Let me state a few things up front.
1. The relationship between Seal and Heidi Klum is absolutely none of business and, in the grand scheme of things, doesn't impact my life.
2. I obviously do not know these people personally and none of the opinions I am about to share is designed to imply otherwise.
3. I know that there are absolutely situations where divorce is the only choice, the best choice. I'm not wearing blinders and I'm not one to say that my way is the only way. I'm not one to live in absolutes, either, and I very realistically know that divorce is a real thing with a real purpose.
I've made it pretty clear how I feel about the issue of divorce in our society. I've also shared why it's important to me- because of what divorce does to kids.
I've been honest that I have a divorce behind me. I've also stated that I know that divorce is truly sometimes the best option.
When I saw this interview with Seal on Ellen... I got pretty ticked off.
After 8 years and 4 kids and 2 big careers... they've grown apart and they still love each other deeply but...
Even Seal and Heidi were shocked? They weren't expecting the divorce attorneys to show up at their door? They got selected in the Hollywood Breakup Lottery?
He said... when you become a parent, you do the best that you can... but how are they doing the best that they can when they are calling it quits after just 8 years and "growing apart?"
Obviously I'm not truly concerned about Heidi or Seal. But I think that his statements are an exact example of the general idea that our society holds about divorce. It wasn't fun anymore... we grew apart... I wasn't happy or fulfilled...
The gossip is that Seal has a temper problem and Heidi filed for divorce because she felt the environment wasn't the best example for her kids. I fully understand that. I support that. I don't know that filing for divorce is the first response- but separation and requirements for change and help would be on my list.
But taking just Seal's statement... just his words...
That breaks my heart. It kills this little piece of me that divorce is something so easy to turn to and so easy to obtain and taken so lightly. The thing about Seal's words in this interview is that I have heard similar things 100 times over in conversations and on message boards and on talk shows. What Seal said could be said by any number of people I'm connected to in my everyday suburban life. And that leaves me feeling sad and angry.
Remaining civil and connected for the kids? Pshaw. If you really want to put your kids first, and given that the only issue in the marriage is truly that you've just grown apart or aren't personally happy, put your marriage first.
Everytime one of these Hollywood types rushes off into another engagement or another divorce is announced, I shake my head. I say a little prayer. And I wonder what exactly it is about marriage in this country that is so special that it "should only be between a man and a woman." There is no sanctity of marriage in our society. There is no respect for the vows taken on a wedding day.
I'm being emotional and dramatic- I know there are couples who take their vows seriously and are committed to each other through the good and bad, the highs and lows. And when I say "couples," I mean gay and straight.
Some individuals "get it" and take it seriously. I have deep respect when a friend turns to me and says that she knows this is about her and not just about him... that they have been broken for so long... but that she is willing to give it everything she has before it comes to an end. I have admiration for a friend who says that he wants his focus to remain on what is best for his children and asks me to advocate for them when he vents to me about his ex.
Bottom line, for me, is simply this. It doesn't matter if you are straight or gay. When there are children involved in your marriage or your serious commitment to another person, those kids are part of the promises you make. When you break the vows to your partner, you are breaking promises to your kids. In all honesty, if there are no children, I probably don't really care so much. I might roll my eyes at the headline. I might be sad for my friend who is feeling heartbroken. But there is a lot less damage incurred when children are not part of the family that is divorcing.
When my mom and dad got married, I was about 10 years old. I was included in the ceremony. My dad gave a special toast to me at the reception. I've known people who propose to the child to whom they want to become a step-parent or adoptive parent. I've seen where ceremonies include the kids being officially included in the formation of the bond in the wedding- not just becoming a married couple but becoming a family bound through marriage.
What if we did the same in our marriages prior to having kids? I suppose the vows are supposed to cover that but maybe if we mindfully include in our vows that "I promise to stay connected to you when/if we face parenthood. I vow to be a partner to you and to defend our marriage for the sake or the security of our children."
Marriage isn't "going steady." It's not having a boyfriend or girlfriend. It is intended to be a lifetime commitment founded in love and mutual respect to another person. At some point, society needs to place a lot more value on that intention.