Monday, June 07, 2010

Tipper and Al: Divorce after 40 years?

I've been reading the press about the Gores' separation, and though I'm really not one that likes "gossipy" celebrity news, I am interested in these mid-life divorces, perhaps because I've been through one myself. Of course, Tipper and Al were married twice as long as I was, so I imagine their divorce will be twice as difficult. I'm sure it doesn't help to have everyone discussing it, and yet, here I am, discussing it, too.

It was tough to start dating again in my40's. I can't imagine doing it in my 60's. Do the Gore's know what they're in for? They have kids. They have history. They have 40 years. And they still even look pretty good! Didn't they just have a big passionate public kiss not so long ago? Of course, Bella DePaulo of Living Single wasn't surprised about the split because she felt the public display of affection was pure performance.

Whether it was an act or not, after 40 years, you are family. I actually felt this way throughout my marriage. Love wasn't about passion or attraction. My husband was my partner., the father of my kids.. not someone disposable. It's a lot easier to endure (and even get comfort from) each others' quirks and odd habits after so many years than it is to start over with someone new. It's funny... when I was married, there were so many things my husband did that I think would drive me crazy now... and yet, they didn't really bother me when I was married to him. You just accept those things, the same way we accept the irritating habits of all our loved ones.

One thing that bothered me about this article on the Gores' separation was the statement:

We live in a culture where there are two major values when it comes to marriage.
To some, personal happiness is more meaningful than anything else and to others
a sense of family connection with all its problems trumps the frenetic pursuit
of personal happiness.

This sounds as if you have to choose between happiness and "family connection." Now that's rather cynical! Isn't anyone happily married anymore? Why is it "family connection with all its problems" trumping personal happiness? I think family connection with all its joys is what brings personal happiness!

Now, of course, it takes two to tango, and if one person wants out of a marriage, well... there's not too much the other one can do. Luckily, there are ways, other than marriage, to have family connections and other intimate relationships. And everyone has to choose their own path. But I do think this theory that some have that divorce is about finding "personal happiness" is misguided.

Personal happiness is not about staying in a marriage or getting a divorce. It's about finding love in whatever your situation is in life. If you are married, then choose to support and love your partner. If you are single, then choose to support and love your friends and family. Either way, I believe choosing love and personal happiness is in our control!


rebecca @ altared spaces said...

I like that you are challenging the idea that we must choose "boring old marriages" or happiness. I happen to be wonderfully happy right here in the midst of my 22 year old marriage.

Thanks for being gracious instead of bitter after your divorce. It means a tremendous amount to a child of divorce. You never know where you'll pick up little tidbits of healing.

Micah D.L. said...

that's really sad to hear that they're divorcing. i agree with you though...we must find happiness in whatever situation(s) we're in. otherwise, what's the point, frankly?