The recent announcement of the separation and impending divorce between Al and Tipper Gore has caused sadness. Divorce is certainly difficult under any circumstances. However, with nearly a fifty percent divorce rate, one would think most people would shrug and move on.
Perhaps it was the kiss. Perhaps it was the various life struggles they seemed to overcome. It is possible it is simply the fact that they were married for forty years.
It still seems that many in our society want to nurture the thoughts of "growing old" with someone. The thought is that if you overcome raising children, careers, financial highs and lows and perhaps a mid-life crisis, the saying "till death do us part" becomes a reality.
This mindset however is changing. People are living longer, they are more active and may have high expectations of the quality of their life in later years. Their spouse may not share their long term life goals and they simply remain nothing more than roommates or ships passing in the night.
People may want to embrace freedom and independence and feel that they have grown apart from the person they married. If both people want the divorce or agree that they should part ways, it is unlikely to be a contentious and ugly divorce.
This of course does not make it easier on adult children, who may still experience shock, sadness and fear. It is therefore important for the two people divorcing to be cognizant and understanding regarding the emotions of their children.
Another issue to consider are finances. Unless finances are not a problem, a divorce in later life can cause a reduced standard of living. If retired, people's ability to reclaim wealth may be limited.
All of these issues should be considered before two people make a decision to divorce. The decision however should be respected by others. The truth is that no-one really knows what goes on in an intimate relationship, such as a marriage. It is important to respect two people's decision and provide emotional support and friendship to them. This is true whether divorce occurs after ten years or forty years of marriage.