With the exception of a few personal favorites, celebrity marriage and divorce isn’t a topic I watch closely. However, a few days ago, I was reading an article that referenced Jennifer Aniston’s Post-Brad interview with Vanity Fair. I wasn’t familiar with the piece, and (given the topic) I was curious. So, I did some searching and found the interview. I read it on my phone, in my kitchen, a few paragraphs at a time, while attempting to make my own dark chocolate almond butter cups (what an adventure that was!).
The interview captures Jen as a raw and real human being, finding her way after her world turned upside-down. She came across as wounded, yet hopeful. She was in the process of healing, of reconnecting with herself… of indulging in comfy couches. I thought her to be the embodiment of strength and dignity… a role model for all women scorned.
When asked about marriage, she said something interesting:
“It’s like the ebb and flow of every relationship,” Aniston says. “…What’s fantastic about marriage is getting through those ebbs and flows with the same person, and looking across the room and saying, ‘I’m still here. And I still love you.’ You re-meet, reconnect. You have marriages within marriages within marriages. That’s what I love…”
Marriages Within Marriages Within Marriages.
She’s right. Couples who stay married for decades actually live through multiple incarnations of their partnership. The union of two almost-broke twenty-somethings is a lot different than the marriage of middle-aged middle classers with kids in middle school… and that marriage is different from that of retirees spending their golden years in a condo near the beach.
A more extreme example: Kody and Meri Brown (from the show Sister Wives) had a “normal” monogamous marriage before transitioning to a plural marriage when Kody married Janelle. And those individual partnerships ended and were created in a new form with the addition of wives #3 and 4.
People change. So do relationships.
As minds open and the conversation broadens, there’s talk about “Starter Marriages” and structuring marriage to be a renewable contract. I like those ideas… but now I’m realizing that, in reality, this verbiage only serves to describe what happens in real life. Thinking back to my own scenario (the short-and-simple version):
I chose the marriage in which my husband and I lived in a small town and were both devoted to our careers. After some time, my husband wanted a different marriage: one in which we adopted more traditional gender roles while we raised children. I didn’t. Essentially, it was time to renegotiate the contract of our marriage, and we couldn’t come to an agreement. As a result, the partnership ended and we did not create a new one.
All of this further illustrates the fact that we (as a culture) need to STOP SHAMING PEOPLE WHO GET DIVORCED. Even those who celebrate their 75th anniversary have enjoyed/endured more than one marriage. That’s just the way it is.