It's interesting to see how the dissolution of a high profile
marriage can affect the blogosphere. When news first broke that Al and
Tipper Gore were separating, the immediate reaction was shock. After 40-years of marriage,
really? The arc of the discussion has now taken commentators into dour
pessimism over the prospects of lifelong marriage. "Gore split puts focus
on late-stage divorces" reads a USA Today headline.
Its author surveys divorce attorneys and relationship counselors who've witnessed a noticeable rise in Baby Boomer divorces. The piece attributes the increase to "longer life spans, different generational expectations about marriage, and feelings about divorce, personal fulfillment and happiness." Whatever the case, the Gore separation seems to have soured pundits' outlook on lifelong matrimony.
Been So Naive Jeremy Helligar at True/Slant recalls some tough wisdom:
"Years ago — in 1994, to be exact — the late Barry White said something
to me during an interview that I’ll never forget... he made an
interesting observation about love and marriage. He said that we put
unreasonably high expectations on both. Sometimes they last forever, but
usually they don’t. And just because a romantic relationship doesn’t
survive until someone dies, doesn’t mean it’s a failure. In the end, we
should just enjoy what we have, and when it’s over, respect what we had.
The naive, idealistic 25-year-old romantic that I was at the time had
never thought of it that way before... These are questions I revisited
in my head when I read the news that former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore
and his wife Tipper are separating."
Is Doomed Mady Dychtwald, the author of Influence, a book about women's
increasing economic power writes: "Is it possible that Al and Tipper Gore may
be indicative of a trend that is about to be unleashed? After all, when
most of us say, 'I Do,' do we expect 'til death do us part' to translate
into forty, fifty, or sixty years of marriage? Is that what we signed
up for? How Does Any Marriage Last a Lifetime? Frankly, most of us
probably don't think about it like that. If we're lucky, we fall in
love, have a family and never fully grasp the idea that we may live well
into our eighties or nineties and potentially be married for as long or
longer than most humans lived just a century ago."
- I Guess Marriages Just Have an Expiration Date, sighs Susan Gadoua at Psychology Today: "What if marriages have life spans just like all living creatures do? What if we took away the judgment that their marriage 'failed' and saw it as just being over? ...Many of us are so focused on keeping up appearances and worrying about what others will think or say that we don't stop to truly evaluate what we need or want."
- No One Should Have to 'Stick it Out,' writes Stephanie Gertler at The Huffington Post: "I could never understand the notion of married people needing to 'stick it out.' For whom? For the sake of the children? I am a firm believer that children of any age know when their parents' marriage is not a "good" one ... that growing up in an unhappy "intact" home is worse than growing up in one that's 'broken.' Do we stick it out for our extended families to spare them the shame, the explanations, the angst? At its essence, what makes a marriage differ from a romance? Isn't marriage a romantic relationship that became licensed?"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.