June 9, 2010

"The Gores have handled their decision to separate with dignity and grace. In doing so, they have given us all a great gift..."

Sally Quinn smarms it up revoltingly.
Separation and divorce are supposed to be bad. Marriage is a sacrament to many, a promise and a moral commitment to God and each other....
This is published in the WaPo's wretched "On Faith" section.
Not only should we respect their decision, but in some ways we should rejoice in it.....

They were together for 40 years, raised four kids, shared a lot of pain and a lot of joy, they have had an extraordinarily exciting life together and they should be proud of that. But people change, even those who are deeply committed to each other.....

People change and grow in different directions. That's seems to be what happened to the Gores....
That's seems to be it all right. I rejoice in your careful writing on this matter of deep and possibly sacred import.
There are those who will argue that marriage is a commitment that should be honored no matter what. That separating or divorcing because you are not totally fulfilled is egotistical or selfish. But what are you committing to when you get married? An institution? A spoken obligation?

Or are you committing yourself to a full partnership where each person is equal, mutually respectful and in love?

If that is the case, then Al and Tipper Gore made the right decision 40 years ago. And they made the right decision now.
But look, Sally, here's something new to massage into the squishy goo of your analysis:
The eldest daughter of Al and Tipper Gore, Karenna, has been separated from her husband, Andrew Schiff, for a couple months....

Karenna is 36. Andrew is 44. They married in 1997 and have three young children.
Rejoice? Great gift? Dignity and grace? Pride in the past shared life?

102 comments:

kent said...

Al Gore can now marry longtime paramour, Gaia.

t-man said...

I understood that I was committing myself to a person, not a partnership, 'til death do us part.

I suppose it really depends upon the meaning of the word "death".

t-man said...

Also, I had to check the source, but you are correct, the Washington Post story on Karenna Gore says "for a couple months." Are there no editors there?

Also, we are informed that Karenna and her husband are "seeking counseling." What does that mean? After several months, they still can't find a counselor?

shoutingthomas said...

The really sacred part of marriage is two guys scewing each other up the butt.

Two mommies for everybody!

I'll be totally commited to you until I don't want to be commited any longer.

Groovy!

prairie wind said...

Where's the Enquirer? They should be on this story.

AJ Lynch said...

When she opens her mouth or taps on the keyboard, Quinn proves she is not too swift.

The Crack Emcee said...

Sally Quinn is the worst kind of scum - absolutely the worst.

The Crack Emcee said...

"I'll be totally commited to you until I don't want to be commited any longer."

Exactly.

Mike said...

"Sally Quinn smarms it up revoltingly."

That is absolutely perfect. Well done and thank you.

The Crack Emcee said...

That Sally Quinn writes a column "On Faith" tells me everything I need to know about the subject.

Mike said...

The first comment on the WaPo article is great too...

"What is so graceful about splitting? If Gores were so graceful would they not have stayed together? For the sake of grace at the very least."

kent said...

That Sally Quinn writes a column "On Faith" tells me everything I need to know about the subject.

She wasn't the Posts's first choice, in all honesty... but: Anton LeVey turned the gig down, and H.P. Lovecraft was already dead.

DADvocate said...

I'm confused. Who is the new savior, Barry or Al? At whose feet should I prostrate myself?

A.Worthing said...

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Look, this is how I have come to see divorce. On one hand, Jesus comes out pretty strongly against divorce in general, but on the other hand, there is the story of my sister. She was beaten by her first husband. She is now married to an absolutely wonderful man. I literally only wish she had met him sooner. I look at the picture of the newly-formed family (now 7 years ago) and I think to myself there is no way God was not happy when my sister left her ex, and when she found her new husband. There is no way God isn’t glad my niece finally has the father she deserves.

And the way I reconcile it comes down to this. A divorce should be seen almost like an intentional killing of a person. Almost every time an intentional killing happens, a crime has been committed. But its not always the person doing the killing who is responsible. When a person comes at you with a knife, and you pull a gun and kill your attacker, you have intentionally killed him, but you aren’t the criminal; the criminal is the attacker.

I feel the same way about marriage. If a man or a woman is forced into divorce by the behavior of another, then who “murdered” the marriage? Not the person who files for divorce, but the person who made marriage intolerable. And I don’t limit that to extreme situations like abuse. My brother, for instance, had a nutjob for a wife. He isn’t perfect, but perfect wouldn’t have made a difference. No matter what he did, their marriage was doomed, because of her own psychological damage that she couldn’t get past. And hey he is remarried, even has a family, now, with an absolutely wonderful woman.

But if it is “no one’s” fault, then guess what? Its EVERYONE’S fault.

So I am watching Al and Tipper throw away this marriage, murder it. And people think its wonderful because it isn’t ugly. They are exactly wrong. Its horrible precisely because it isn’t ugly. Not that I have to see the ugliness, but hearing positively that it is an amicable break up, is horrible. If they can get along enough to divorce without acrimony, they should f---ing stay married. My only solace is that in truth they really do hate each other, really do have pain and they are just keeping it from us. Because otherwise this is an arbitrary destruction and that is horrible in my mind.

