Yet another Hollywood marriage bites the dust. We begin wonder if there is any hope for us non-celebrities in love? After all, on paper, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, seemed to have the fairytale marriage: he a successful heart throb, her the quintessential innocent princess. They both seemed to be so in love and so rich!
It came as no surprise that this marriage ended badly. Tom Cruise obviously chose Katie Holmes, but did Katie really choose him? While she was enthralled with being swept off her feet by an attentive and loving Tom, she was not on board with what was to come next.
It would appear that Tom Cruise chose Katie Holmes in the hope that she would be willing to accept his lifestyle, no questions asked. Maybe he felt that Katie was young and impressionable enough to accept life on his terms. Although Tom managed to work his magic for longer than expected, the glass house soon came crashing down.
While it is very hard not to like Tom Cruise and to admire his achievements, it is difficult to understand his choices especially when it comes to his religion: Scientology. In a world of free choices and free will, it really should not matter what religion Tom Cruise chooses to practise. However, it becomes a deal breaker when your wife is not on board. Tom is not the only person to have to face this dilemma, I have a friend who married a Muslim man and only when their first ,child was born, did he begin to enforce the need for both his wife and child to convert to Islam. As a devoted wife, my friend converted but she secretly confessed to me that if she had known about this before, she probably would never have married him. Three years later and like Katie Holmes, she too is planning her escape.
So what can we learn from this divorce and marriage? There are a couple of obvious points.
Firstly, always discuss life plans with a potential partner before walking down the aisle.
Religion, kids, animals, family are all key issues which must be discussed openly and honestly. If you desperately want to have kids and the other person is not interested in having kids, that is a deal breaker, don't assume you can change their minds.
Secondly, never go into a marriage trying to change or tweak the other person.
If you cannot accept them as they are, then walk away before you end up like Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. I think, Tom hoped that Katie would just accept her new life, and that he could tweak little inconsistencies in her behaviour. For instance, he maintained a distance from Katie's family. Many times people who want to control the behaviour of others will actively cut them off from their support group. It is easier to influence someone who has no one to question their decisions.
Thirdly, take care not to lose yourself in the relationship.
If you become attached at the hip and you lose who you are, if the marriage ends, you will find that you feel empty and hopeless. It is always a good idea to be able to be self-sufficient even though you are in a relationship. Katie, may not have this issue as she is well off. However, in normal terms, some women remain with abusive men simply because they cannot fend for themselves and their children. There are a lot of wealthy men who hold executive positions in companies and are completely controlling of their wives. I worked for a battered women's clinic and I had to opportunity to see this first hand. It is disheartening to know that a woman stays to give her children the life they deserve while she is treated as a mere punching bag.
Fourthly, always remember that when dating the person is putting on their best behaviour.
If you spot inconsistencies or issues in this dating period, deal with them realistically. Think to yourself that if this is their best behaviour and I have issue with it now, what happens when we are married and two to three years in, can I really put up with these traits? Sometimes it is hard to walk away, but you may just be saving your life in doing so.
I always feel sad when people get divorced, especially when children are involved. However, divorce is a personal decision and if that person believes that it is the best option for them and their loved ones, then all we can do is to support them. From the outside you can have all sorts of opinions, but unless you are a fly on the wall, and with that family day in day out, I really think that you should be kind to them and withhold judgement. Sometimes the person may be too embarrassed to tell you exactly why they left.
To be a good friend and listener is to just be there and to offer no solutions, the person comes to what's best for them in their own time.