Al And Tipper. John and Jane. We’re All Fighting Some Kind Of Battle.

 I’ve made it no secret that I’ve been married before. I hesitate to call my first marriage a mistake because an amazing daughter came of it. And if it hadn’t have been for my first marriage, I wouldn’t be the seasoned wife that I am today. (You’re welcome, Honey!)

Since I am in a second marriage, I feel I make an extra effort to make it work. I am more than committed to my husband. I am also keenly aware that the grass isn’t greener, just different.

So it disheartens, discourages, just plain disappoints when I hear of long marriages dissolving.

Al and Tipper Gore, after 40 years of marriage, are separating.

I don’t know Al and Tipper. Never been invited to their home. Never attended the same social gathering. All I know about them is what I’ve seen, heard or read in the media. They’ve passed the two typical milestones when couples divorce: seven-year-itch and when the youngest child goes off to college.

Hearing of their separation makes me sad. According to their email to friends and family they “grew apart.” After 40 years.

I suppose I’m a romantic. I’d like to think that after 40 years of marriage a married couple has weathered the worst. Found ways to make the-once-endearing-but-now-annoying-habits tolerable. Discovered new joys about each partner.

When I divorced, I lost friends. Phone calls and invitations slowed. As if divorce were contagious. The shift in friendships bothered me. Still bothers me. Which is why I’m hyper-sensitive when someone is going through similar struggles.

“Everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”

Al and Tipper. John and Jane. The teacher and the artist. The lawyer and stay at home mom.

Struggling. Battling. Some winning, some losing.

All of you are in my heart today.

Holding you close.

Hoping for peace and strength.

(On a lighter note: Answers from yesterday’s music challenge: 1. “Spare him his life from this monstrosity” – Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen 2. “Shake it like a Polaroid Picture” – Hey Ya, Outkast 3. “Smoke on the water, fire in the sky” Smoke On The Water, Deep Purple 4. “A loaded God complex” – Sugar, We’re Going Down, Fall Out Boy 5. “It’s too late to apologize” – Apologize, OneRepublic 6. “See that girl, watch that scene, dig in the dancing queen” – Dancing Queen, ABBA 7. “Hold me closer, tiny dancer” – Tiny Dancer, Elton John. 8. “Hit me with your best shot” – Hit Me With Your Best Shot – Pat Benatar 9. “Got my mind set on you” – Got My Mind Set On You, George Harrison 10. “It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not” – Livin’ On A Prayer, Bon Jovi. — Just an observation. For a girl who says she doesn’t like Bon Jovi, her blog sure mentions them a lot. Just sayin’.)


Filed under Marriage

61 responses to “Al And Tipper. John and Jane. We’re All Fighting Some Kind Of Battle.

  1. Raul

    It is sad that after 40 years a couple can say they have grown apart. I would think that is the point where you would say…we made it this far so we must be doing something right and there must be something there. It almost seems like running a race and right before you cross the finish line you say, “you know, I think I’m gonna stop because I’m kind of tired and running just doesn’t feel right.” Relationships are struggles but they are also filled with many joys. It’s a matter of allowing yourself to enjoy the joys and never dwelling too much on the struggles. I suppose none of us will know the true reasons behind the separation, but it does sadden me.

  2. Somehow, in the midst of May madness, I missed this news. But I think I much prefer getting it from your blog.

    Your thoughts on relationship difficulties come at an apt time. I’m carrying this with me today.

  3. Yes, that is really sad!
    I have been married 37 years and it feels like all marriages should be ‘safe’ at this stage – this makes me feel I should be working at it.

  4. My first marriage lasted 10 years. I “should” have ended it after one month but I stuck it out. No regrets because I have two fabulous sons as a result. Now I’m married again and the four of us are a real family.

  5. I have been married 24 years, but think it’s more luck than anything. We were not supposed to make it by all accounts. Had our son at our wedding, didn’t really know eachother all that well, etc..etc..
    Not sure what makes it work. Love your post and blog.

  6. Thoughtful, insightful, carefully spoken wisdom. Thanks for your perspective.

  7. Pingback: Al And Tipper. John and Jane. We’re All Fighting Some Kind Of Battle. |

  8. Good post….”Marriage is God’s schoolhouse for sanctification” as Martin Luther said (at least I think he said it!). As such, like school, it can be painful. Yet, the learning is purposeful.

  9. My parents split after forty-two years, eleven children, and two continents of shared work. As their second to youngest child, I knew it was probably a threat from the time I was seventeen; I was 26 when they actually divorced. Sixteen years later, it still bites in all the usual ways, a phenomenon I’ve spent a child’s usual amount of time trying to understand even though I’ve been divorced and remarried. It saddens me more to hear of long-married couples splitting. I guess I agree they should have some things worked out by then, they should be mature enough… etc. even though I realize the trouble can overtake any of us at any time. Love more…. the only remedy for love.