I know that puts me greatly out of step with a lot of people. And I am not even sure that this should be how the law should see it, although I do question how much we really benefitted from moving to “no fault” divorce. But morally, that is how I see it.

Fred4Pres said...

Al Gore can now marry longtime paramour, Al Gore.

Flexo said...

Disposable marriage. How very 1970s in her thinking and justifications. In the end, after all, it is just a piece of paper. And everyone knows when you say, "til death do us part," that you are spouting BS and really mean, "until I get bored and throw you away like trash."

I had hoped that society was moving away from such poisonous thinking.

No, marriage is not merely a (temporary) commitment, not merely an obligation (for now, complete with expiration date stamped on it). And it most certainly is not shackles and chains.

Marriage -- true marriage -- is a state of being. It is not merely something you do, it is something you are, like being a "mother" or a "father." It is not a partnership, a business arrangement, it is an existential bond. That whole "two become one" talk is not a bunch of flowery poetry, but has actual meaning and import.

And that is true even if the husband and wife each have, for all forty years of their marriage, a juvenile, utilitarian, and consumerist conception of what marriage is.

This is no cause for celebration, no cause for rejoicing. This is only sad and pathetic, and corrosive that people like clueless Quinn would promote and advocate such.

Fred4Pres said...

A.Worthing. Well said.

David said...

I always wondered why Tipper seemed so surprised when Al planted that big kiss on her when he got the Democratic nomination for President. Now I think we know.

If we thought it was out of character for him, imagine what she thought.

Tipper. Being kissed by her husband on International TV. As a political ploy.

miller said...

Well, yeah. You should divorce after 40 years because you are tired of the whole thing. I mean, it's not like you promised or anything.

Can we trust anything he says? I'm starting to believe he didn't really invent the Internet after all.

c3 said...

Ms. Quinn is sincere, inclusive and open.


ALL MARRIAGES involve two people who ARE NOT the same two people who got married two, ten, twenty, let alone forty years previously. The ability to accept and adapt to that reality is a core feature of a successful marriage.

Sixty Grit said...

They should have gone hiking on a mountain top.

pm317 said...

Sally Quinn was a go go girl. Writing as an intellectual is not her strong suit. As a matter of fact even just plain writing is not her strong suit, as you highlighted.

Lincolntf said...

Al Gore could be caught on tape smoking crack, beating his wife and kicking puppies off a cliff and the WaPo would call it "showing us all how to adapt to the stresses of the 21st Century".

It's a sick symbiosis between the media that keeps people stupid and the politicians who need stupid people.

ricpic said...

What strikes the average person as hyper and forced prose on Quinn's part probably is neither. An inside the buttercup establishment type like Quinn really does rejoice in the great gift the lives of the inside the buttercup establishment Gores have gifted us lesser breeds with -- simply by being what they are and doing as they do.

Matt Brown said...

I guess for the Gores, "'til death do us part," meant "'til the death of our relationship occurs, and then we shall part." And I have to say, for an article written in the "On Faith" section, there's barely a mention of God's name. Only once that I saw, at the beginning of the article.

Balfegor said...

What I don't understand is the entire point of divorcing, at that age, unless they each think they will find someone else they would prefer to marry. Not impossible, I suppose -- Althouse and Mead are sort of in the same age bracket, after all -- but we haven't heard any hint of that in this whole matter. Gore is extremely wealthy, so there shouldn't be any difficulty in maintaining separate bedrooms, separate households, and coming together, with the rest of the family, for weddings, birthdays, funerals, and all the other family ceremonies. Being married doesn't mean you have to live together all the time, after all, or even sleep in the same bed when you do -- there's lots of families where the husband gets sent off or sent around to do his work far away, while the wife maintains the household (and in modern times, the reverse is also possible). Honestly, I just don't understand it. Well, no matter.

Kirk Parker said...

miller,

"Can we trust anything he says? "

Jeez, it took this to make you wonder? :-)

Paul said...

Sally Quinn is going to find everything the Gores do filled with dignity and grace. Whether they stay married or get divorced, whether Al faces up to the unraveling of AGW or continues to rage at the skeptics, he continues to give us a great gift. Because you know what? He should have been president instead of Bush. So there.

Also, Ben Bradlee and his second wife gave us all a great gift when they separated with dignity and grace so he could marry Sally Quinn, 20 years his junior, and promote her career.

The Crack Emcee said...

"They'll hurt you, and desert you,..."

- James Taylor, You've got a friend - sang so sweetly

edutcher said...

I was going to mention Ms. Quinn's marital career, but Paul beat me to it.

OTOH, there's this line: "Not only should we respect their decision"...

Well what the Hell are WE going to do otherwise, hunt them both down and super glue them together for Eternity?

Anyone who wants to know why network news has been sinking buy the bow for years should consider the fact Ms. Quinn was going to be one of their rising stars 25 years ago.

DADvocate said...

Just remembered this: My ultra-liberal, left wing, commie pinko sister gave my 85 year old mother "Joined at the Heart" to read. Two weeks later the Gores separate. Priceless.

Milwaukee said...

