“Al and Tipper Gore Separating After 40 Years of Marriage.”
The headline is here, there and everywhere accompanied by pictures or short videos of the much discussed (and rather awkward) kiss at the Democratic Convention in 2000. Pundits and insiders are expressing their shock and dismay about the couple’s parting ways and Tweeters are wondering with tongue in cheek who will take custody of the Internet.
Jokes aside, the Gores have a reputation as an ideal couple. Theirs has been described as genuine love story, marked by public displays of affection and romance, romance, romance.
So what happened? Fame and the distance that came as a result appears to be bubbling to the surface as one culprit.
But isn’t distance supposed to make the heart grow fonder?
I’m not sure what it takes for a marriage to last a lifetime. As a once-divorced, currently married woman I have a perspective but few answers.
And what does a lifetime look like? Forty years seems like a lot of time to devote to something to throw it all away. That said, living in a bad marriage is one of the most toxic, soul-deadening experiences one can endure. The stigma surrounding divorce that once existed in this country is all but gone – both in secular culture and in many faith circles. This poses an interesting dilemma for young people coming of age in this society. Is it possible to sustain a happy marriage for a lifetime? Should sustained happiness even be an expectation for marriage or does the expectation itself set marriages up for failure?