The come apart - the fall out - the painful truth... marriage is not easy. Reality TV has reached uncharted waters with the obvious marriage problems of Jon and Kate Gosselin. Anyone who has seen the first season of their reality show and then watched last night could see the obvious. You don't have to read a tabloid magazine to see that they are completely falling apart. Completely falling apart.
It's like watching our seven-year-old baseball team fall apart on the field. It's like watching a building that took over a year to build implode in a matter of seconds. It's like watching a tree fall. You wonder how something so meaningful can just fall apart right in front of you. But it can.
I guess I could speculate on what has pulled the couple and parents of eight beautiful, healthy kids so far apart. Maybe it's the show - the invasion of privacy they so willingly invited into their home, the obligations that the show has brought to their relationship, the money, the big house, the big bills, the staffers around them all the time. Maybe it's the business their family life has become. Maybe it's Jon's behavior - the going out like a twenty-something, the drinking, the photographs with other women. Maybe it's her fault - her zest for fame and fortune, her traveling, her controlling and demeaning attitude with her husband. Or maybe it's all these thinks combined and magnified by the public eye. But no matter what the cause, the result is the same - a sad situation, a broken family, a love buried under the rubble.
I watched last night with such sadness. A little because I know how it feels to be struggling. Marriage is hard no matter what your situation. No matter how much or how little money you have, no matter how controlling or free you are with your spouse, no matter how many or few children you have - this marriage thing ain't easy to do. Two people, ever changing and growing, trying to live together and raise kids is quite difficult. And let's face it; these days, when things get tough, most people get out. And even though I have know several people during their divorces, I have never the ins and outs of a marriage falling apart. Last night, you got to see her side and his side and then them sitting side by side talking together. He thinks he's right, she thinks she's right, and clearly neither of them are anywhere near being right.
I think there is a lot one can learn from watching this unfold in front of the public eye. What's it all worth - you know? What are the money and the big house and the exciting vacations all worth? Can your kids be just as happy with less stuff and two parents that love each other? Or would they be okay with acreage and time split between the two? This is a big issue that my household has struggled with in the past two years - the how much is too much question. The more stuff we have accumulated, the more pressure my husband feels and the more he works. It's a vicious cycle - work more, have more, want more. And it's a place where a family can completely fall apart and lose focus. Let's face it; it's just so easy to lose focus of what's really important in our society.
I think that's why I feel so drawn to this story - Jon and Kate Plus Eight. The reason I have watched every story about them and read every article and Googled their names. I want to learn something from their experience. And I think what I am seeing thus far is that society as a whole needs to scale back and realize the things that are really important - a happy family and a healthy marriage. The rest is just icing, you know - fluffy white sugar on the top. Not necessary, but nice none the less. But I tell you what... I'd rather have a cupcake with no icing than no cupcake at all any day.