I deeply regret being divorced. Thank goodness for Vatican II and annulments. I married too young, and too far away from home, family and friends. But, marriage is hard work, and needs the support of families and community to succeed. I would agree that there are some who will find everything Al does filled with dignity and grace, including furthering the lie of global warming for his own aggrandizement and financial benefit. The press hid the marital problems of the Edwards from us, for our own good. Is there anything here that's being hidden from us?

p.s. I met my ex at the Hotel California on a September 11th. Bad omens, both of those!

Synova said...

"And people think its wonderful because it isn’t ugly. They are exactly wrong. Its horrible precisely because it isn’t ugly."

Well said.

"I'll be totally committed to you until I don't want to be committed any longer."

Exactly.

And I still have my suspicions about estate planning.

mishu said...

Al, with his new found eco-celebrity, must have found some younger, granola eatin', tree huggin' tail. That's got to be it.

Ashenbaum said...

Precisely what Paul said - somehow, even something as mundane as a separation is a "gift" from the Goracle to the benighted masses. Geez, every time this guy visits the bathroom I suppose we should praise him for returning part of his sacred essence to Eywa.

former law student said...

Regarding Karenna Schiff: we were warned as children that mixed marriages seldom worked out, and that we should stick to dating members of our own faith. I hope this is not a bad omen for Chelsea Clinton's impending marriage.

ic said...

Want to bet? Within a year, or possibly 6 months, Al will marry his Sanford-nesque "Love of his Life" whom he happened to acquaint with in his numerous Green billionaire fests, (mind you, never any hanky panky!)

Face it, Mrs. Gore has put up with the blowhard for most of her life, it's more likely for us to find a billion dollars on the street than for her to suddenly discover she couldn't stand him any more.

William said...

I'm with Balfegor. They have lost far more than they can possibly gain. Their reputation was in some ways based on the stability of their marriage, and they certainly advertised themselves as exemplars of domestic happiness. Now it all looks like a sham, and who knows what else about them.... The greatest luxury is not a divorce, but a white marriage. They were wealthy enough to afford such a marriage.

Big Mike said...

I always thought that the WaPo created the "On Faith" column specifically to stick it to Christians.

Count me among the atheists who think it's tacky to stick it to any religion.

jeff said...

"In doing so, they have given us all a great gift "

Now I feel bad. I didnt get them anything.

I liked Quinn's daughter, way back in the day. I guess that's something. Oh my Lord, she's 51 years old. Time marches on.

jeff said...

and yeah, I know. No relation. But Im bored with Sally.

Trooper York said...

It's very clear why Al and Tipper divorced.

Kirstin said...

"Regarding Karenna Schiff: we were warned as children that mixed marriages seldom worked out, and that we should stick to dating members of our own faith."

Does Karenna practice a faith?

Pat Patterson said...

I missed the article but in a case of being a victim fate I did watch Sally Quinn on C-SPANS Afterwords last weekend. She interviewed Stephen Prothero, author of Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know—And Doesn't. She manfully questioned the professor of religion but audibly gulped and stammered when he mentioned that it was Europe that was out of step with the world not the other way around in regards to being nations of faith.

I'm sure that any card-carrying nuanced thinker would look upon his observation and wonder what is the world coming too.

kent said...

It's very clear why Al and Tipper divorced.

POOH BEAR [admiringly]: "Now, that's what I call a Hundred Acre Wood!" ;)

grichens said...

Her column deriding Hill for sticking with Bill makes for a refreshing balance.

Stephen said...

Reminds me of the wedding from Flash Gordon (wow, old!):

- Do you, Ming the Merciless,
ruler of the universe, take this Earthling, Dale Arden, to be your Empress of the hour?

- Of the hour, yes.
- Do you promise to use her?
Not to blast her into space ....
<*annoyed look from Ming*>
until you grow weary of her?

- I do.

Heh. Where do we find people with such grace?

bobby said...

Spend twenty or thirty years married to someone who changes over the years, who grows distant and hostile and whose presence becomes something to avoid if at all possible.

Raise the three or four kids well and fairly and intelligently, and see them off to start their own lives knowing that they've become good and secure people in their own right, due in no small part to their parents' efforts, and then listen as they wonder aloud to you why you remain married to someone who is now so disconnected from you, so disrespectful of you, so competent in causing you pain, seemingly just for the fun and empowerment.

Then read some of these arguments about how you've made a gawd-ratified promise to humanity that would be broken by leaving someone who so obviously would be untouched by your absence.

Read how some believe that breaking your handcuffs and becoming free threatens principles central to their philosophies.

Judge me once you've shown there's some basis for me to think your judgment deserves an audience. So far, not so much.

E Buzz said...

I am going to take a guess that Ms. Quinn, who has such a soft spot for those sexy Cubans, was not nearly as charitable when a Republican got divorced.

I don't even have to bother looking, I know it's there.

A.Worthing said...

Er, left out an important word in my diatribe:

> My only solace is that MAYBE in truth they really do hate each other, really do have pain and they are just keeping it from us. Because otherwise this is an arbitrary destruction and that is horrible in my mind.

