Celebrity Marriage: Doomed to Fail?

OK, randomest thing ever: on the way to my exam on Monday – which went well; thanks for the prayers! – all I could think about was this essay on celebrity marriages, and I couldn’t do anything on the train to uni except get out my pad and write all the thoughts down.

I’m thinking I might as well write it up here now, even though it’s a draft version, because I don’t see another time coming where I’ll have the inspiration to willingly write an essay that isn’t under timed conditions. Darn…

We, as a culture, as a nation, are heading towards a future where divorces are as numerous as marriages. If it weren’t for the fact that marriage is an obligatory prerequisite for divorce, I believe the latter would even exceed the former.

But it seems that it only reflects the disasters of celebrity unions. Why are they so often imperminent?

Is it that the people involved are so egotistical that the common characteristics of a successful marriage – such as selflessness, and compromise – are a lost notion to them?

The frightening pace at which their relationships are formed and consummated seems to communicate that they will have a weak foundation of simply knowing each other. In my view these seem to be the evolved versions of ‘marriages of convenience’ – marriages of pleasure. So long as both are made happy by each other, without any over-exhertion in the other direction on the part of either person, then marriage seems to be the natural course. So, in this respect, they are very dependent upon happiness as the reason for their union: while some may be the results of unplanned pregnancy, more and more it seems to be a result of a sudden notion that a couple make each other happy and thus they are perfect ‘matches’ for marriage.

Why is such a delusion so prevalent in our ideology?

However I could be wrong. Maybe it seems like all celebrity marriages fail because only their divorces and separations are ever publicised. This may be tru, but even some seemingly lasting marriages do not indicate a successful one. They are sometimes simply prolonged unions between two unhappy people.

Even those that showd both usband and wife as happy, satisfied people did not always last ‘until death do us part’ – the highly publicised and scrutinised marriage of Nich Lachey and Jessica Simpson, shown on MTV’s Newleyweds, shows this clearly.

In the end, hower, a tirade against te celebrity marriage will not make a difference. I would rather see a successful marriage between two famous people, showing that it is possible than the broken hearts splashed across women’s magazines.

I want to explore (briefly) the ‘why’ of a lot of doomed marriages, and also how they could be successful instead. Bear in mind, however, that as I am not a married woman, I do not have direct experience, but I am going to use the examples shown in the successful marriages of many countless couples I’ve known, including my parents’.

Firstly, both parties in a relationship are very much caught up in the romanticised concept of marriage that is so common in films, novels and every young child’s dreams and imagination: The knight in shining armour, the princess, the dragon. A princess, who will be stolen away from her boring existence by a hero who will slay the dragon that threatens to kill them both – the result? Happily ever after.

I have three problems with this model.

One, that only their partners seem to be able to satisfy each other’s desires, that they could live on an island and be happy so long as the other is there too. Two, that apart they would be lost, and only together do they have an identity, and three, the biggest misconception: that the threat, once prevailed once, will never reappear.

Firstly, the over-dependence of a couple upon each other for happiness, and fulfilment, and their consequent withdrawal from other relationships such as family and friends. This can only result in disappointment as the other fails to live up to those expectations, and also stagnancy – when there are no other influences upon a relationship, it gets old fast. The successful couple, even if te y are marooned on an island in the Atlantic, will still draw from Christ the inward satisfcation and joy that only he can give, and in turn bless the other with Christ’s love. And why is it that the princess believes that her existence as a single person is dull and unfulfilling? A hero isn’t always needed.

Secondly, the loss of an individual identy, and the over-emphasised concept of a ‘co-identity’ will never work. It is true that a couple are supposed to become ‘as one’ but only as two opposite magnets join with each other – they are one, but still different. Each person has a role clearly defined by Christ; men, you are the heads, the leaders, the warriors, and women, you are the encouragers, followers, supporters. You can only find your identities in Christ, because two opposites cannot demonstrate the way the other should be: only what they shouldn’t.

Thirdly, there is the illusion of a single prominent threat that, once overcome, will result in everlasting happiness. The threat will come in many forms, and it will not be obvious – it will not always be a parent’s opposition, people’s judgement, or a past mistake. It will not always be a direct external attack, but could be the inward growth of resentment: the annoyance at the other’s habits, the feelings of hurt caused by the others’ withdrawal or lack of communication. It will not even be a single occurence, but attacks will occur daily. One victorious battle could never end the war in a relationship, because the fight will only end when it does.

Until we realise that we are under constant, spiritual attack – Satan hates any notion of a loving relationship as God set it out to be – we will never be on our guard and ready to fight against them. Small assaults will crawl under our armour and turn people against each other. Small things and big things – financial pressre, emotional problems, our sinful natures. Without Christ strengthening us and preparing us to fight these, we will never know what, how or when to do battle.

Obviously, there are other problems that cause relationships to be unstable before they even begin.

One: Fast physical connection – couples spend so much time in the bedroom that they dining room – a place where they experience each other with not just a kiss but an entire table between them – comes an alien place. The relationship mirrors encounters around a park bench – a meeting place, a conversation, then public displays of affection – that seem no different from the private.

If your only experience of each other is made up of strong physical encounters based on a shallow, weak emotional base, an impossible state of ‘eternal happiness’ is the only thing holding you up. It is so flawed that there doesn’t even need to be an attack or threat for the relationship to fail – it will simply run its course for a limited time and die.

Two: Fast emotional connection.

That’s as far as I got. Obviously, this is not an exhaustive essay. I am open to further additions, feel free to respond to or expand certain points (or not.)

Also, I changed the banner again. It is now this:

by ~beforethealtar on deviantART

I took this picture at MEC, and the accompanying verse is:

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 Timothy 6:11,12