Pray for Saintly Intercession
Donna Freitas, Beliefnet relationships contributor and author of "Becoming a Goddess of Inner Poise: Spirituality for the Bridget Jones in All of Us":
If Britney and Kevin were to call the love-help-hotline and I happened to answer the phone, I'd immediately advise them to consider asking for divine intervention in a number of areas. Though Britney isn't Catholic (and she wears the Kabbalah red string popularized by Madonna), a little saintly intercession might be in order.
There is, of course, the ever-popular St. Anthony of Padua, finder of lost things. Perhaps a quick devotion to Anthony would help Kevin find the wedding ring that seems ever-so-conspicuously absent when he's partying down in Las Vegas. I'd also advise a little word with St. Angela of Foligno, the patron saint who helps guard against sexual temptation, again for Kevin, to help him resist those lap dances he's rumored to be enjoying on a regular basis.
For Britney? A talk with Rita of Cascia, patron saint who protects against loneliness, ought to be on the menu. This could help Britney face her dismay regarding Kevin's apparent preference for spending copious amounts of time with his guy friends in lieu of her. It's too bad for Britney and Kevin that the Catholic Church dropped Valentine as an official saint back in the '60s, since his specialty was happy marriages. Nevertheless, the confused couple could reach out to Sts. Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi, recently canonized by the pope as models of married life.
Follow Jewish Marital Laws
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Beliefnet relationships columnist and author of "Kosher Sex" and "Kosher Adultery":
Britney, there is simply no hope for you without a radical personality makeover. You are an embarrassment, plain and simple. You have helped to ruin the female recording industry and make it into cheesy soft porn. It's no wonder, therefore, that your relationships are so bad--the men you're with have no real respect for you. You are not a lady, so you attract womanizers rather than gentlemen. So here is my advice for your marriage:
1. Cover up. Put your clothes back on. Rediscover modesty, which will in turn make you more feminine and ladylike. Also, your modesty will make your husband less bored with your body, and he will lust after you more. (So will the public.)
2. Publicly repudiate your semi-nude modeling, which will in turn cause your husband to respect you more, as he sees you are becoming more serious about life.
3. Insist that your husband be completely involved in the lives of his children. By making your husband into a better man, you will endear him to you.
4. As Jews have done for three thousand years, practice a period of sexual separation in your marriage for 12 days out of every month, five days of menstruation and seven days thereafter. By doing so you both teach your husband not to relate to you as only a sexual object, and you allow both of your libidos to rebuild so that your sexual reunion is hot rather than lukewarm.
5. Bring G-d into your life. Go to church, start praying, both you and your husband together. Holiness and sanctity in your married life is essential to knitting you together both as bone of one bone, flesh of one flesh, and spirit of one spirit.
Throw Away the Polaroid
John D. Spalding, Beliefnet columnist and editor of SoMAreview.com:
My youth pastor used to say that the best marriage advice he ever received was, "If you're going to fight, at least fight naked and take lots of pictures." I would advise Britney and Kevin not to listen to my youth pastor.
Ellie Kay, best-selling Christian writer and author of "The New Bride Guide"
When I married my husband, he promised me I would "see the world" but what he showed me was five babies in seven years and eleven moves in thirteen years! Our new union was set up for conflict but I think that Britney Spears and Kevin Federline have us beat in terms of external pressures on their marriage!
The best advice I could give Britney would be for her to go back to the faith of her youth--it may not have been a perfect religion (there isn't one), it may not be chic in Hollywood circles (but since when did trendy equal functional?), but it's the mystical filling that will make her heart whole.
Britney and Kevin desperately need spiritual counsel if their marriage is to survive--and it's not found in a psychotherapist's office. I think that a well-grounded, spiritual "mentor couple" would be their most effective source of the genuine, practical help. This older and wiser couple would walk them through the spiritual basis for conflict resolution, balance in their relationship, and staying connected when they're apart. My husband and I (who live north of Los Angeles) would be willing to serve in this role.
