Was anyone surprised that Kim Kardashian got a divorce after 72 days? Why not? Because we’ve learned that famous couples struggle and more often than not, have failed marriages. What is it about being famous that seems to demand multiple failed marriages?
For one, it’s hard to remember that being famous in no way indicates a personality that is any healthier than the rest of humanity. We ascribe to them superhuman qualities that makes them impervious to all ills but the truth is that the famous are as vulnerable and challenged as everyone else. Now imagine how complicated it is to have a successful marriage? In fact, the large majority (70% in my national research) of people who marry are either divorced or unhappily married.
Here’s 3 significant issues that celebrity marriages have to deal with that all of us can learn from:
Number 1: Imagine how stressful life is on a good day and then add the incredible pressure of being an enormously popular figure. How hard it is to get your spouse to focus on you over dinner at your favorite restaurant without glancing at his Iphone? Can you imagine what would happen if everyone around you or even camera flashes were staring you down?
When you’re famous, everything becomes stressful. What you’ll be wearing tonight might cross your mind a few times when you’re only worried about bumping into friends when out with your spouse. How many more times does it cross your mind when the whole world will be viewing? This added life stress is so disruptive to a celebrity marriage, it takes superhuman effort (or rather, unusually healthy communication and a real plan to find private time for love) to make it work. Of course, in the Kardashian case, the public viewing of all things Kardashian is warmly invited. Publicity is supremely appreciated, above all apparently.
Number 2: What’s the one thing every marriage needs a lot of? Sacrifice and the ability to negotiate differences. Not easy for the average spouse; practically impossible for the celebrity. When you walk around all day with people fawning over you and giving you high fives for every thought you have in your head, it’s not easy to hear your spouse critique you or request you do something outside your comfort zone (which to certain celebs could translate to anything other than what that celeb would like to do). And the wealthier and more famous you are, the harder it is to change yourself or your plans at the request of another.
Number 3: Most celebrities live a life of spousal separation and don’t realize it. They think it’s what spouses do, spend weeks and months away from each other while doing their famous thing. But true love needs consistant vibrancy brought by warm sharing and giving. Love isn’t built on check-ins here and there and fun weekends in between long swaths of separated time.
What can we all learn from celebrity marriages and their unfortunate failures? It takes a great deal of focus and loving work to make a marriage successful. We can’t just do our thing and figure true love will work no matter what. True love is when two people care enough going into marriage to create an environment that will properly nurture their mutual love. Take time tonight to hug and kiss your spouse and let him/her know how important love is. Then make a plan to get out for an evening and enjoy each other; hopefully there won’t be any cameras in your way.
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M Gary Neuman is a New York Times best-selling author, and creator of Neuman Method Programs. He was on the Oprah show 11 times as well as having made multiple appearances on Today, Dateline, the View, NPR and others. Oprah referred to Gary as “One of the best psychotherapists in the world.”