‘We Love Each Other So Much, We’re Getting Divorced’

By Jennifer Hartline Published on April 11, 2018

“We have lovingly chosen to separate as a couple. We fell deeply in love so many years ago and have had a magical journey together. Absolutely nothing has changed about how much we love one another, but love is a beautiful adventure that is taking us on different paths for now. There are no secrets nor salacious events at the root of our decision — just two best-friends realizing it’s time to take some space and help each other live the most joyous, fulfilled lives as possible. We are still a family and will always be loving dedicated parents to Everly. … Chan&Jenna”

This was the announcement given by Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan recently.

We’re meant to read that and let out a gentle, “Aww, that’s too bad. Well, good for them.” We’re meant to marvel at their mature deliberation and open-mindedness, at their enlightened understanding of love and relationships and individual journeys. We’re meant to applaud their courage in taking such a positive, self-affirming step.

Ah, no.

It’s pure poppycock. Absolute nonsense. Total rubbish.

This is Not Love

There’s a dangerous philosophy lurking here that goes way beyond Channing and Jenna personally. What Channing and Jenna are doing is not loving or brave or beautiful. Repeat: this is not love.

Love never leads us to break apart our family. Love never leads us to abandon our marriage vows. It never tells us our beautiful journey together is at an end and now it’s time to go our separate ways even though we still love each other and even though we promised we’d be together ’til death.

Each parent is half of who the child is. When the parents reject each other, they are rejecting half of the child.

— Jennifer Roback Morse, from the Foreword of Primal Loss

(We are not talking here about truly abusive marriages and relationships in which people are in danger, so don’t even go there.)

Love never ever ever leads us to take a wrecking ball to our child’s home and family. Channing and Jenna have a daughter who will now bear the multi-faceted lifelong wound of a broken family, thanks to her parents’ “love.”

Don’t believe that? Listen to the adults who told their stories of how their parents’ divorce really affected them, and consider why every single one of them spoke only on condition of anonymity. Read Primal Loss: The Now-Adult Children of Divorce Speak.

The Narrative is a Lie

The popular narrative — a narrative that Channing and Jenna no doubt believe and count on — says that their little girl will understand. That as long as her parents are happy, she’ll be happy. Kids are resilient. She’ll be just fine.

Here’s the reality of what divorce teaches: Love ends. You can love someone today and not love them tomorrow. Love sometimes means you leave the person you say you love, because it’s better for you. The journey is magical, but only for a while. Nothing is secure or dependable or lasting.

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Divorce teaches us the vows we made yesterday are not binding on tomorrow. Nobody really means it when they say “’til death us do part.” You fall deeply in love, but it’s fickle and temporary. It comes swiftly and strongly, then goes with a whimper and a shrug.

This is a destructive, empty, and twisted version of love that bears no resemblance at all to the genuine article. To claim that love compels you to forsake your promises and your spouse is a truly seductive fiction.

What Vows? What For?

This is also a warped and empty view of marriage. Marriage in our society has been reduced to simply a celebration of feelings. It’s only logical that marriage can end when the feelings change. The lynch-pin is still “my happiness,” so if the marriage is no longer serving my happiness, then it’s time to take it all apart and move on.

This pseudo-love just doesn’t jibe with vows. It seems more like couples playing house until one or both of them decides their journey is taking them elsewhere. They should just be honest with each other up front: Admit that once the feelings change, they’ll change their “agreement.”

Channing and Jenna’s statement insist they are best friends and their love for each other has not changed. Why must they divorce? Whatever they say, love has nothing to do with it.

Fractured Lives

Their statement speaks poetically of their desire to help each other live joyous, fulfilled lives. Does it not occur to them that for their daughter to live her most joyous and fulfilled life, she needs her parents together under the same roof, keeping the vows they made to each other? That she needs her family intact? They want joyous, fulfilled lives for themselves, but their daughter gets a fractured life.

If I knew where to send it, I would gladly mail Channing and Jenna each a copy of Primal Loss. I pray they’d both be brave enough to read it and cancel their divorce. Love isn’t leading them to abandon their marriage. Love is calling them to be faithful, for worse or for better.

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  • John Connor

    The author passes judgement with little to no information other than a message sent out by the couple. There’s no telling what’s going on between these folks. And to the Aniston that they stay together simple lay for the sake of their child is ridiculous at best. Judge not lest ye be judged.

    • James

      If their relational problems are serious, then the downplaying is rubbish.

      One way or the other, the statement is rubbish.

    • Jennifer Hartline

      “Simply for the sake of their child”? As though that’s a trivial, inconsequential reason. No married couple should be required to keep their vows “simply” for the sake of their child, right? Who cares if we demolish the child’s world?
      This is the lie of the divorce narrative. The kids suffer tremendously, for the rest of their lives when their parents divorce. Staying together for the sake of the children is not a bad reason, and couples who prioritize their children’s well-being can often find a way to resolve their marital crisis and love one another better.

      • John Connor

        If two people have irreconcilable differences, they need to dissolve the marriage, not staying together for the sake of the children. Not all children suffer due to divorce. Some of that comes from the nature of the divorce itself, ie bad or amicable divorce

        • Liz

          Keep telling yourself that.

