I don’t want to argue that all marriages can or should be saved. At the same time, our brains are highly malleable—with practice we can change behavior habits we thought were permanent. It’s not easy, but with dedication you and your spouse can reshape your marriage interactions.
When it comes to celebrity marriages like Kim Kardashian’s and Katy Perry’s, I believe they could have tried a little harder to make their unions last. Asked if she had “Fought for her marriage” on Sunrise talk show, she only answered that she left him because her intuition told her, “He just isn’t the one.” This intuition is a valid concern, but not a valid reason for divorce alone. Anyone who has deep enough feelings about someone to marry him should seek marriage help before getting a divorce—especially only 72 days later.
But not all divorces are like Kim’s. Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise were married for 5 years and went through their share of struggles. The entirety of their marriage was plagued by gossip about Cruise’s Scientology faith negatively impacting the family. It now seems that the role of Scientology in their daughter Suri’s upbringing is a key point in the divorce. The dark undertones of their relationship reflect good reasons for divorce.
What are good reasons for divorce? They all involve abusive, damaging behavior where your spouse shows no sign of reform:
1. Your spouse is controlling. He/she attempts to manipulate you and/or control your friends, activity, behavior or money by the use of threats, put-downs, criticism, excessive guilt or anger.
2. Your spouse has cheated repeatedly. One infidelity does not necessarily spell doom—with lots of work, your marriage can recover and thrive. However, repeated affairs mean your spouse unlikely to change his ways no matter what.
3. There are unaddressed addictions. You should consider leaving if your spouse has damaging problems with gambling, drugs, alcohol, or other behavior and refuses or continues to avoid getting treatment.
4. There is an unaddressed mental disorder. Many couples live with mental disorders and have strong marriages. At the same time, if your spouse refuses to get treatment for a damaging or dangerous disorder, you should consider ending your marriage. It is the best for both of you.
5. Your spouse is violent with you or others, or mistreats children. This is the most resounding “YES” to the question “Should I get a divorce?” Remove yourself and your children from this situation immediately and seek professional help.
It seems Tom Cruise was controlling; it seems like he violated trust in their relationship; and membership in a consuming and restrictive religion can combine elements of addiction, control, and mental disorder. Katie Holmes’ concerns over the impact of it all on Suri provides even more support for divorce. Then again, this is all my guesswork about the nature of their relationship.
I wish Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ divorce to be an easy one, especially for Suri’s sake. No matter how entertaining celebrity divorces are, there are real people and emotions behind them. I do hope however that other couples, instead of following these celebrities' example, will figure out how to fix their marriage rather than so quickly giving up on it.