Two hearts drawn in the sand on a beach.

Love and marriage redux – Jack Partridge

by John J. “Jack” Partridge, contributing writer

First things first!

I want to thank all who contacted me by email, telephone, and USPS with their comments on my first column for RINewsToday on Valentine’s Day. It was entitled, “Love and Marriage”. The subject of the piece as you may recall was that marriage unlike even a romantic cohabitation enhances the growth of loyalty between partners and has very positive effects on permanence of the relationship and other attributes of a loving relationship, including the societal positives like security and comfort for couples in their later years and thus to society in general.

In future columns, I hope to merit your valuable reading time with columns with wit and bite, with an emphasis on insights and jibes on common Rhode Island experiences, society, culture, politics, and personalities, known and unknown, and all that makes Rhode Island unique. My first column was my comment on marriage and cohabitation; not unique to Rhode Island, but appropriate for Valentine’s Day. Yes, to answer one email, I admit being a sentimental guy with a 50-plus year marriage that provides all its promised benefits. 

Keep the comments coming so I will learn more about your thoughts. And what is going on.

As to learning, for example, two days after the column, I received an email from my friend, Charlie, with respect to the topic of the column that was particularly compelling, poignant, and thoughtful, and from a very different perspective than my column. Charlie and Nancy (not their real names) are residents of a senior congregant community, having both suffered the tragedy in recent years of the death of a beloved spouse after extended illnesses. Over time an increasingly deep-rooted affectionate relationship developed. Because of complicating circumstances known only to them, they thought it unnecessary to take the further step of formalizing their relationship in an official marriage ceremony. Instead, at dinner on Valentine’s Day in the presence of friends and family, they exchanged promises. Each said to the other. “I take you as my spouse to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish until death do us part. This is my solemn vow.” Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Nancy added, “We ask friends and relatives to share our happiness.” Nancy also added, “We are so happy to have the wonderful memories of our prior marriages and to have a second chance to experience similar happiness in the later years of our lives.” 

As a lawyer, I hope they executed appropriate documentation regarding their relationship. More pertinent to the topic of the column, I was moved by the formal nature of their public commitment, the importance of which I failed to address in the column. The public acknowledgement of a mutual commitment in a ceremony as in marriage helps to sustain vows. Such a public celebration of commitment rarely occurs in a cohabitation.  For whatever reasons, this couple felt they would forgo the formalities of an official ceremony; but their public declarations nevertheless affirm to all their mutual affection and loyalty which are to be respected, by all, and to be lived by the couple as though married.


John J. ‘Jack’ Partridge, is a lawyer and Senior Counsel to the firm of Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP, with four offices in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

A Pawtucket native, Jack graduates from St. Raphael Academy and summa cum laude of Providence College, where he majored in history. After Harvard Law School, he served in the United States Army in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal. In 1967, he joined the firm of Tillinghast Collins & Tanner. In 1988, he became a founding partner of Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP.

Jack has been engaged in many civic, political, governmental, and business organizations, serving as legal counsel to the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce for 27 years and was chairman of the Old Slater Mill Association, Common Cause Rhode Island, and Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island.

He is the co-founder of The Pawtucket Foundation and an officer and director of innumerable not-for-profit entities. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Pawtucket Boys & Girls Club and was Treasurer of the Ocean State Charities Trust.

Jack has a long history of leadership involvement with Providence College, which recognized him in 1999 with the Providence College Alumni Association Recognition Award for Public and Community Service, and in 2011, with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

He is married to the former Regina McDonald and has three children: Sarah, Gregory and David.

He is the author of four books – Scratched, Straight Pool, Carom Shot – and his new book, Under Blood Moons.

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  1. Nancy Carriuolo on March 6, 2022 at 6:31 pm

    Good points, Jack. Public and legal statements show a deep commitment. And you are so right: as we age, having a committed partner to see us through the worse of “for better or worse” is comforting. You are such a good writer and thinker. Keep the article coming. Best, Nancy Carriuolo