Submitted by: Big Little Wolf
We’ve been dumbstruck at the sheer number of Tiger’s infidelities. We’ve been impressed by Sandra Bullock’s class act. We’re appalled at Mel Gibson’s ravings, and saddened by the separation of former Vice President Al Gore and wife Tipper.
Yesterday I caught a news item about the divorce of Sean Penn and Robin Wright Penn. The couple’s 14-year marriage ended officially this month. They have two children, 19 and 16, and have been together in a reportedly on-again off-again relationship that spanned two decades.
There were no accusations of infidelity, abuse, or anything particularly sensational (for a change). In fact, the articles I read suggest that while the couple had some publicized ups and downs – including filing for divorce previously – eventually, they just decided to call it quits.
Is this the way that marriage ends for most of us? Does it simply wear out?
I think back to my grandparents, and how devoted they seemed to be. Of course, I was a child and a teen when I was observing their interactions. I imagine there were indiscretions, and that’s what they were called back then. No one picked up a phone and dialed an attorney. At least, not in my family. In fact, my maternal grandparents were married for fifty years, and my paternal grandparents, for more than sixty.
I couldn’t say for certain whether or not my grandparents were happy, but I know they were happy some of the time. As for the rest, they were committed. They honored their vows “for better or worse,” and they honored the importance of the family unit.
Sure – it’s a different world. Life is more complex and more chaotic. There will always be extremes like Tiger and Mel, and situations of abuse or discoveries that make continuing in the marriage impossible. But for most couples, are there other forces at work?
- Does romantic love always have a shelf life?
- Are we convinced that marriage is the path to happiness?
- Do marriage and children kill off passion?
- Are our expectations so “off,” that divorce is inevitable?
Ask the Divorce Coach: Is it Time to Leave?