          • John Connor

            I will

          • Chester Courtland

            No Liz, John is right. The children will benefit if the divorce isn’t filled with a lifetime of acrimony. If the child sees the parents interacting in a civil way, it will lessen the blow. If the divorce is acrimonious, with the parents speaking ill of each other when they are with the child, then the child will pick up on that and then you’ll see issues develop.

          • Jennifer Hartline

            Chester, I can only encourage you to read Primal Loss. Even a “good” divorce is a bad one. Children of divorce carry the wounds for life. Don’t believe me. Listen to the people telling the truth first-hand.

          • Chester Courtland

            Jennifer, a bad marriage is a toxic marriage that has the two parents bickering with each other in front of the children. That is extremely harmful for children to experience and it leads to a lifetime of anxiety and distrust for some. Staying together for the sake of the children is a horrible thing for all parties. It’s better for the children to to eliminate that kind of behavior because that’s the kind of behavior that can be learned and carried into adulthood.

          • Jennifer Hartline

            There are more than two options. It’s not “stay together miserably fighting” or “get divorced”. There is the best option: keep your vows by loving one another as you are supposed to. Model for your children what marriage means, and how adults should behave. Show your kids what it means to keep a promise.
            There is no such thing as a divorce which does not harm the children.
            Again, I encourage you to actually read the words of the adults who wrote Primal Loss. If you dare.

          • Chester Courtland

            That’s not always possible and if you’re honest with yourself, you would know this. Staying in a bad marriage that can’t be fixed is no good for all concerned. Please refrain from using the bleating’s from one book, it’s intellectually dishonest.

      • Chester Courtland

        How much did these two people who travel to locations around the world actually spend with their child together? Who’s to say that the child will even realize the parents are no longer together until the child gets older? I bet the kid spent more time with the nanny or au pair than with the parents anyway.

    • Ken Abbott

      “and to the Aniston”

      Wrong Jennifer, mate.

    • There are 3 places in the New Testament where we are counseled how to judge. Two of them say to do it wisely, and the one you misquoted instructs you to judge yourself first. Quit misquoting the scripture. People who don’t judge will exercise poor judgement.

  • Barefoot Soul

    When the “magic” ends, throw away the old spouse and get a new one.

    Loving the “magic” is easy. Loving a person takes work.

  • porcupineman1454

    We can’t see into their home. Sometimes, without question, divorce is a blessing. If the couple’s fighting was out of hand, occuring all the time, and couldn’t be rectified with trips to a marriage counselor, divorce is 100% a blessing. Your advice is to stay with the spouse no matter what? That’s awful advice. Sometimes it’s best for everyone, especially the children.

    • erin

      Her advice wasn’t stay together no matter what. And divorce can never be a blessing – Christ directly said divorce is not God’s intention.
      Newsflash for adults fighting out of hand: be grown ups and stop fighting. Change your behavior for the good of yourself and your spouse and children.

      • porcupineman1454

        You are a naive fool if you believe it’s always as simple as “be grownups and stop fighting.” It is not always that simple.

        Again, we don’t know what is going on in their household. They did not give us the reason behind their divorce. And anyway – it is no one’s business! I understand why they put out a statement – they are public figures. However, I don’t understand why it’s anyone’s business to write op-ed articles about it. Especially not on a site like The Stream. This substandard article misses the mark in many ways.

  • G Hazel

    If what the couple wrote is true, then the article makes sense as written. If however, it’s all a cover story and things are indeed more rotten than disclosed, then perhaps it is time to call it quits. We can’t really know if it’s a cover story or not but going on what we have, the article makes a good point that their story itself is self serving and contradicts the vows they made.

  • Trilemma

    If what they said is true, then I think they will one day regret this decision.

  • SweetDoug

    It’s pure poppycock. Absolute nonsense. Total rubbish.
    Close. Call it what it really is:

    ßƱ££$ĦĬŦ. And we’re drowning in it. Call it out wherever you see or hear it. Our very society depends upon it.

  • tether

    So often I hear he or she doesn’t make me happy.
    News flash, it is not up to your spouse to make or keep you happy.
    A man should love, honor and cherish his wife.
    A woman should respect and love her husband.
    Both should nurture and support one another.
    When things get tough that’s when we learn how much our vows really mean to us.

  • EastStreet

    Who & Who ?? Z-listers

    • Ken Abbott

      Channing Tatum’s no “Z-lister.” He’s been in several very successful movies of late.

  • Chester Courtland

    Hollyweird is a cesspool filled with diseased minds and soulless inhabitants. Never believe what you hear, see or read from that ghoulish town.

  • bella balinski

    She is hot… No doubt about that. Him, I can do without.

  • Juan Garcia

    Maybe modern marriage vows should say: “I will love, honor and cherish until I no longer love, honor and cherish, then we’ll get a divorce.” Another idea: Where in the Bible are marriage vows specifically defined? As I recall, God said “A man and a woman shall leave their parents and become one flesh”. Jesus said, “What God has put together, man shall not tear apart”. From my perspective, modern Christians should pay more attention to these ideals than modern marriage vows and ceremonies that are not required by the Bible. There are just as many divorces among Christians as there are non-Christians. Something’s wrong about that.

  • Howard

    What isn’t rationalized in the name of “love” these day?

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