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The Ripple Effect
I know very little about popular culture since we don't have a TV. I was in the grocery store yesterday glancing at magazine covers, and one was of a bunch of girls named the "Kardashians". Obviously they are important for some reason, but I have absolutely no clue who they are.

But some stars are hard to avoid, and I have to admit that while I ignore about 95% of what's in tabloids, I do read the headlines on the Brad and Angelina fiasco.

I think it's because when Brad originally left Jennifer Aniston it really bothered me. He felt he could just break his marriage vows because he found someone else, and he did it so publicly. I have no idea what is going on in her head, or what did go on in her head, but it seemed to cruel to me. (If you're a celebrity hater, please read on. I know this seems like a shallow point for a post, but I bring it all together, I promise!)

Now it turns out that Brad and Angelina have signed papers to split their fortune, and he has bought his own house. So I guess they'll announce it's over soon. Yet I'm not particularly happy (not that it has anything to do with me), because they have six kids together. Whether it was wrong or not for them to be together in the first place, they do have children. And those children's lives will be even more chaotic now.

The whole thing just strikes me as so sad: the kids lose out; Jennifer lost out; and now the two of them aren't happy either. The question that will be all over the tabloids for the next year, of course, is whether or not Brad and Jen will get back together. I'm an agnostic on that subject. Really don't care. But what strikes me is that if they do, she is now 40. Has she lost her chance to have children?

Of course, she could have had them earlier, while they were together. But she was working on her TV show, and didn't want to interrupt that. So she waited, and now she has no babies.

It seems like everyone in this situation made really, really bad choices, and now nobody is happy.

What it shows me is that you have to keep your first priorities as your first priorities if you want to be happy in the long run. If you want children, don't let a job keep you from having them. Don't keep putting it off. If you are married with someone you love, and you're secure in that relationship, have kids. (Of course, if Brad and Jen had had kids, they would have been left without a father, too, but perhaps things would have turned out differently).

And put your marriage first. If you're married, you're married. You need to work on that marriage and make sure that it remains your number one priority. Nurture the relationship. Keep sex exciting. Work on your friendship. Nothing is worth more in this life than your marriage, because without it, everything else starts falling apart. That doesn't mean you can't rebuild after a divorce, or that God won't be with you. On the contrary; often God is closest to those who have been heartbroken. But it takes such an emotional toll. How much better to work on the relationship in the first place! (And, if it doesn't work, at least you can be satisfied that it wasn't for lack of trying on your part.)

But celebrities can also tell us a little bit about how NOT to be married. I think one of the reasons that celebrities break up at such astounding rates is that they are rarely together. One is filming a movie here, and another there. Brad and Angelina got together on the set; by all accounts, Brad and Jennifer were very happy before that. So we need to keep close PHYSICALLY to our husbands, too.

For some of us that's not easy. I have two friends who are leaving for Haiti as we speak for two months' tour of duty with the military. Another is leaving for Afghanistan for six months in just a few weeks. That is so hard on a marriage. But they have plans for how to keep in touch, and for how to keep their marriage going even in such difficult circumstances. And they are honest about the difficulties, and have prayed through them. Marriages can survive these types of separations with the right prayer and preparation. And the REASON for these separations is also important--when it's military duty, it's different. Military duty means something. You're away for a purpose. Sure, it's your job and you signed up for it, but that doesn't mean you WANT to go. It's just that you accept that you are asked to make sacrifices.

For celebrities, and other high powered executives who spend their lives away from home, being away isn't something you do sacrificially because it's meaningful; it's the whole POINT of your job. Nothing is driving you to be gone except for you. Some jobs, like truckers, will be on the road for a while, but it's not extended the way it is when you're filming a movie. And families can adjust, even if it's hard. But as much as it is in your control, choose a profession, and help your husband choose a profession, that keeps the two of you close together.

In situations where you must be separated, keep your spouse still as your main priority. Maintain absolute faithfulness. That's harder than one may think, even on tours of duty, because of all the porn that's available (though the Canadian forces, at least, try to limit it. I'm sure the American forces do, too, but I have no direct knowledge of this). But faithfulness is encouraged, even by the military.

It reminds me of a story Kirk Cameron told about filming the movie Fireproof. In the final scene, he has to kiss his "wife". But he firmly believes in marital faithfulness, and didn't believe that he should kiss someone, even if it was just acting, who was not his wife. So they shot the scene in silhouette and had his wife Chelsea stand in for the actress who had played his wife throughout the film. I respect him for that. I don't think I could kiss another man, either, even if it were acting. I think it's very dangerous. And I often wonder, when I watch movies, if I'm actually promoting the undoing of these actors' marriages by watching them kiss people they're not married to. It hasn't stopped me yet, but it does give me pause!

When you look at this disaster of a story, no one ever set out to have it be a disaster. But they didn't put their main priorities as their main priorities. They valued career over marriage; they valued career over kids. They valued personal happiness over fidelity. And now everything is a mess. These small decisions we make can have huge consequences later on.

So today, what can we do to value our marriages? What can we do to boost our fidelity? Maybe if we all concentrated on boosting our marriages rather than boosting our careers or focusing on what we want, we'd actually end up far happier in the end.

If you liked this post, you'll love Sheila's audio download: "Protect Your Marriage". We all want strong marriages, but if we don't tend them and protect them, outside influences can easily steal our joy and intimacy. Download it now!


