Earlier this week, the news broke that former VP-turned-environmental-“guru” Al Gore and his wife of forty years, Tipper Gore, were separating. The Gores were the ultimate Washington, D.C. power couple who avoided scandal (apart from some weird, disputed claims that Gore had a hand in the invention of the Internet and was the inspiration for “Love Story”), unlike Gore’s boss in the ’90’s, Bill Clinton. Nearly fifteen years after Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky broke, the Clinton’s are still together and the Gore’s are now on the outs.
I don’t agree with much of Gore’s politics. I agree even less with his environmental views. Tipper’s raising awareness for mental illness is commendable. But there’s one thing I’m certain of concerning the Gore’s:
I’ve been married for almost twelve years. My wife and I have both made our fair share of mistakes (I’m certain I’ve made most of them!), but I cannot imagine calling it quits and having to start over. The Gore’s had already been married twenty-eight years when my wife and I got married. Now in their early sixties, they now face the reality of starting over, should their separation lead to divorce.
Right now, the reasons for the separation are unknown (and really are no one’s business). What is known is that the Gore’s have lived very separate lives for several years, especially since Al’s crusade to stop global warming made him an eco-star. Neighbors commented that more often than not, Al stayed for short amounts of time between his environmental lectures. It’s possible that all that happened was, well, busyness. They both were too busy to really work on their marriage. They may have put each other on the back burner to pursue other things, and rather than stop the other things to work on themselves, they called it quits. It’s nothing short of tragic.
It is easy to set the cruise control in marriage. It is easy to let the busyness of life get in the way of working on that commitment. I’m constantly realizing how vigilant I have to be when it comes to loving my wife the way she needs (she usually reminds me!). In order to make the coming years the best of our marriage, I know I have to take the lessons learned from the mistakes of the past and intentionally work to strengthen our commitment and realize our goal for our marriage: to make Jesus known to others through our commitment.
Are you intentionally working on your marriage, or are you set on autopilot?