Cultural Commentary: John and Kate Gosselin and state of marriage in America

Recently the fceractured marriage of John and Kate Gosselin has been in the news.  The pair became famous after establishing a reality television show chronicling their attempts to parent their eight children.  The couple has one pair of twins and sextuplets.   However, in April the couple on air for a season finale announced their separation and pending divorce. It was the highest rated episode of the show ever.  The marriage reached a failure point connected at a minimum to Kate’s  chasing fame, and John chasing other women.  Yet, the roots to the marriage failure were there well before those elements surfaced.  They reached their goals of children, felt the other didn’t satisfy wants or expectations, and went after the paths that attracted them, leading to the marriage destruction.

There is no shortage of rumors regarding the difficulties of this couples marriage. Any signs of fight or conflit make assorted news providers and blogs around the Internet.     According to Associated Press, Kate Gosselin made a recent appearance on Regis and Kelly and Regis suggested that the marriage still has hope of being repaired.  Kate responded with, “I can’t say that I think you’re right, at all.”  The end of this marriage is sad, yet it is a common result of marriage in the United States.  According to varied sources the divorce rate is at 40-50% of marriages end in divorce. John and Kate simply reflect what transpires in the culture at large.

Unfortunately according to George Barna research Christians are not indistinguishable from anyone else regarding divorce rate according to a Christian Post article. So the question is why do marriages so frequently end in divorce? Why is there no difference between Christians and other people? The prime reason in general is because people take a self-focused approach to marriage.  The focus is on what the partner is doing to display love or meet the interpersonal needs for the other.  It can easily become about what is lacking versus focusing on building each other up.

In general, couples have a hard time doing the work to keep the relationship together.  The Bible gives clear directives on the need to focus on each other in a marriage. The husband is to love his wife as Jesus loves the truth. Think about that for a minute. Jesus stands by and loves us when we are unfaithful or even directly turning our back on Him.  Such love is very difficult, because it in essence but the needs and cares of the wife first.  Now the wife is simply submit and respect the husband, just as we believers are to do with Jesus.  If we had this other focus, marriages would be much healthier and divorce rates much lower.  Now, admittedly this author is far from this standard of relationship in marriage. Yet, it is these essential principles that are a core to marital health.

The fact is divorce, while painful and destructive to all those involved, is a ready out. It is seen as an escape when there is significant damage to self.  Many folks even point to the stated Biblical standards where divorce is appropriate.   When there is the betrayal of adultery in a marriage, the idea of divorce comes too readily.   Yet, if we are to have the mind of Jesus and given the Biblical directives for relationships, divorce should be the last course.

Sadly, separation does not come at times when it should. When a spouse not only fails to interact with Biblical love, but engages in direct, specific harm to a spouse through assorted forms of abuse, then the way of love is to separate and pray for repentance.  Reconciliation should come with significant evidence of repentance and change.

Marriage takes work. There are several sound Christian resources on the Internet that can help with the assorted struggles a couple can encounter in marriage.  Here are a few:

There are certainly other resources out there. If you are in a marriage is struggling or seems to be coming to an end, please look into any of the linked resources.  Besides those resources, please consider seeking sound biblical based marriage counseling. At a minimum, seek support and prayer from any around you willing to stand by you.  If you lack support, at a minimum spend time praying daily for your spouse and work to display love.


One Response

  1. I believe the marriage was in trouble from the beginning, and Kate probably thought that more kids would save it.

    I feel that Jon never really grew up, and that Kate has been his ‘mother’ since she met him. It’s a role she obviously desires. She wants to be a mom. There’s nothing wrong with that.

    Their dynamic was probably fine until she actually had kids…which she rushed into.

    I think then Jon didn’t step up to the plate and she became ‘bossy’…for the purpose of their survival.

    For some reason, lots of women think that adding children to a troubled marriage will ‘fix’ it. So they added, unintentionally, 6 more.

    Now, when you’ve got eight kids and a partner that you STILL have to mother as well, it’s a recipe for disaster.

    Add to that cameras 7/24, instant public recognition, money and girls throwing themselves at Jon (to get in on the fame train) and you’ve got a weak husband who breaks.

    I don’t think the marriage is reparable, and I don’t think it should have ever taken place.

    Jon is loving the attention and has left the building. Young girls throwing themselves at him are far more alluring to an immature man than a wife with eight kids.

    She will be raising these kids herself. He’s almost completely out of the picture. As soon as there’s no more cameras rolling, no more money to be made off his children’s backs, this guys’s outta there.

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