There is one more unique feature that the right spiritual mentor couple would need to possess--they can't be Britney fans. She already has enough "yes" people around her. It is essential that she and Kevin open themselves up to someone who isn't impressed with their celebrity, who would give them spiritual truth in "agape" love--a love that doesn't seek its own, one that is not self-serving or unkind and one that hopes and believes all things. Every marriage deserves a fighting chance, and this couple needs to be brave enough to humble themselves to look for practical help in spiritual places.
Ask the Hard Questions
Diane Goldner, spiritual energy healer and author of "How People Heal":
Britney and Kevin need to put each other first in their hearts. [Before marriage] they needed to do some soul-searching and ask: Is this the person I truly want to be married to? Am I ready to be married? Marriage is a sacrament. It calls forth everything in one's soul. Hopefully, they've already found that out.
If they were coming to me for guidance and healing light, I would help them gain clarity and harmony and some inner peace. Working with people's subtle/spiritual energy connects them to their inner truth. If they were meant to stay together, things would get better for them. If not, they would know pretty quickly. I wish them the best. Marriage is always designed for our soul's highest growth. Wonderful. But not always easy.
Follow Madonna's Example
Paul Raushenbush, Beliefnet's "Pastor Paul" teen columnist:
Britney and Kevin, take a moment right now to be still. Together take a deep breath in, deep breath out, deep breath in, deep breath out. Now look at each other and decide if you really want to be married. If the answer is yes, then you need to stop the frenetic lives you have lived in public up to this point and focus on nurturing your relationship and establishing the routines of married life. Kevin, you have a tough role in this relationship because you assuredly feel overshadowed by the fame of your wife. Instead of being the wild bad boy, be the rock which Britney relies on while pursuing your own artistic and financial projects.
Britney, I suggest you once again use Madonna as your role model. Madonna is pursuing her spiritual quest and she seems to appear in the media only on her own terms. The result is that she comes across with a sense of dignity that you could use right now. While we heard a lot about your Christian faith when you broke big several years ago, it seems to have faded from your life. My guess is that you asked God to bless your marriage within your wedding. Take the time now to honor God by really loving one another as you vowed to do.
Enjoy Your Marriage
Ellen Leventry, frequent pop-culture contributor to Beliefnet:
When asked what spiritual marital advice I would give Britney and Kevin, I turned to my guide in these matters--my archive of Us Weekly, In Touch, and Star magazines. After many hours, I was able to discern... 1) Us Weekly has a much better copy editor than In Touch, and 2) I have no spiritual advice for the couple because this marriage isn't based on anything classified as spiritual, even though Britney often characterized her relationship as spiritual.
According to USA Today, the wedding ceremony proper lasted only five minutes. Other news sources reported that although there was a minister--unnamed--present, the line for the officiant's signature on the marriage license wasn't signed. Perhaps, not coincidentally, there were also matters of a prenuptial agreement that had to be dealt with, along with a deal for a People magazine exclusive.
The spiritual work that should have been done for this marriage should have been done before the wedding. I'm not a psychologist or a pastor, but I watch a lot of reality TV, which means I have a pretty good understanding of human nature and the psychobabble that goes with it. Britney is searching: searching for independence, higher meaning and the perfect hair color. But if you ask me, this marriage isn't about spirituality, it's about sperm.
Britney isn't being subtle about how much she wants a baby, and I don't think it's a coincidence that Federline is the father of two. Before Federline, Britney was associating with another dancer who had a pregnant significant other back at home. What we have here is the making of a classic Ricki Lake episode. You know the ones, where a teen girl says she wants to have a baby because she wants something to love her? It happens to child stars all the time, they have the adoration of millions of fans, but crave real love, at least according to all those VH1 specials.
For now, though, I'd say to Britney: Enjoy it. Heck, it's outlasted your first marriage by 5,705 hours. Don't fret about this baby thing. If you truly married Kevin to be with Kevin, spend a couple of years getting to know him and growing with him. Then add to the Britney brood. Then again, it's your prerogative.