  10. interesting thoughts .

  11. I don’t know the Gores either, but I hope they are able to find love again. They always seemed like upstanding people. If they meet the criterion, perhaps they could consider going on the Millionaire Matchmaker program.

    The Codger

  12. It is true. Every one of us fights a battle. Kids in trouble, they don’t enjoy school, a young relative suffering from post-traumatic stress, our college graduated kids who can’t find a good paying job, or working at a job we dislike, because we are underappreciated or under paid. It could be taking care of an ill parent or a sibling that stopped communicating over a silly little comment made. If you don’t think we all have our burdens, and go through life without any, you really don’t know your friends. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jane.

  13. Lu

    Who would have thought that Al and Tipper would divorce? You would think the Clinton’s would be the first ones to do it, if you had to compare the two couples. Marriage is something that one hopes will last a life time. But one just never knows how long it will last. The news of a divorce is always sad to hear and read. At this point… One can only wish them the best.

  14. ck

    “Everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”

    Imagine how much more compassionate we’d all be if we *always* remembered that.

  15. Congrats on making the WP front page Jane.

    Yeah, I am not a fan of either person, but I was saddened to hear about their situation–that must be painful.

  16. While I’m not a fan of this couple it is always sad to hear of the ending of such a long relationship.
    I’ve been married 42 years and I guess I thought when I got to this place it would get easier. In some ways it has but in some ways it’s tougher. People change as they grow older (and hopefully wiser). Sometimes growth is not in the same direction. I wish them well and their kids. Though their kids are grown it will be tough on the whole family.

  17. As you know, divorce is hitting close to home for me right now. I have started to wonder if it is even possible for couples to stay together forever.

  18. izziedarling

    Great post. Was married 20 years when I got divorced. Two great daughters – the ultimate win. Feel exactly the same way – am always saddened when I hear about others divorcing, etc. Had similiar experiences as you when I divorced – disappearing friends killed me… at the time. The quote is awesome and perfect. And oh so true.

  19. Great post. So true. Al and Tipper. John and Jane. Mary Beth and Jim. I, too, don’t hide, but don’t brag about that first marriage either.

    I don’t feel sad when I hear about their divorce. I feel, Good for you! For me, the divorce was a time of rediscovering who I was — I did stand up comedy, stayed up late, ate cinnamon rolls and left the newspaper on the side of the bed.

    On the contrary, when I hear of people married for 50 years. I go, Really? That’s kind of sad. the same person in your bed that whole time? ugh! Ah, well…
    Thanks for the post. Got me thinking….

  20. Peg

    Congrats on making front page of freshly squeezed!

    Great post by the way! 🙂

  21. The Gores are a reminder to me that surviving the years isn’t the same as thriving in them.

  22. MoSop

    I’m so glad this positive post about a less-than-positive subject made the top of todays Freshly Squeezed! Thanks you for reminding all of us to see each situation through empathetic eyes.

    Mr. Mo and I just celebrated our 2oth year together. We survived the rocky 7-9 yr. itchy period, but are soon approaching the dreaded ’empty nest syndrome’, and if there’s anything I’ve learned so far, having that elusive “happily ever after” takes continual vigilance and ability to adapt. Not to mention that both parties have to be pulling 100% on the yoke. Sometimes despite our best efforts, things don’t go the way we planned. My mom had the courage to walk away from a long abusive marriage with 3 young children. She always taught us that ‘it’s not what life brings to you, but what you choose to do with it that counts’.

    Congratulations on doing great things with yours! – Cheers, Mo

  23. Aww i feel sorry for this couple. I feel especially sorry for their kids. Me and my brother grew up without a dad. I hope they are ok about their parents seperating.

  24. You are right. It pains me as well when I hear about the dissolution of a marriage. I am recently divorced and am still trying to pick up the pieces. When I tell someone I am divorced, their first reaction is shock and then they tilt their head to the side and go, ‘Oh don’t worry. you’ll find someone better who deserves you.’ I just smile and say thanks. But the truth of the matter is that their first thought is that I am worried. AND it feels like someone is looking through me with x-ray glasses. It’s strange.
    I am happy that you are working hard at your second marriage and I pray that one day I am lucky enough to find love again.
    Feel free to check out my blog. Last weekend I posted about my marriage and divorce. You may have some good advice.


    Keep blogging!


  25. islandmomma

    I came to this from WordPress’s homepage, so I am guessing you’re going to be getting a lost of comments from strangers today!

