Jenifer and I were sitting by the pool the other day, looking at magazines and discussing articles we were reading. I had Reader's Digest and she had Ladies Home Journal. Don't judge...it was a summer day by the pool, so we were keeping it light.
There was an interview in Jen's magazine with acress Debra Messing. In it, she was characterizing both her career and her recent divorce. What grabbed our attention was her explanation for why marriages don't seem to last in our current culture. Here's an exerpt from the interview...
Can we talk about some of those challenges in your own marriage? You and your husband were together a long time.
Twenty years. It's a very long time. When I say the move to New York was traumatic, it was traumatic because every aspect of my life was going through a huge change.
So you were already discussing a separation before you moved?
Oh yes. Yes, yes. [She pauses, then continues with care.] It's a new chapter in my personal life. I'm walking a path I've never walked before. But I'm optimistic. Every thought is dictated by what's best for our son. We are completely on the same page in that regard. We are dear friends. And I am at peace with the journey we've had. I feel like the 20 years we had together has been a huge success. And despite the fact that everything is changing, I think everyone is thriving.
Would you say that you and your husband grew apart?
No. [She pauses again.] I think the institution of marriage is a noble thing. I think the idea of a partner for life is incredibly romantic. But now we're living to 100. A hundred years ago, people were dying at age 37. Til death do us part was a much different deal.
So, according to Messing, the main reason that marriages end in divorce is the simple fact that people are living longer. By implication, I suppose that she believes that the maximum tolerance a person can handle with one person is about 20-25 years. After that, there's no way a spouse can be expected to put up with them anymore. So, that's the time to divorce and trade in on someone different. If you're going to live to 100, that means you should plan on three or four different marriage partners in a lifetime.
I want to be gracious to Ms. Messing, so don't get me started on her belief that "every thought is dictated by what's best for our son." I assure you, that his parents living apart is not what is best for him.
We need to pray for people like Ms. Messing. Her logic and philosophy is becoming more and more common in our society. And it is destructive to families, to children, and to our culture as a whole. Scripture is clear that marriage is meant to between one man and one woman for life. While we always fall short of God's ideal, we must not lower the bar just because life is hard.
All this brings to mind a new song I have been listening to in recent days. My friend Bryce Avary of The Rocket Summer released his new album this week. He's a great guy, a committed Christ-follower, and a very talented artist. His song "Old Love" talks about how he wants to have the kind of marriage that his grandparents had...not the short-lived type as characterized by Debra Messing.
Here's a video of him performing an accoustic version of the song on a show in Los Angeles a few days ago. And if you want more, you can get his record at itunes. It's very good stuff!