We dated the Zeros… so you don’t have to.

13
June

Does divorce equal failure?

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When I sat down to write this article, I actually has something different in mind. Between Arnold S and Anthony W, there has been a lot of attention on the very bad behavior of some very public men. It can start to seem like lying and cheating is the norm, instead of aberrant behavior. And so I figured I’d write an article about the best couples in history, and ask you all who you thought was the most inspirational. I racked my brain (and the internet) and what I found was a little disheartening. I didn’t find as many shining examples as I’d hoped. Take, for example, the article from www.mylifetime.com entitled, ‘The 20 Best Couples in History’. This was not exactly the inspiration I was looking for. Of those 20 couples profiled, 8 were involved in some kind of infidelity – either because they were married before they found the love of their lives or because they cheated on the love of their lives. 8 of the 20 couples profiled ended in divorce (9 if you count the fact that Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton married and divorced twice). And one was a Nazi sympathizer.

These are the best couples in the history of time? Seriously? Of course, the article appears on www.mylifetime.com and considering they consistently seem to greenlight movies with names like “Mother May I Sleep With Danger?”, I don’t have a lot of faith in their taste. But even so… 8 of the 20 greatest couples in history ended in divorce?

I’m not saying that I think that every breakup signals a failure. It is healthy, particularly when we’re young and still figuring out who we are and what kind of relationship we want, to have different relationship with varying degrees of seriousness. I like to think of them as training wheel relationships; sometimes they’re fun, sometimes painful, but either way you learn a lot. Just because the relationship ends does’t mean you shouldn’t have been in it at all. It didn’t end because it was a mistake, it ended because it wasn’t the relationship. I don’t see them as failures. But certainly we don’t think of those training wheel relationships as great, do we? I don’t mean to imply that if a relationship ends in divorce that means it was a ‘training wheel’ relationship. Of course not. Nor am I saying that a divorced couple could not have been a good one. But a great one?

So what does ‘best couple’ mean? Certainly it isn’t just the couple that stays together the longest because there are tons of couples that managed to make each other miserable until death do they part. And there are plenty of couples that had passionate, respectful marriages but, for whatever reason, could not sustain them. Call me old fashioned, but I sort of feel that divorce automatically disqualifies a couple from being on the ‘best couples in history’ list. Is that fair?

A Zeros Before the One Poll

What do you think? When a couple gets divorced, does that mean they weren’t a great couple?

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3 Responses to “Does divorce equal failure?”

  1. Claudia Maittlen-Harris June 13, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    I guess I believe in the Paul Newman/Joanne Woodward ideal over the tempestuous nature of a Taylor/Burton love affair.

    • Megan Gray June 13, 2011 at 12:09 pm

      Big time! I don’t buy into the whole ‘isn’t it amazing they loved each other so much they married each other twice!?’ idea. I might be more into the idea if they hadn’t also divorced twice.

  2. Elisabeth Fitzgerald June 14, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    I once had a friend say to me “When do you count a marriage as success?” Without even thinking, I replied “When one of you dies.” And there it is. We say it right in the vows, “til death do us part.” Getting divorced does not mean that you weren’t, at one time, a great couple, but it does mean that the marriage wasn’t a success.

    And Taylor and Burton were great, but it was their drama that made them so fascinating.

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