(added word in caps)

Sorry, my mind had been on a cold boot this morning.

A.Worthing said...

Bobby

Not to personalize it but i thik this passage is revealing:

> Spend twenty or thirty years married to someone who changes over the years, who grows distant and hostile and whose presence becomes something to avoid if at all possible.

You don't get there in a day. it takes 20 or 30 years to screw things up that bad, and you have at least 10-15 years to work at fixing it.

We really need to reimplant the idea of committment in this culture.

Balfegor said...

re: bobby:

so disrespectful of you, so competent in causing you pain, seemingly just for the fun and empowerment.

I dare say cruelty would be perfectly satisfactory grounds for a divorce. But I'm not aware that anyone is suggesting such a thing of either Al Gore or Tipper Gore.

orbicularioculi said...

Do ya think it's possible that "Algore" has a babe 30 years his junior hidin' out in the woods?

Wonder what BJ Clinton has to say about this. His words of wisdom in this situation would be classical.

orbicularioculi said...

Do ya' think ole Mr. AGW has a babe 30 years his junior in the wings?

What would be BJ Clinton's words of wisdom regarding this tragic breakup of a 40 year magic carpet ride?

sol said...

"Separation and divorce are supposed to be bad. Marriage is a sacrament to many, a promise and a moral commitment to God and each other..."

Marriage to Al Gore is the same as time spent in Purgatory. Karenna Gore has paid for her sins, she has earned her divorce, and if she keep her soul clean she will spend eternity in Heaven with God and his Angels.

Jeff said...

Not everyone signs up for "til death do you part". Mormons sign up for "time and all eternity" in their temples. Like in other religions, not everybody lasts until death even.

My wife's parents were married for 65 years, mine were married for 60. I'm at 34 and counting. My wife really likes counting :)

Synova said...

"I dare say cruelty would be perfectly satisfactory grounds for a divorce. But I'm not aware that anyone is suggesting such a thing of either Al Gore or Tipper Gore."

Exactly.

Instead we're told that the fact that nothing at all is actually wrong and everyone likes each other very well, that this is a great gift.

TMink said...

This and the following two posts seem to have the hidden theme of "Things that make God mad.

Trey

cf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Milwaukee said...

Reason #4 for writing poetry: It's cold and lonely here, a) without you or b) with you.

Then there's the Wendy Coop poem: Loss

The afternoon he moved out was terrible,
That evening she went through hell:
His absence wasn't a problem,
But the cork screw had gone as well.

(My apologies if I'm not perfect in my recitation.) Perhaps they are just recognizing a death that happened a long time ago. Unless we have a personal stake in the outcome, financial or emotional, perhaps we should let them get on with their lives without us. Divorce is unfortunate, but sometimes necessary, and should be avoided as much as possible. Unless it's really, really needed.

Russ Tibbitts said...

"There are those who will argue that marriage is a commitment that should be honored no matter what."

She's learned pretty well (from the President?) how to use that straw man technique.

Joe Giles said...

Quinn is perpetually confused.

But I heard she throws a nice party.

Citizen Grim said...

"But what are you committing to when you get married?"

If I'm not mistaken, I think the traditional Christian understanding of marriage vows is that they symbolize the covenant between Christ and the church. Which is why divorce is considered a very, very serious issue from the traditional Christian perspective, because of what it (symbolically) says about the fidelity between Christ and the church.

JM Hanes said...

A celebrity divorce! The perfect vehicle for prurience and pontification.

No one knows what really goes on in other people's marriages; more often than not, even husbands and wives, themselves, will disagree on "root causes."

I'd just suggest that, like the Constitution, marriage is not a suicide pact.

LarsPorsena said...

Since the Algore just bought a swell new beach pad in CA, I think we can start the countdown for Malibu Barbie's move-in date..after a decent interval of course.

but then..in this case..what is the decent interval?

Jake said...

Ann, didn't you and your first husband get divorced when you still had little kids? Just sayin'...

Flexo said...

I think the traditional Christian understanding of marriage vows is that they symbolize the covenant between Christ and the church.

Human marriage is indeed a model of the spousal relationship between Jesus the Bridegroom and His Bride, the Church. But this is more than a symbol, more than a covenant -- that Christ and the Church are One Body is a mystical reality. Their being One, this bond between Christ and Church is permanent and unbreakable. He could no more "divorce" the Church than He could divorce Himself.

To be sure, both human marriage, and the spousal union of Christ and Church, are in the image of the Trinity, a loving communion of persons in one being.

c3 said...

I'd just suggest that, like the Constitution, marriage is not a suicide pact.

Gee, I must have missed that part in the piece. I didn't notice that Al had threatened suicide.

Joe said...

I threw up reading several comments here. All I can say is "Judge not that ye be not judged." (That doesn't mean to not judge, but be damn careful about the criteria you use to judge since you will be judged the same way.)

Why do so many people elevate the "institution" of marriage so far as to disrespect the individuals involved? I find the idea that marriage is so sacred it can't be broken no matter what its true state is to be immoral and disgusting. Regardless of how important marriage is, people as individuals are still more important.

