I rarely pay attention to announcements related to celebrity divorces (or marriages for that matter). Not because celebrities aren’t people too, of course they are, but because their unions and dissolutions don’t seem as grounded in reality as those of us “real folks.” We all remember the insanity revolving around that last Britney Spears break-up, Jon and Kate Gosselin, I could go on and on. It’s unreal. But then the other day the big announcement came about Al and Tipper Gore. Wow! 40 years???? You’ve been together, through thick and thin, for 40 years and you’re calling it quits???? What’s up with that? I was stunned. Not because I think Al is some perfect husband or something, but how do you walk away from a commitment like that? My husband and I will be married 36 years this August and I can’t imagine throwing that investment away. So, like a good little writer (who needed an excuse not to work) I did a little research.
I found some astonishing info. According to the research compiled on “Rebuild/Recover” (a support site for the divorced), after 7 years in a marriage romance is not enough. After 20 the children are no longer the crutch. After 40 the grandchild phase is over. What are two people supposed to do then? Rebuild/Recover noted some psychologists as saying that couples need a new “glue” or a common purpose every time they transit to a new stage in their marriage cycle. Oh, my word, am I in trouble! I have never put that much thought into why my husband and I stay together. We stay because the idea of leaving is inconceivable. We love each other. We want to grow old together (and that’s happening way too fast)!
Other statistics I found in my search showed that Baby Boomers age 33-52 are 34% likely to get divorced. Ages 53-72, 37%. I have heard more than one news reporter say (in regards to the Gore announcement) that folks in their 60’s feel as though they have another 20 or 30 years to live and want to perhaps spend that time in a more fulfilling relationship with someone new. Okay. I can understand that…I guess. My only question is, why the heck did it take you so long to realize he or she wasn’t the one who fulfilled you??? Now, keep in mind that I’m not talking about relationships that end because someone cheated or committed some other heinous deed. There are plenty of good reasons people split up and I would never, ever presume to minimize those reasons.
Another statistic I found said that the younger you got married the more likely you would divorce later. And that women are initiating the divorce more often than men. Among the folks I know personally who have gone through a break-up that seems to be the case.
I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but this blows me away. All nasty business aside, what makes two intelligent, nice people decide after however many years that they’re done? Is this why some folks like to point fingers at romance writers and proclaim that we are misleading the women who read our books? Is there no such thing as a storybook ending? A happily ever after?
Well, I once knew a gorgeous redhead who married a tall, dark and handsome man when she was only 20 and he was 21. He was a soldier and they married rather hastily while he was home on leave. Two years later their first child was born and there were significant problems, but all turned out well in time. Later three more children came along. This hardworking, never-give-up couple survived the separation caused by war; they suffered financial ruin when many other farmers in the country lost all that they had worked for their entire lives; they endured the ugliness and misery of infidelity; they fought valiantly to save a child from drugs and mental illness and, though they never knew, their undying love and God’s blessing saved that child; and like many other senior citizens, in their final years, they struggled to survive on a paltry social security annuity. But in the end, after almost 50 years of marriage, they still clung to each other…still loved each other. My mother patiently and lovingly remained at my father’s side while he slowly died of a ruthless cancer. And for the years she lived after his death, I would sometimes come home to find she had pulled out the letters he’d written to her while he was serving our country in World War II. She was lost without him because she loved him, as he loved her, in spite of their weakness…in spite of their stupid mistakes…and in spite of the curve balls life threw their way more often than not.
Now that is a storybook ending. And though I am far from perfect, as is my darling husband, I cannot imagine spending one day of life with anyone else. I do want to grow old with him and if he goes first, I will be there with him until he takes his last breath—as I know he would be for me. This is the model I use for my storybook endings. They’re messy sometimes and rarely any where near perfect, but they always happen. Tell me about your favorite real life storybook ending or one from your favorite read. One lucky commenter will win a copy of ANYWHERE SHE RUNS!