Whatever your political inclinations, it's got to strike you as a sad thing when a couple that's been married for 40 years gets a divorce. I mean, FORTY YEARS. One would think that if there was an issue of incompatibility, it would have come up long ago.
For those of us who are happily married and want to stay that way, it's also a little spooky. I mean, in many respects Al and Tipper Gore seemed to have a story-book romance. They met at their high school prom, married after college, had four kids and seemed to have survived a variety of events with their passion undiminished. During the Clinton years, the contrast between faithful Al and his devoted wife Tipper and the philandering Bill and occasionally sharp-tongued Hillary seemed marked. Yet, Bill and Hillary are still together and Al and Tipper are not.
Who knows why their marriage broke up? Sometimes not even the people in a marriage know why a marriage dissolves. Certainly it's none of our business, and it's sort of nice to see that Al and Tipper are going to maintain a certain level of dignity and not air their dirty linen for the public. However, like rubber neckers looking at a wreck, some of us are still curious about what happened. And, going beyond mere speculative curiousity, we wonder if there are lessons we can learn to avoid the same outcome in our own marriage.
One theory that I give credence to re. the Gore's marriage - they grew apart after he lost his Presidential bid and became a global warming warrior. He was traveling the world, wrapped up in his quest to save it from climate change, and Tipper was left at home... perhaps she shared his beliefs, perhaps she didn't, but regardless, his being constantly away took a toll on their sense of togetherness.
Yet, many marriages succeed despite distance or dissimilar interests. The marriage of James Carville and Mary Matalin comes to mind. She's a Republican strategist, he is a Democratic one, yet they apparently have a very happy marriage. Many people are married to people in the military or in other fields where they are away from home quite a bit, yet somehow the marriage survives and even thrives.
The reality is that there are many things that stress a marriage and can contribute to its failure, however, myriads of couples manage to deal with these types of stress without turning to divorce. Perhaps it really comes down to something as simple as commitment to each other and the will to work at it no matter what. Perhaps Al and Tipper simply lost the will to keep their marriage going.