It’s all over the headlines that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are divorcing. Reasons cited include the Church of Scientology as the third party in the marriage and Katie’s growing apprehension about daughter Suri being raised as a Scientologist. But there are more fundamental reasons for their split that you can learn from—ways to approach a relationship that vastly minimize your odds of divorcing later.
Choosing a lifetime mate is critical to your future happiness. Studies show that women in particular suffer from making a poor choice of mate. But making a wise lifetime relationship choice involves complex dynamics—emotions, chemistry, analysis of compatibility, and more. It takes calendar time to assess true compatibility, so the number one mistake that couples make which results in a future divorce is acting out of a false sense of urgency to mate and procreate. Katie and Tom did that in spades—swept away on a tidal wave of hormones, they made two life-altering choices in the blink of an eye—creating a child, and getting married. Now, their daughter Suri will pay the real price as she is forced to grow up split between two homes.
Nothing is fool-proof and relationships unfold sometimes in unpredictable ways, but you can take some steps to avoid the biggest dating mistakes like Tom and Katie’s. Think of them as red caution flags to pay close attention to, temptations to overcome on the road to real love:
1. Don’t try to turn a fantasy into a real-life relationship. Katie Holmes notoriously shared in a Seventeen Magazine interview that she had a crush on Tom Cruise as a teenager and dreamed of marrying him someday. A fantasy mind-set covers up the reality of how flawed human beings really are. Katie married the fantasy version of Tom—handsome, charismatic, and wildly successful. What she got was a guy, and no one can live up to that much fantasy. Once she got to know him and his world, he wasn’t what she really wanted. Tom may be a terrific guy, but if he continues to choose women who are goo-goo eyed instead of mature and realistic, he will find himself going through yet another expensive divorce.
2. Never make a child with someone you don’t really know. Tom and Katie “dated” for all of about three months before getting pregnant. Once she was carrying Tom’s baby, the choosing was over for Katie, yet it’s impossible to really know someone at such an early stage in a relationship. Having a child with someone binds you to them for life. No matter how many expensive lawyers she hires, Katie will still have to negotiate with Tom over Suri’s welfare for decades to come. They will both attend the school events and the graduations, the weddings and the birth of grandchildren. Making sure that you weave that kind of lifetime tapestry with someone you like and respect is essential. Even better, take the time to know who you’re marrying so that you stand a far better chance of staying together. Children fare best in loving, two-parent homes.
Next: Religious incompatibity, hero-worship, and other warning signs...
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