For example, if two people have grown so far apart that they are barely even roommates, why should they stay together? What's the point?

A.Worthing said...

Joe

> Why do so many people elevate the "institution" of marriage so far as to disrespect the individuals involved? I find the idea that marriage is so sacred it can't be broken no matter what its true state is to be immoral and disgusting.

Has one single person said “no divorce at all?” any of us?

Smells like a straw man to me.

> For example, if two people have grown so far apart that they are barely even roommates, why should they stay together? What's the point?

First, because that is the difference between marriage and just living together. What is the point of calling it a marriage if you don’t at least give it a good go at “till death do you part?” Of course genuinely good reasons for divorce occur, but “we just grew apart?” give me a f---ing break.

And you act like as if that occurrence is blameless, which is also bull. If you work at the commitment, it doesn’t happen.

Seriously, we have to learn to take this institution seriously. If you aren’t willing to commit, then don’t bother. Just “live together” and then no one is under any illusions about it.

A.Worthing said...

A little apropos dialogue from South Park:

"Randy: [Y]our mother and I still care about you and your sister. But we just don't like being around each other any more.

"Stan: Well, I don't like being around my sister anymore; does that mean I can leave her, too?

"Randy: Well, no, because you're a family! You just can't leave family; you have to stick with family, no matter what.

"Stan: But you and Mom are family; how come you can just split up?

"You know what I think? I think that when you and Mom got married, you became family. And now that you are, you shouldn't be able to leave her anymore than I can leave my sister."

Obviously exceptions have to be made. that is true with famiy, too. if dad is hitting the kids, the kids shouldn't be with the dad. But we should strive for that idea as much as practical, and not give excuses to people who break up their family just because they "grew apart." sheesh.

Jake said...

Annie,
You fashion yourself as a public person. Lets have fun poking at your first marriage.

Annie, were you caught cheating on your first husband or was he cheating on you?

Lets start a poll!

Joe said...

A,

You're the one creating the straw man. I never accused anyone of saying there can never be divorce--you simply misinterpreted my statement and then shot it down. That is the very definition of straw man.

Moreover, you're the one who actually said "A divorce should be seen almost like an intentional killing of a person." Isn't that more than a little extreme?

Again, as people get older they change. Sometimes a couples changes are more or less in sync, sometimes they diverge wildly. Any institution that is deemed so important that its members lose free agency is an institution that deserves no respect.

Flexo said...

Basically what you are saying Joe is that we should revel in our resentments and disgust for each other and give in to them; we should treat the other, not as a respected person, but as a piece of refuse to be tossed aside at will.

But there is a better way.

The better way is to set aside those resentments. To set aside the dislikes. And make no mistake -- in any long-term relationship, there will be resentments. We are all flawed human beings, we are all imperfect and tempted to begin to hate that which only yesterday we said we loved.

The better way is not to give in to the worst of ourselves. The better way is to do that which we pledged to do -- LOVE. And love means "for better and for worse." Love means setting aside one's self-centeredness and selfishness, it means a mindset of giving, not taking. Love means reconciliation.

The way of treating marriage as disposable, of treating it like a temporary arrangement of convenience, the way of having a divorce mentality does not bring happiness, it only ensures conflict and resentment. It only makes things worse.

To be sure, maybe there needs to be more discernment before one vows to give his life to the other, maybe there needs to be a more serious consideration of what one is doing before the marriage, but having once entered into that state, having chosen to love the other (and love IS a choice, just as non-love is a choice), the better way is to stand by that choice.

The Crack Emcee said...

Bobby and Joe,

What both of you miss is the scourge of our times - the unwillingness to judge yourself as deficient in some way. People, today, will even kill their kids and think they have something to teach the rest of us. Nail someone as a narcissist and they take it as a compliment. And it's a society that refuses to judge that's to blame.

None of us are complete individuals. We are the product of parents, family, teachers, friends, rules, laws, and behaviors learned - to merely say it's O.K. to flip the bird to all of them, for any selfish reason the "individual" sees fit, is just another of the myriad rationalizations for wrong out there.

Society was a hell of a lot better when a pop upside the head was a lot more common.

Joe said...

What is this; illiterate day?

Talk about setting up straw men.

Who said anything about tossing the other aside? I didn't.

If a couple simply don't get along for whatever reason and together decide to end their marriage, who is anyone to say they shouldn't and/or to do so is akin to murder? Who is righteous enough to condemn them?

Moreover, Flexo, I could just as easily straw man your argument by saying how dare a person whose spouse has cheated on them or beats them senseless not forgive and be so cavalier with this holy institution?

And how the hell is someone married 40 years treating their marriage as disposable? How do we know the struggles they might have gone through? Could it not be that had it been anyone else, even you, the marriage would have ended after ten save for their efforts?

Yes, there are people who marry and divorce as though it's nothing. But to assume that any couple who gets a divorce, amicable or otherwise, is being cavalier or treating marriage as disposable is absurd.

And why assume that when I say people diverge that it's negative or nasty; that someone is at fault to be corrected. Are you seriously saying that you haven't changed a whit since you were twenty? Twenty-five. Forty?

