interest has taken me all day. On my last phone call with her, I told her that the inmate was told to cease all communication by my client planning to marry this month.
A few minutes ago after a two hour lull while I was on location with another couple, I read a text from her saying “he hadn’t called.” I hope he doesn’t. This inmate needed to choose one woman and stick with that decision. In my opinion, he owed an apology to both women too. This situation has hurt both women and I’m hurt for them. But, I cannot marry two women to one man.
I had advised my client marrying this month to “put her foot down and confront him. Set boundaries. Make him choose you or cut him loose. Know your worth. No one wants to marry a cheater.”
I then called my twin sister who was dealing with trust issues regarding her daughter, Stephaney. Addicts are sneaky too. My mother was a heroin addict. My niece has had an ongoing addiction to meth for seventeen years. Steph is back in treatment again. Our entire family is hurt AGAIN. Cindy was working on trust quotes for Pawning Planners Apparel.
“WHEN you TELL a LIE, no MATTER how FAST you RUN, the TRUTH is AT your HEELS, and EVENTUALLY, it will CATCH up WITH you” Amen.
“TRUST is like TOAST, once it’s BURNT, don’t EXPECT anybody ELSE to PUT it ON their PLATE, and SWALLOW it EITHER” God bless us all.
“DISHONESTY is EXPENSIVE, the TRUTH is FREE, don’t CREATE any new DEBT with LIES, that an APOLOGY could never REPAY.”
I HATE SECRETS. As a child, my grandfather molested not only my twin and I but also our step sister. No one stopped the abuse. No one cared. My grandfather always warned all of us “if you ever tell anyone, you will never see your sisters again.” One day our step sister, Tammy was gone. Our grandfather used this disappearance to instill fear in my sister and I. “If you ever tell, you will disappear just like Tammy.”
At 25 years old I found Tammy by hiring a private investigator. My grandfather had nothing to do with her disappearance. My mother’s mother had adopted her. Tammy left our hellish childhood and had the normality that Cindy and I wouldn’t find until running away from home at 15. I was pregnant. I lost the baby. No one was happier at our grandfathers funeral than Cindy and I because he would never hurt another little girl again. I HATE SECRETS. I also have my reasons for hating secrets.
For six years, I was married to a cheater. For six years my ex lied. For six years I doubted my own self worth. What was wrong with me? Why wasn’t I enough? I walked and kept walking. I prefer to be alone than to be hurt or lied to. I’m no ones victim anymore. I never will be again.
Marriage is a merger. If you can’t trust your spouse, you are in the wrong marriage. If you are planning a wedding to someone, you are entitled to know their history. You are entitled to honesty. Set boundaries…