Not to keep piling on Mr. and Mrs. Gore -- whom, as Billy noted, we should be rooting for -- but this seems to demonstrate the kind of attitude that led to the culture of divorce in America.
Speaking with Matt Lauer on Today Wednesday, psychologist Judith Sills said the couple may have found that disparate interests have pushed them apart.
“It’s troubling because we believed their narrative, that you could marry at 16 and basically live happily ever after,” she said. “That was their romantic story, and we were invested in that story.”
But the Gores may look at their split as an exciting new opportunity rather than just a sad end of a life spent together, she added. “It’s sad that it can’t go on forever, but it’s courageous to say, ‘I am stepping onto the stage myself and I’ve made a choice to let go of the hand I’ve been holding for 40 years.’ ”
Sills added it is wrong to look at a 40-year marriage as a failure. “The fact that we judge marriages as a success or failure by divorce seems false to me,” she said. “The truth is, you have many marriages that in 40 years, you can have 25 years that are beautiful, and at the end of it, the life simply goes out of it.
“Then you make a different decision. [We shouldn’t] judge it as a failure or success like a football game.”
There are myriad ways in which these statements reflect the societal devaluing of marriage, but perhaps the most damaging is the utter lack of a sense of tragedy when a marriage is ended. Divorce becomes simply another stage of life -- and an admirable one to take, at that. But deciding to "let go of the hand I've been holding for 40 years" can only be considered courageous if personal satisfaction and self-worth are the greatest virtues.
How much more beautiful is it to keep those hands held together for 3, 4, 30, 40 years, even if the entire world seems determined to pull them apart.