I’ve seen too many friends and acquaintances leap into “lightning marriages”—I am borrowing from the Italian phrase matrimoni lampo—as well as all the horrifying high-profile Hollywood cases such as Kim Kardashian’s recent split-second marital debacle, so I started to research the main reasons for divorce. Asking any married couple on the planet why they fight will yield the same set of reasons. So why do people marry in the first place?
People marry for a variety of reasons in the name of “love”: money, social status, because everyone else is doing it, the desire for children, fear of being alone, or merely an excuse to have a party. All of these reasons are packaged into a nice little box that people refer to as “love,” and herein lies a substantial initial miscommunication.
Divorce’s primary cause is the misunderstanding of what “love” means. The “love” many people cite when they talk about marriage is nothing more than a love of self. It means the other person should put you first and do what you want. They should give you their money, let you bask in their social success, reap the benefits of their fame, and keep you company—essentially the other person should do and give everything for you and your happiness. It takes roughly a four-year-old’s brain capacity and emotional maturity to generate this definition of love. My four-year-old said to me the other day, “If I love you and you love me, then you do what I say!” The problem is that this bastardization of love will not hold until death do you part, or even as long as a transatlantic flight, because it means you are simply looking for a person who loves you, not for someone you love back. But people still try, believing it is enough merely to be loved. Mutiny and divorce inevitably ensue.
Divorce’s second cause is not merely a difference in priorities and expectations, but a whopping, awe-inspiring gap between reality and expectations. Why the abysmal dichotomy? Well, “love” is now created in a studio and bombarded into our houses as entertainment. It becomes a beautiful, shiny, and seemingly realistic alternate reality presented to you every moment of every waking day. It is responsible for this ever-growing gap between what is real and expected and what is fantasy and unknown. These TV husbands bring you breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day, they remember your birthday and anniversary and never forget to send flowers or throw surprise parties, they are never grumpy or tired—in essence, they are flawless.