So. I have thoughts. Big ones. Loud ones. Messy ones. This week a lot of those thoughts are about marriage.
First, came my little shock about Al and Tipper Gore divorcing. That was like, whoa. If those two crazy kids can’t make it, then what is marriage all about? Well, lucky for me, Rabbi Schmuley sauntered onto the scene (by way of 2006) and kindly informed me that marriage is vital, marriage is critical, the maintenance of a marriage should be paramount in a family, divorce is a societal scourge, and BOOBS are one of the most crucial elements to a successful marriage. Or some such bullshit. I stopped listening to the good rabbi right about the time he revealed himself to be a sexist twit who regards wives as sex machines for their husbands. At least that’s what I got from him. But the one thing he said that makes sense is that healthy marriages are good things for everyone involved, which is why it’s so sad to see a marriage of long standing like Al and Tipper’s dissolve from some unseen ailment. And you wonder what you can do to prevent marital decay.
And then came Speidi.
Heidi Montag, a nice lady with misguided ideals of female beauty and enough money to execute said ideals upon herself, and her purported svengali of a husband are splitting up. Maybe. Or not. But she filed papers. Though does she even need to file papers? Wasn’t there some sort of scandal about them not really being married at all? Like it was a publicity stunt? And now this might be a publicity stunt? With lawyers. And tv cameras.
Is this an American marriage? Is this divorce American style? Is this how we portray marriage on television? This is what we witness as an ideal of young romance or partnership or life-long commitment? Maybe. If ratings are good.
We all do marriage differently. What works for me might not work for you. That’s ok. It’s good. We all work it out, fumbling our way from day to day, until death do us part, if all goes according to plan. It’s a partnership and we draw up the terms as we go with the understanding that it could all change in a blink. A child is born, an aging parent dies, a job is lost, a home is purchased, the days become years and we just do the best we can. We look to each other and gauge each other’s needs and adjust. Or try to. We ask for help. Or try to. We laugh, We cry. We trust.We love.
Because we didn’t walk into this for ratings. We won’t walk away for attention. Marriage should not be a tool for personal gain. It should not be a trick for public display. It is a decision to say to another person “I choose you” and you keep making that choice day after day.
You might stop making the choice. There are a million reasons it could happen. I think we all just hope we can keep choosing our spouse every day until there are no more days.
So, is it any wonder that I HATE the spectacle marriages of the Speidi ilk? That’s not what it’s all about. It’s a made-for-tv version of marriage and it’s whorish in its demand for attention to feed it. It establishes that idea that drama is what makes a relationship valid, that conflict is necessary and that it’s all disposable. It’s a bad freaking example for anyone watching it.
A side note: how is it that we allow Speidi to pollute marriage this way but we don’t allow loving same sex couples to have legal marriages in most states? I know a lesbian couple who had a commitment ceremony in the same church where I was married, performed by the same minister, but mine is legal and theirs is not. We live in the same suburb now, have kids the same age, work in similar jobs but for some stupid reason that no one can adequately explain to me, I get all kinds of protections and recognition of my marriage – the same ones afforded to stupid Speidi, too – but they do not. WTF? Seriously. WTF?
Al and Tipper did it pretty well for all those years. And they’re doing divorce pretty well too – quietly. With dignity. Not groping for attention or affirmation. They’re doing it together the way they did their marriage. Their ending, from what I can see, is sad but not disgusting. Maybe they just ran out of days together before they ran out of days.
I think we can all stand to take moments to look at our marriages and think about what we want from tomorrow. Then work toward tomorrow in a way that honors our spouse, our children, and our hopes for a lifetime.