Forty years and done. Another long-term marriage has reached its expiration date. Sources close to Al and Tipper Gore say there is no infidelity, they just grew apart, and I believe them. It’s an inconvenient truth. Today’s society is so filled with fast-paced, mind-absorbing, time-consuming clutter that we many times tune out what is of substance in our lives. I admit it, I do it. Just one more report, just one more meeting, just one more presentation, just one more blog, and then I think, STOP.
I heard this morning that friends of the Gores have commented that Tipper is at a point in her life where she is wanting to relax and have fun, and Al is very absorbed in his work and his causes. I have no idea if this is true, Al, but if it is, when I call you, I will call you stupid. Take a vacation, the Earth won’t be that much warmer when you get back.
No matter what you do, relationships change over the years, and priorities become a complete metamorphosis of origin. You don’t have to invent the Internet, win a Nobel prize, or come out on the sensical short end of rock, paper, scissors with the Supreme Court to put stress on a marriage. The demands of career, family, and finances seem to consume the best of us. Just this weekend, Randi and I were humorously reflecting on our chronology and the memories of our first year. You know, the lust year, legs over your head, “Marco”…”Polo”. We wondered what we talked about and then decided that we didn’t.
The years, the experiences, and the trials have transformed us and have made us better. I resist comparing our years to wine; there are some pretty bad wines out there, and they just get more acidic with age. I guess it is more metaphorically appropriate to compare our relationship to cheese. (I know, honey. I can hear you saying that you hate cheese, but humor me here.) We do improve with age…but we have to scrape the mold off occasionally.
I have been asked what works. Hell, other than a lot of trial and error, and sometimes a little respectful arguing, I’m not altogether sure. Though it’s probably too late for the former Vice President, I say turn off the electronics…all of them. Have a real conversation. What’s a real conversation? A real conversation is any in-person attentive interaction that involves listening. Schedule alone time together. Believe me, there is nothing anti-climatic about scheduling romance. Waiting for spontaneity in this busy world can get you a Friday night in bed cuddled up with Twitter and your cats. Get out those fancy smartphones and do something intelligent. Thursday evening at 7:00? I’ll be there. Set a reminder, make it recurring, and add a note to self: bring small, but thoughtful gift.
What was once a mutual leap of faith is now a very comfortable place to fall. However, it is imperative that I realize my life partnership is not a Comfort Inn where I can check in and check out on the emotional cheap. Sometimes I have to step back, wipe away the distracting schmootz, and pay attention. If I don’t, I deserve the collateral damage, the visceral carnage, and, yes, the eventual Gore.