Everybody wants to know what I think about Madonna’s public comments during her very public and rancorous divorce. I think they pretty much match her general public image, demeanor, and behavior. I have always found her incredibly objectionable, offensive and intentionally vulgar – all under the rubric of free-speech and free-spirit.
To start, I’m not convinced that most current celebrity marriages are indeed commitments of mind, body, and soul as they are intended to be (think Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward). For the most part, very ‘out there’ performers are exceedingly centered on themselves and want someone to adore them, serve them, be a reflection of their perceived wonderfulness or importance, fulfill a fantasy or simply put…the sex was great and the public relations aspect boosts their visibility.
When the so-called object of their affections becomes tiresome, more or less important or successful, demanding, and no longer reflects a narcissistic boost…they are dispensed with.
When a divorcing spouse makes public vulgar, insulting, and humiliating comments about the other spouse, children are devastated and tend to either compulsively go towards the attacked party to protect and defend them, or compulsively go towards the attacking parent so they won’t also be victimized by that parent. Either way, children become emotionally fragmented, confused, and distrustful – and that will likely be an issue for their whole lives, especially when they are ready to establish relationships.
Celebrities with the usual chaos in their personal lives are the fodder of media sales and ratings. Celebrities with quality relationships are ignored (Tom Selleck, for example).
These celebrity musical chair relationships are obviously not a great image for our impressionable youth. Quite frankly, most divorces don’t need to happen at all. Weathering lousy times is a sign of character and commitment. Most of the time when folks call me all angry and convinced they need to divorce, they are simplifying the situation because they haven’t taken the responsibility needed to help maintain a quality comradeship. I tell them short of abuse, addictions, and repetitive affairs, they should treat the one they want so much to leave as though they loved them with their last breath – for a month – and then watch and feel what happens.
If one parent decides to leave for selfish or foolish reasons, the truth of the situation can be spoken to the children without the nasty parts. For example, “Your mother, sadly, has decided to leave to be with a man she met on the internet. I’m hoping that she will find that she misses us all so much that she wants her life with us back. Until then, let’s pray and stay as positive as possible.”
This approach states the truth, which I believe children in this situation need, but opens the possibility for hope. Children will over time form their own conclusions when mama never calls, visits, or comes home. That parent will have destroyed the relationship with their children all by themselves.
I try to remind folks considering leaving for less than important reasons to stick around and create the kind of homelife that will best send their children into their adulthood with optimism and an open heart. I tell them that this is their moral obligation…to put themselves second.