Christian marriage to Joy Davidman
1957 - 1960
Lewis began corresponding with American poet Joy Davidman Gresham in 1950, and the two first met in August 1952 when she visited England. She was divorced from her abusive, adulterous husband in 1954 after returning to England with her two sons the year prior. In 1956, Lewis and Davidman entered into a civil union as a means of allowing Joy to remain England after her visitor’s visa was not renewed. Lewis had been supporting Joy and her sons financially as a friend, and he viewed the civil union as a matter of expedience and friendship: the two continued living separately until 1957 when, upon Joy’s diagnosis with terminal bone cancer, Lewis realised he had fallen in love with her. Reverend Peter Bide performed a Christian marriage ceremony for them in hospital on 21 March 1957. After her discharge from hospital, they lived together as a family until her death in 1960.
Lewis mourned her passing under a pseudonym in A Grief Observed, which was attributed to him after his death with permission from his estate.