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At 8:37 AM , Anonymous Dana said…

I think the most telling in the whole thing was a comment by one of them that when they got married, they weren't getting chained to one person for the rest of their lives.

From the start, there was a willingness to allow infidelity. That sort of activity didn't seem to make the headlines. Maybe it didn't even happen, but it seemed like a bizarre sort of "commitment" from the beginning.


At 9:38 AM , Blogger Sheri said…

So I suppose they are done playing house. How very sad for everyone involved.

I remember a comment like Dana mentioned. I also read a few weeks ago that A. said something about accepting it if the partner is attracted to someone else (or some such thing). My initial reaction was "Oh,so he cheated on her". So so sad.

pardon me, I need to go kiss my hubby.


At 10:53 AM , Blogger Tracey said…

I also notice that when celebrities marry or are together with celebrities...where they are both in the lime light that is when it falls apart the quickest. Way back when...actors and actresses that were married...only one of them was famous. They didn't have competing egos and the other one could watch over the family more closely. When they are both famous (I feel) they are competing for attention and fame and no one wins.


At 11:30 AM , Blogger Tessa said…

I'm glad that I agreed to a marriage covenant and not just a marriage contract. I made a comment about something like that on my facebok a while back and got several responses. I ended up having to explain the difference between a covenant and a contract to a non-believer friend of mine. If it's just a contract, you can just rewrite a new one to overpower the first one to break it. Contracts have loopholes. Covenants don't. Plus the covenant is made with God. The contract is made with the gov't. It's easier to go against the gov't than God, IMO.
Also, I just watched my wedding video recently and noticed that my pastor said something about letting no man put asunder. But he also mentioned let no court of man put asunder! So I guess there's no escape for us lol!


At 12:39 PM , Blogger Valerie aka Mamalovelock said…

I totally agree with this post. It is very sad for everyone involved. Totally respect Kirk Cameron for what he did. I couldn't kiss anyone else either.

I don't believe Brad and Angie ever expected to stay together forever. They never married (for some bizarre reasons) and most people in today's society view it as something to do for now, but when I don't like it anymore I am gone. Such a today twisted viewpoint from what God intended.


At 12:40 PM , Blogger Nurse Bee said…

Please no offense to those who are able to do things differently, but this is one reason I feel it is important that I continue to work part-time. My husband has offered to get two jobs, or find a higher paying job (which would most likely require longer hours and/or a longer communte). However, this would take time away from time we spend as a family and as a couple, so I don't feel it is worth it.


At 1:16 PM , Blogger Debbie said…

Marriage is difficult. It involves commitment and understanding that love is a choice. That feeling of "being in love" isn't always there 100% of the time. I've heard that used as an excuse for divorce way too many times. "I love him but I'm no longer IN LOVE with him."

I also felt sorry for Jennifer in that split with Brad. Not that I know any of these people but they are so visible. I'm sure being famous creates more challenges in a marriage too.

Unfortunately, our society thinks nothing of divorce and the church seems to be no different according to the Barna statistics. I too have been divorced but have been married to my husband now for 25 years. I learned lessons that were do difficult and painful going through the first.

And btw, the main reason I came to your blog today was to congratulate you on your award for Top Ten Blogs for Christian Women. After reading a bit, I can understand why you were chosen. I was humbled to be included in this list for my blog called Heart Choices.

I think I need to follow you and read more about you. It was so nice to say hi this morning.

God bless you and your ministry to women,


At 2:33 PM , Blogger Berji's domain said…

My husband is one of those that has a job that takes him away from home for 10 days - 2 months at a time, several times a year. It is hard! I would love for you to do a post on how couples can maintain their marriage long distance, especially when you don't always have the luxury of being in constant communication.


At 2:51 PM , Blogger Erin said…

I've noticed the same thing as Tracey, when one spouse is 'in the shadows' they make it. I'd love media to do a series of the happy couples, the ones who make it. BTW I have a memory of reading that Jen had trouble conceiving, in fact couldn't and that was part of why he left her. Could be wrong.


At 3:42 PM , Blogger Melissa said…

Um, i usually AM up-to-date on pop culture & i had no idea that Brad & Angelina were splitting up!!!

Let me get back to you on the rest of it...

just kidding. But seriously. what is going to happen to those beautiful children!??! so sad. makes me sad. breaks my heart. but i agree with what someone said earlier - they never really intended to stay together.

i seriously doubt he & jennifer would get back together. i don't care either, but i'm just saying.

p.s. the kardashians' stepdad won something in the olympics (in track) & now is a motivational speaker. & now they are wealthy. that's basically it. i saw their show once & they were funny, made me laugh - non-stop drama in a house with a bunch of girls (& one boy - poor thing!) They own some boutique's. but basically there is no reason they are famous.


At 9:06 PM , Blogger Kathy said…

I often say to my husband that our marriage is such a long one compared to most celebrities - 4 years! It is so sad to see that constant heartbreak that happens and to realize that it is becoming so widely accepted as 'normal'.

Out of the celebrity marriages that I have a strong respect for are Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, and Matt Damon and his wife. They are never in the headlines and they seem to keep such a level head. Demi and Ashton are just super cute... love seeing their antics.

Sometimes I cringe when I'm watching a movie and their is a big kissing or sex scene - I can't seperate the actors from the roles they are playing. Sometimes I wonder "did their spouse watch the movie when it was released?"

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Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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