Marriage mirage

Published 12:26 am Friday, November 4, 2011

Now that’s reality for you.

There is failure. And then there is the jaw-dropping, million-dollar, in-the-public-eye failure of Kim Kardashian, reality-show diva, and Kris Humphries, free-agent NBA power forward. Faster than you can say “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” their overhyped marriage unofficially ended with the subsequent filing for divorce a whopping 72 days after the celebrated event. It took 50 of those days just to edit all the wedding footage for the special aired on E! Oct. 9-10 called “Kim’s Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event.”

The title of the special pretty much defines a larger problem. Name of the bride omitted, there are essentially three words left — fairytale, wedding, event.

A wedding is just that: an event. It’s the opening line in a body of work that will be written during a lifetime together. The reality is that marriage is a lifelong series of compromises between two people who love and respect each other, even at times when they don’t feel particularly loving or respectful. Reality is 50 percent of all marriages ending in divorce because one, or maybe both people, can’t figure that out. Reality is shows like “The Bachelor/Bachelorette,” “The Desperate Housewives of you-name-the-town” (because apparently every town in America has desperate housewives) and “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” portraying an unrealistic view of courtship and marriage.

Reality is marriage as a hot-button political issue, which it has been since U.S. Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia introduced the Defense of Marriage Act to Congress in 1996. Lately, that battle has been waged on a state level, with many states passing legislation defining marriage and, more importantly, who can marry. North Carolina’s Legislature recently approved allowing North Carolina voters to decide the fate of a proposed state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. The voting public makes that call during the May 2012 primary election.

Proponents of the legislation have long held that gay marriage would diminish the institution as God intended. Yet, what truly lessens the institution is a marriage with less staying power than a single season of “Survivor.” What diminishes marriage is this statement: “After much careful consideration, I have decided to end my marriage,” released by Kardashian regarding her pending divorce, which rides the coattails of her nuptials.

A whole 72-days’-worth of consideration. Would that Kardashian had given that much “careful consideration” to marrying the guy in the first place. But the reality of marriage is work, and real work doesn’t make good reality TV.

To diminish the institution of marriage, gay people aren’t necessary to the process. The reality is man and woman are doing a fine job of it themselves.