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Thursday, June 3, 2010

I can’t believe it’s been almost three weeks since my last post. Humble apologies for the long absence. Things have been a bit hectic around here. Truthfully, more than a bit. I’m working on a tandem post to my previous one (can you remember back that far) about the truth in tension. Hopefully it’s coming soon. In the mean time a headline caught my eye today. Here’s the Washington Post headline (click headline for full article):

Al and Tipper Gore's sad love story: Where do we begin . . . to express our sadness?

Even if you abhor Al’s politics (like I do), you had to admire the seemingly model marriage the he and Tipper shared. Clearly they were in love, even after many years of marriage. They supported each other through good times and bad. And, as The Post article put it, they were the couple to incite jealousy, “The pair who make you nudge your husband and say, ‘See, I want that.’ “

The article then poses this question: “Hasn't the finish line been crossed by the time you reach 40 years together?”

I don’t pretend to know the inner working of the Gore’s relationship, but I wonder if that isn’t exactly the kind of thinking that ends up taking down a long-lasting marriage like theirs. You see, there is only one marriage “finish line” and that is the death of your spouse. Yes, I understand that statistically, after 40 years, less than 1% of marriages end in divorce, but this is not a mathematical question, it’s a mind-set question.

In many ways their story is our story: they were high school sweethearts, they had counter-balancing personalities and each saw the value the other brought to their relationship, they occasionally did a bit too much PDA, and they were looked to by others as an example marriage.

The dissolution of Al and Tipper’s relationship challenges me to again renew my commitment to never mentally cross the finish line in my marriage. I must never take my sweet wife or her love for granted, assume that I know all there is to know about her, or treat her in any way that disregards the fact that we are on an ever-continuing journey together. I must realize that a perfect marriage is to be continually sought after but is never actually fully attained. There’s always more.

Stories like this can cause one of several reactions. It can cause you to lose faith in marriage as an institution. It can cause you to doubt and fear for your own marriage. Or it can stir up your sense of resolve, causing you to work toward making every year of your marriage stronger and better than the year before.

What reaction does this story provoke in you?


Lori said...

My prevailing reaction to the Gore's story is sadness. It makes me wonder where, on a scale of importance, did they (privately) place their relationship, and what did they do to nurture it.

I like your phrase: "... this is not a mathematical question, it's a mind-set question." I agree with you. Marriage is not about statistics, it's about focus.

Thanks for posting!

Scott said...

Lori, for me it was sadness combined with disappointment. It seems there are so few "model" marriages, especially ones with such a high profilie, that it's a shame when one comes apart like this.

You are right - focus is so important! Thanks for your comment.

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