Joe said...

BTW, I've been married 24 years. I also used to be a self-righteous prick when it came to condemning divorce until I saw both sides of several marriages that ended in divorce and decided that it wasn't for me to judge.

In one of the most eye opening, my wife and I assumed a male divorced neighbor must have done something wrong and then by total coincidence years later I ended up moving near his ex-wife, but didn't know that's who she was until long after I'd found that she was a nice person with a severe Borderline Personality Disorder. Suddenly, we wondered how this man even lasted the five or so years he had with her.

How about the couple who never argued? Had good kids. Seemed a perfect match. But in private, without even the kids hearing, she constantly criticized him? Eventually she stopped being intimate with him. He suffered with this until the kids were grown and then they "amicably" divorced. VERY few people know the true story of that divorce, yet many here looking in would condemn them (and/or want to place both at fault.)

(And by the way, if people are going to start quoting Jesus here, at least have the respect to note that Jesus made no allowance for divorce whatsoever. He gave no exceptions for abuse or even adultery.)

Pogo said...

Joe, I don't think anyone doubts or disagrees with such circumstances.

The problem here is that Al Gore used his marriage as part of the Algore Myth. he even wrote a book about it. And Quinn is writing Hallmarky schlock about it (***spit***)

So in Al Gore's case, mockery isn't just permissible, it's mandatory.

Flexo said...

I also used to be a self-righteous prick when it came to condemning divorce

So now you are a self-righteous prick when it comes to championing divorce. (And it is you who is the one resorting to being obnoxious here.)

That's my point.

You might try not being a self-righteous prick at all. THAT is the answer to a harmonious marriage.

Adam said...

Normally the comments here are first-rate, but in this case I share Joe's incipient nausea at this thread. Tautoglogically, a couple stays together as long as their joint benefits from staying together make it worthwhile; they split up when that's no longer true. How long that process takes, or what the precipitating events were, or what they hoped for when they got married don't really matter to me, among other reasons because I am an outsider who hasn't got the first notion of what has transpired between the two of them.

The state of the Gores' marriage doesn't affect my personal well-being by one iota, and I don't see how it affects the well-being of anyone else in this thread, so despite my own personal and longstanding distaste for Al Gore I am completely put off by the moral posturing on display here.

I am truly happy for those of you who have found the key to long-term marital happiness, but I must say that you don't seem to realize how lucky you are to have found spouses who seem so able to tolerate self-righteousness.

As for AA, there is an old saying about stones and glass houses that she would do well to remember.

Trooper York said...

Fine words and good intentions are all well and good, but a photo of canoodling is better than a thousand words. Just Sayn'

Synova said...

I don't know about the self-righteous whatever or whomever. I don't think it's self-righteous to say that a commitment ought to require that something actually be wrong before it is set aside, and I don't think that it's self-righteous to disapprove of presenting the dissolution of marriage as some sort of virtuous gift to "us" on account of occurring between two people who get on splendidly.

I do tend to resent the notion that I've been married as long as I have on account of I was lucky enough to marry a perfect person. It's baloney of the worst sort. I put up with him and he puts up with me and there's a whole lot of putting up with done by both of us.

That doesn't mean that someone with a spouse who is horrible isn't *un*lucky and it doesn't mean that people don't have legitimate reasons to divorce.

Adam said...

This

I don't think it's self-righteous to say that a commitment ought to require that something actually be wrong before it is set aside...

misses the point spectacularly.

Obviously, as far as the Gores are concerned, something actually was wrong. They're being congratulated, I think, for being polite enough to STFU about the details. I don't think it would be a better divorce--or marriage, for that matter--if whatever was wrong was allowed to fester until it reached a point at which people who feel comfortable making these judgments to determine that it was ok for them to split.

traditionalguy said...

I wish Tipper a full life in a peaceful relationship. Letting the Demi-God of World Empire go on his way is a wise move on her part.

Synova said...

"Obviously, as far as the Gores are concerned, something actually was wrong."

A person would think so. And while I'm certainly not going to insist that dirty laundry be aired I don't think they are being commended for being polite in public. They seem to be being commended for offering us a gift to show us how to set marriage aside and how to get past the quaint notions that marriage matters.

The Gores are rich. This makes divorce far more comfortable for them, no matter that the "great gift" they are giving us doesn't include anything at all to make our divorces similarly comfortable.

Synova said...

Oh, and anyone who wants to be "lucky" and find enduring love... if your true love expresses the expectation of being "totally fulfilled" you should run away, and run away fast.

Because sure as anything you will not be one of the "lucky" ones.

jaed said...

About the Gores I have no idea. Their marriage obviously was a private thing and they have not chosen to share their reasons for divorce with the world. It could be that they're divorcing for frivolous reasons or for the extremely rare adequate reasons, but it's pure speculation because neither of them has chosen to share their reasons with the world. That's fine.

About Sally Quinn's column, however, I do have an idea, because the column is a published work and it's right out there.

Separation and divorce aren't "supposed" to be bad, they *are* bad. It is a terrible thing when a marriage dies, particularly one of long standing. It may be that the spouse who pulls the plug is not the one at fault (e.g. a victim of violence finally divorcing the abuser), Divorce under these circumstances may come as a relief. It's never something "we should rejoice at", not even "in some ways".

