The other day when I first read about Al and Tipper Gore’s separation one of my first emotions was sadness. Since then I have been pondering why I feel that way. I don’t know Al and Tipper. They are not part of my family, nor are they my close friends, nor in church leadership that influences me. We are on very different ends of the political spectrum. Yet, in spite of all the above I feel sad. I ask myself why it should even matter to me what they do in their marriage. Here is what I have come up with so far.
When anyone gets divorced or separated, and especially anyone who is claiming they just grew apart and not some great transgression on the part of either party, I think it weakens us as a society. There is security in knowing that many in society really do value life-long marriages and the commitments they made.
I think about the Gores’ grandchildren and the sadness and confusion that will come in their lives when their grandparents are not together. What does that tell them about the values that matter most?
For myself, we went through a separation at 17 years in our marriage and we are approaching 25 years of marriage. Whenever I hear of a marriage that has lasted a lot longer than ours breaking up, I wonder what might happen to us in another few years. I do get more determined to keep working on our marriage, even in the good times.
I also feel sad for the Gores themselves. They have been through so many highs and lows in their lives, achieved what few people have achieved and yet in what should be their twilight years of enjoying life and grandchildren they will be reinventing life for each of them. I have been around enough separated and divorced people, even ones who thought that they had a so called “good divorce”, to know that there is just a lot of emotional struggle and turmoil even in the best of situations. My hope is that during their separation they get help and recapture whatever they have lost in their relationship. I hope they do it for themselves, for their family and for society.
Below are two articles from the secular media that I just read after I wrote the above. It’s encouraging that even the secular media, which in general is not pro traditional marriage, finds some sadness about the news of the Gores. I think the dream of life-long marriage goes much deeper into our national psyche than many want to admit.