Sure, their marriage is on the rocks. But that doesn't mean we can't learn from it.
Over the past few months, the tabloids have knocked themselves out trying to come up with new and elaborate details about the deteriorating marriage of Jon and Kate Gosselin, stars of TLC's top-rated reality show, Jon & Kate Plus 8.
Stories have included a "confirmation" from 23-year-old schoolteacher/homewrecker Deanna Hummel's brother/roommate that she's brought Jon back to their place for loud sex; allegations from various "sources" that Kate has been carrying on her own affair with bodyguard Steve Neild; and even assessments from body language experts about how Jon's demeanor on camera shows he's a "broken man" (as if we really needed an expert to tell us this). Read: Jon Out Late, Minus Kate
One story we haven't seen, however, is about the rich, valuable lessons we can take away from this whole Jon & Kate debacle. And yes, we know there are many — because if our grandmothers, nursery school teachers, and that weird inspirational office art in the conference room have taught us anything over the years, it's that we can always learn from our mistakes — no matter how disasterous they are.
1. If you really love someone, you don't let cameras film every second of your relationship. Have Nick and Jessica, Carmen and Dave, and the Hogan family taught us nothing? Unless it's a 22-minute episode of the Family Feud or a brief interview segment on the Today Show about America's greatest hubbies, you do not mix marriage with national TV. Ever.
2. The road to divorce is paved with controlling women. Women who treat their husbands like servants and talk to them like children shouldn't be surprised when said husbands begin to stockpile resentments, recoil from the occasional expression of tenderness, and run around with questionable company in suburban Pennsylvania. Read: Can Powerful Women Find Love?
3. Rolling your eyes whenever your wife opens her mouth will not fix the fact that she has no respect for you. It's hard not to make dumb faces when your wife constantly talks to you as though you're stupid. But if Jon and Kate have taught us anything, it's that passive aggressive clowning will not make your spouse suddenly perceive you as intelligent or competent. Read: He Thinks Your Feedback Is Nagging
4. If you don't want people to think you're having an affair, don't act like you're having an affair (or: the problem with running around with questionable company in suburban Pennsylvania; see point 3). Jon has insisted repeatedly that he and his schoolteacher friend were just "being innocent and hanging out" when the paparazzi snapped them sunbathing and riding around in his car at all hours. Maybe. But it's hard not to wonder: What married man behaves this way who's not having an affair?
5. Multiples are a wonderful way to ruin your relationship. A singleton means you'll be up all night. Twins mean you'll be up around the clock. Triplets (or more) mean you'll be heading to divorce court before you know it. Even Kate admits she knows about the gloomy statistics. "Parents of multiples have like three times the divorce rate," she says in the season 5 premiere of Jon & Kate Plus 8, "And [I thought] we were gonna beat that, but I'm not sure I can say that anymore."
6. Don't rush things. Jon and Kate met when she was only 22 and he was a mere 20. Three years later, they were married and parents to twins Cara and Mady. And less than three years after that, they were expecting the sextuplets. Maybe if they'd slowed things down a bit, Jon and Kate would have been able to develop the skills necessary to nurture their relationship a little more and fight over diaper duty a little less. Read: The Ups and Downs of Marrying Young
7. Don't marry a man who already has a girlfriend or a woman who interrupts you. In a now-classic episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8 entitled "How We Got Here," the heads of the Gosselin family explain how they met. Kate says they were both at a picnic and it was love at first sight. Jon then begins to say, "I had a girlfriend at the time," but Kate quickly interrupts, saying, "She was gone the next day." Ah, love. It's so grand that you can't see the millions of red flags waving around you, even when you're the one waving them. Read: Bad Advice: Being The Other Woman