    When you said you lost friends when you divorced, I thought “Fickle friends, I actually lost mine by staying with the ex as long as I did”. Then I thought, “Friends? What friends? Yours or mine, they should have stood by us.

  26. Like many of the others here, I too, am saddened by this recent news about the Gores. Tho I also think that they have shown tremendous courage in choosing to acknowledge that, for whatever reasons, the relationship is not working anymore. That takes honesty, respect and admiration for each other too.

    I wish them (and all of us) the best, trying to navigate these choppy waters of love and relationships. We keep on keepin on 🙂

  27. I was so sad to hear about Al and Tipper too. Like you, I’d like to think that at some point a marriage enters a “safe zone” of sorts. But people change and grow and blossom at different times for all different reasons. It’s another reminder to never take for granted our own partnerships.

  28. Personally, I don’t get the boo-hooing over the demise of the Gore marriage. The reasons are glaringly simple to me. When the husband spends his time running around trying to save the world, he should instead be at home saving his marriage instead. His dubious crusade became more important than his wife and family.

  29. love the post and the honest words you put in it that helps other going through situations feel positive. I don’t think is never easy or ‘safe’ in any marriage. We all have to work a bit. It’s better to go separate that to stay stuck ( for the kids) and yes you are right to hesitate to call it a mistake because of the wonderful human(s) being(s) we women will stay connected to.
    We should never take for granted our partnership but a love contract is a contract. is sad but it takes tremendous courage to move on but sometimes it’s is the best.

  30. I couldn’t believe it either. They seemed so happy. I wonder how many other facades are out there.

    Congrats on your feature. So cool!

  31. 40 years is a darned long time to do anything –

    Marriages had a better chance when lives were shorter, don’t you think?

    Me? I’m terribly happy for both of them – daring to do what they wanted to do.

  32. Nice post and very well written. Sad situation to be sure but like you say, we all have battles! Thanks.

  33. Colin L Beadon

    Been there, done that. First marriage over twenty years, two fathomable sons, and a great ex-wife, though there were some difficult times till she tuned down. Second marriage sublime, now 29 years. Nobody left behind, nobody forgotten.

  34. suzicate

    disheartening, that it dissolved after 40 years. but we don’t know their lives and I’m not going to judge, but it does seem sad.

  35. You do very well at judging other mercifully. It’s a very nice quality.

  36. For some reason their separation is really tearing me up. I don’t know why… they gave me hope!

  37. good post. I know little about ‘the Gores’ as a couple, but I share your confusion and sadness about such a proven team tearing apart after 40 years.
    Like you, I also think that a 2nd marriage (or longtime relationship) is a chance to do it right and avoid the errors we all make.
    And I hope that being older and wiser, will protect us against the odd virus of ‘growing apart’ that seems to contaminate so many marriages, and sadly, even those that lasted for several decades…

  38. I like to think the same thing: that after 40 years of marriage my husband and me will have figured out how to deal with all the irks and annoyances of one another, and that love will prevail no matter what. I’m not naive; I know things change. But it’s kind of what I count on in my marriage. If things remained the same always, I think we’d both get bored and wander off.

  39. wempie

    It seemed to me that after 40 years and a political career, they had met head-on their toughest relationship challenges. To end it at this stage in life just seems like they are giving up. Even if they had “grown apart and were doing their own thing,” they still had enough love there to reignite some passion. At least it appeared that way to me.

    Great post.

  40. I would like to believe that after 40 years, you would have so many shared experiences you’d want to make an extra effort to continue on. But then again, we all change at different times of our lives, we all have different experiences, even if we are living together. Or maybe after a very long time, we just get bored. I prefer to believe that decision is never made without in depth consideration.

    I also found after my divorce that relationships with “friends” changed. The women in so many of our couples friends suddenly became withdrawn – I assume I suddenly became a threat. And my ex-husband’s best friend professed his attraction to me. Ohmigosh! Get out of here!

  41. Richard Muske

    Thank you for the reminder that we ALL have battles. I’ve completely avoided clicking on the CNN links regarding this topic, because I don’t want their counter to read that people are making this their own business. However, I knew I could trust your post simply by the title.

    We’re all in this together. Whatever our battle. We all struggle. Thank you again for your thoughts.

  42. Great writing. hope you will conrinue it.

  43. Sandy

    This is probably a situation where their marriage was over many, many years ago. Probably got to a point where they didn’t have the energy to keep pretending. Sad, but true. Also, they have the resources to live very comfortable separate lives. Many older spouses do not have the option.

  44. satiti

    Great post. I just read this news about Al and Tipper early this morning on my local newspaper. It is sad. I know how it feels like to grow separately after so many years together.