"People change and grow in different directions" is one of the joys of marriage, not a reason to divorce. Someone who would divorce because their spouse has grown is a blithering idiot.

We live a few years longer on average, and therefore lifetime vows are "totally unrealistic" - like, *totally*.

We continue to an attempted definition of marriage as "a full partnership where each person is equal, mutually respectful and in love". Presumably, divorce as soon as one partner is no longer "in luuuurve" is mandatory. Pity the foolish couple who stays together even during the times when limerance fades! It's our right to feel in love all the time! (Isn't it?)

I could go on. Yes, this column is revolting. It's the sensibility of a fuzzy-brained fourteen-year-old girl, with celebrity-gossip frosting and a sprinkle of politician-worship on top. Ick.

Lincolntf said...

One thing that's significant (not really, considering the two dolts involved) is that these are both people who have wanted to use their judgement and power to impose life- rules on hundreds of millions of Americans.
Tipper longed to control what media we could purchase, and Al still wants to control everything else about our lives.
Since their past judgment was so faulty that they ended up renouncing their own solemn vows, the nation should count itself lucky that we're not bound by the edicts that they both tried to permanently impose upon us.

A.Worthing said...

Joe

> You're the one creating the straw man. I never accused anyone of saying there can never be divorce[.]

You said this:

> I find the idea that marriage is so sacred it can't be broken no matter what its true state is to be immoral and disgusting.

Whose idea is that, then? Especially right after you pretty clearly responded to my “throw up in my mouth” comment.

> Moreover, you're the one who actually said "A divorce should be seen almost like an intentional killing of a person." Isn't that more than a little extreme?

In the sense that every divorce contains a wrongful act, no, not at all.

> Any institution that is deemed so important that its members lose free agency is an institution that deserves no respect.

Any commitment that lets you out just because you change your mind is not really a commitment.

But free agency. What an interesting term. You know, because in sports a free agent is… well, they aren’t exactly committed, now are they?

> If a couple simply don't get along for whatever reason

As though it is not anyone’s fault when they don’t get along with someone. I mean, sure, your partner has to meet you half way, but it is exceedingly rare that a person is completely closed off to some kind of accommodation.

I find it interesting that right after you talk about “free agency” you deny a person’s agency in the dissolution in their marriage.

> Who is righteous enough to condemn them?

Ah, yes, the cry “self righteous” in an attempt to shut down moral debate. Nobody’s perfect, see, so we should never ever point out when someone if f---ing up. What it really is, is an ad hominem. Either my moral arguments are valid or not. Whether I am “self-righteous” or not is beside the point.

> And how the hell is someone married 40 years treating their marriage as disposable

Well, since disposable means literally able to be disposed of... its almost a tautology.

> How do we know the struggles they might have gone through?

I have said from the beginning that maybe in truth we are just not hearing how bad it is.

> But to assume that any couple who gets a divorce, amicable or otherwise, is being cavalier or treating marriage as disposable is absurd.

Amicable divorce, hate-your-guts divorce, what is the difference?

And they can get along well enough to reasonably divide everything they own. But they can’t stand to live together. What horsesh--.

> that someone is at fault to be corrected.

That’s just my point. In every divorce someone is at fault. And if they say “no one is” then the answer is both of them are. the only arguable exception is if one is just plain nuts, because then you are pleading insanity.

> Are you seriously saying that you haven't changed a whit since you were twenty? Twenty-five. Forty?

I am saying it is no excuse for breaking up a family, even if the family is just you and your spouse. I didn’t stop loving blood, why should I stop loving my wife?

> I also used to be a self-righteous prick

Ah, and who is “also” the self-righteous prick?

> He suffered with this until the kids were grown and then they "amicably" divorced.

And there was no way to work it out, for all of those years.

Oh and thanks for proving you did not actually read the Bible.

Flexo @4:39.

100% agree.

A.Worthing said...

Adam

> Tautoglogically, a couple stays together as long as their joint benefits from staying together make it worthwhile; they split up when that's no longer true.

I am sorry, are we discussing a marriage or a contract between two corporations. I almost expected you to quote from “The Common Law” by Holmes. I mean let’s tease this out. You have a wife. She is in a car accident. She is paralyzed below the neck. She relies on you to feed her, bathe her, wipe her a--. So do you say at that point, “gee, my joint benefits are not making this worthwhile. So see ya, wouldn’t want to be ya?” Its funny how the people talking about marriage on this thread actively would make the marriage oath a lie. No “for better or worse, in sickness and in health.” And rather than “till death do us part,” more like, “so long as we feel like it.”

> Obviously, as far as the Gores are concerned, something actually was wrong

Not at all. Pretending they just “grew apart” doesn’t count.

> I don't think it would be a better divorce--or marriage, for that matter--if whatever was wrong was allowed to fester

No one here is talking about things festering. We are talking about solving the issues. You know, working at this, as though this is a commitment.

