Today, the pop-culture world is abuzz with the announcement of the break up of Tom Cruise’s and Katie Holmes’ marriage.  Much of the focus has been on the role played by Scientology and its “creepy,” “weird” nature (as described by Rupert Murdoch).  However as much as it might comfort us to blame the strange nature of Scientology, there are relationship lessons for those of us who don’t subscribe to that cult.

A lasting marriage is more than jumping on couches.

America paid attention to Tom Cruise’s marriage to Katie Holmes – well, because they are celebrities.  And in the absence of an official monarchy, pop-culture icons become our American Royalty.  So their lives are scrutinized for our enjoyment.  Can they also be examined for our edification?

In May 2005, Tom Cruise jumped onto Oprah Winfrey’s couch to proclaim his love for Katie Holmes.  The video went viral and our love affair, with their love affair, was born.

All along the way, ever since, we’ve been given carefully orchestrated doses of beautiful images of an exquisite love.  We’ve heard glowing statements of undying love and praise.  It was a picture-perfect marriage…a fairy-tale relationship that captured the attention of a nation.

So, today there’s nation-wide heartbreak at the news of Cruise’s and Holmes’ breakup, and we realize that a lasting marriage is more than jumping on couches.  It takes more than photo-ops and verbal professions.

If that’s all it took, then we’d assume that Cruise and Holmes would still be together.  Certainly, there were more than enough “public displays of affection.”  Yet, beyond the public eye, in the real-world that exists for every relationship – behind closed doors, there was discord.

Do we know what the discord was?  It’s been reported…but we can never know for certain.  Moreover, it doesn’t really matter.  What does matter?

If a lasting marriage is more than jumping on couches, what is entailed?

If we look at reports, we’re told that Katie Holmes was “Afraid Tom Would Ship Suri
To Radical Scientology Org.”  People can focus on the strange details of Scientology’s “Sea Org.”  But, I prefer to look at those common issues that destroy what appears to be the most perfect of loves.

Being individuals, we all have different ideas and varying values.  As a “man of the cloth,” I would say that faith and issues of faith are of primal concern to any relationship’s health.  Disagreements in this arena could be fatal…as Cruise’s and Holmes’ marriage demonstrates.  Worse still, there is a child involved – who had no role in their decision to marry nor in their decision to start a family.

Did Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes discuss how to unite their varying faith perspectives?  Did they create (together) a vision of how that perspective would shape their family?  Did Tom and Katie consider how they would raise their child, prior to conception?

I know this may seem outdated and a bit contrived, but a lasting marriage is more than jumping on couches.  So, it’s smart for us to seriously consider these things and their practical implications.  Romance is great and is a vital part of any thriving relationship.  And, where romance meets practicality (where heart and head converge) is the foundation of a lasting marriage.

What do you think?  Do you think Tom Cruise’s and Katie Holmes’ marriage would have lasted if they were clear on those expectations?  What about you?  In your relationships, do you have these discussions?  Have you and your spouse (or, potential spouse) discussed these matters and come to a shared perspective?  Do you think a shared perspective is necessary?  Post your opinions below.  I’d love to know your thoughts…

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