    We don’t really know ‘divorce’ in my country, though the rate is getting higher every year. In my family it’s still a taboo. I’ve seen many of my relatives keeping their marriage to the end. They don’t question philosophical questions like ‘Is he/she the one?’ or ‘Do I still love him/her?’. They just accept their partners and stick together till death do them part.

    I just don’t understand sometimes why people think that they can’t find any more love or reasons to stay after so many years together.

  45. I wrote about this similar thought yesterday and was excited to find your blog this morning. I always believed that there would be a time when you could count your marriage as safe – 12 years and counting and what I am learning is that there are no absolutes. I think it takes courage for a couple to make this choice after 40 years together. Better to do it respectfully – who knows where their paths will lead. I am enough of a romantic to hope it leads them to love.

  46. I like your post because it’s true. Everyone is fighting a battle. In the end either both or none are happy. And a whole bunch of bad things come out during the rough patch. In the end, you truly find out whether or not they were meant to be friends or not (or more than friends). 🙂 You have a good point

  47. I think the same thing about marriage…and especially this announcement. Marriage is hard; it totally blows at times; sometimes you need to get out; sometimes you just need to try harder and make it work. The grass is definitely not greener. I hope after 40 years, I love Matt more than I do right now. Fingers crossed.

    BTW, I got a lot of the lyrics right yesterday…I think that means I understand where the mistakes are coming from! LOL!

  48. Jane, you writing it was very inspiring.. I believe whatever it is the past is an experience that you’ve learned and today maybe a miracle will happen if you take the past as a lesson.

  49. Second marriage for me as well. I am also saddened by the Gore split after 40 years. You said it so well.

  50. I loved the line “The grass is not greener, just different.”

    I know about the loss of friends after a divorce. I had a small group to begin with and they flocked to his side. Said I was too negative and bitter. But isn’t that divorce at times, being negative and bitter because what you thought was going to last just won’t?

  51. I was shocked about Al and Tipper!! And I was disappointed in myself because my first thought was: who is the other woman?

    When did I become so jaded?

  52. chocophile

    There’s no safety. I got divorced after 29 years of marriage.

    Like so many others, I lost friends, suffered financially, and am still re-making my life.

    As a holistic psychotherapist I developed a 100% free website that provides support and resources for divorce, and all life’s transitions:

    If you, or anyone you know is going through this cosmic hazing, please feel free to take advantage of it. It really is free.

  53. Jane – I don’t know them either but I felt profound sadness when heard the news. For them and for marriage in general. Like you, I’m a divorcee who is in a wonderful relationship now and since I’ve “been down that road”, I’m not in a hurry to get married again but I haven’t written it off altogether.

    In fact, the romantic in me still wants to walk down that path with my sweetheart, the father of my child, but he is the modern non-believer type who does not understand why we need that piece of paper to sanctify what we have right now since we’re already doing everything most married couples are. And with each day, my argument wanes, and I saw the Al/Tipper story as the symbolic demise to my last thread of hope.

    Like you said, I also thought after 40 years they would have “Found ways to make the-once-endearing-but-now-annoying-habits tolerable. Discovered new joys about each partner.” Is that naivete on our parts? Or just optimistic because we want to be able to see that in ourselves in 40 years?

  54. oh how sad this makes me. I would think the years when the kids are young, sleep is at a minimum and careers are in question that most divorces occur. I’d think the later years are the ones free of all the stress. I hope to enjoy life so much more with my husband when we’ve been married that long. But I guess it’s the time without all the craziness that people realize, in the quiet of the day, that they aren’t happy with one another any more. 😦

  55. Pingback: Jane Finds God And A Whole Mess Of New Friends « Theycallmejane's Blog

  56. “They simply grew apart.” We’ve heard that a lot. This makes me worry more than the stories of infidelities (a la Tiger Woods). When two basically good people who genuinely like each other’s company (I am assuming this between Al and Tipper) found that they could no longer live as husband and wife, this really freaks me out. When they say you need to “work” at your marriage, I guess there is a lot of truth to it.

  57. sayitinasong

    Indeed. You never know what goes on behind closed doors, but you would think after 40 years…
    always sad.

  58. Gosh Jane, I could barely find my way down to this comment…..
    I felt sad for them too. But you and I really are on the same wavelength. I just today wrote a future post about how divorce is so isolating. Especially to women. Like you said: contagious. Do you mind if, when I post what I wrote today, I link to this post??

  59. These long time splits always make me sad and terrified. I wonder when they knew it was just a matter of time. If I don’t feel that way yet, am I safe after 15 years? I guess I should use this story as a lesson that I should never give up on working on the marriage, it is never too late to begin growing apart if you’re not careful. Thanks for the thoughts.

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