You know one great piece of advice I got at the beginning of my marriage (from a priest, whodathunkit?), was never to threaten divorce. By treatin it not as a solution, not as a thing to hold over the other person, by proceeding on the assumption that one way or the other we will work things out, it made it more possible. I am not big on visualizations and all that. you will never catch me saying “visualize world peace” for instance. But if you take that kind of positive attitude about your marriage, you can almost see how it changes the tenor of things.

Pat Patterson said...

I just realized maybe Tipper found that Al didn't throw out all his Too Live Crew cassettes like he promised.

Night2night said...

My Gosh, for this woman to publish this on a column called "On Faith" must mean her own faith in her own prose. I really didn't see anything expressed in this column other than, "It's all good." I guess she could be right, but my dog seems to react to most things he finds in our walks the same way. However, he admittedly doesn't write as well.

bagoh20 said...

So if the Gores have no desire to be married to each other for the rest of their lives, they should stay married anyway? Because we think so? We suck.

Night2night said...

No, not at all. Just don't dress it upas fufilling anything other than the Gore's immediate desires.

bagoh20 said...

"Just don't dress it upas fufilling anything other than the Gore's immediate desires."


Nobody seems to mind the dressing up of their immediate desires when people get married. Now that's dressing up.

Night2night said...

Well, of course people do (sometimes too much for my taste), but still. The one event is:

1.) A public celebration and acknowledgement of peoples's official status as a couple.

2.) The beginning of a new family (traditionally with children, even if not to the extent we used to).

The ending of that coupling is the breaking of a promise (maybe we've changed the promise in our mind to something other than what we say, but still) and dealing with the wreckage. Spin it anyway you want, I don't think it's worth celebrating.

Peter V. Bella said...

Then why did they publicize it? Some dignity. Some grace. The worst is Ms. Quinn, w2ho is sooooooooooo close to the Gores she gets paid to write puff pieces. Blah!

A.Worthing said...

Mmm, here is at least one version of the traditional wedding vows:

MINISTER TO GROOM: Do you GROOM'S NAME take BRIDE'S NAME to be your wife – to live together after God’s ordinance – in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon her your heart’s deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her as long as you both shall live?

GROOM: I will.

It goes on, but I will stop there.

And here is the edits needed to make it appropriately modern, and non-judgmental:

“MINISTER TO GROOM: Do you [groom’s name] take [bride’s name] to be your independent, “at will,” contractor, to try to live together and see if it works out, in the contractual estate of matrimony? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in health, for richer, for better, in joy, to cherish and for as long as it strikes your fancy bestow upon her some affection if you are in the mood, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her as long as you both shall feel like it?”

“GROOM: Sure, I’ll give it a shot. Might be good for a laugh.”

So doesn’t that make all of us feel warm and fuzzy? I almost want to play that Elton John song “Can you feel the love tonight?”

Seriously, if you don’t mean it, don’t say it, don’t get married at all. Just live together, and don’t tell your partner that this is just like being married, make it clear that you are just sticking around until things get too heavy. It ain’t romantic, you probably won’t get laid as much, but at least everyone is being honest. If you don’t think marriage is a serious commitment, then don’t get married.

Miriam said...

I think it needs to be said that the principle of marriage being a bond that should never be broken is a Christian notion.

Accordingly, those in this thread who are arguing that marriage is a Godly bond that should be till death under many/most circumstances are coming from a specific religious worldview.

People of a different orientation -say, Jews - do not have this ideal. Despite the saying 'when a person divorces the spouse of their youth, the heavens cry', nonetheless, in Judaism, divorce is not forbidden or even condemned, and there are many detailed instructions about when to do it and how to do it fairly.

This is not meant to comment on the posts from those that do not condemn divorce, but rather to point out that those who do on religious/spiritual/Godly grounds are representing one religious orientation in particular.

Just sayin.

Night2night said...

@Miriam

I didn't think the Judaic and Christian traditions were that far afield, but I like this account of Jesus responding to some questioning on divorce. With a general recognition Jesus was first a Jew and a pertinent teacher within most of Judiaism, regardless of the Christian belief in his divinity, I think it stands on its own merits.

3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?"

4 "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'[a] 5and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'[b]? 6So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

7 "Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?"

8 Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."

Matthew 19: v3-9

I don't think that recognizing there is some truth in that observation causes anyone to abandon their religious beliefs, Jewish or Christian.

SukieTawdry said...

If I could expand on Sally's thought:

There are those who will argue that marriage is a commitment that should be honored no matter what. But I'm not one of them. Where would I be today, after all, if my husband hadn't been willing to cheat on and then divorce his first wife? If we always insist upon commitment and honor, chippies like me wouldn't have the opportunity to "sleep" our way to fame and fortune.

Flexo said...

Whether the understanding that a valid marriage cannot be dissolved is Christian or not, it bears noting that historically, the law considered marriage to be permanent and divorce could not be had as a matter of law. Even in modern times, divorce cannot be obtained at law. Rather, divorce can only be obtained in equity.

And even after a divorce in equity is granted, there are still vestiges of the marriage that remain, namely, various financial obligations that the spouses owe to each other and to their children.