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Kudos to Kim Kardashian

Posted: 11/10/11 10:37 PM ET

I don't follow celebrity news but in the last week it's been difficult to avoid the headlines about Kim Kardashian's decision to file for divorce. Generally the messages seem loaded with disdain for the shortness of the marriage, with suspicion that it was all a money-making ploy, and with horror for what celebrities are doing for the institution of marriage. I have a different message:

Kudos to Kardashian for having the courage to admit a mistake.

I've interviewed over eighty women about divorce and the decision to end a marriage rarely comes easily. For those whose marriages are short-lived, that difficult decision is often laced with embarrassment for their questionable judgment, fear of disappointing family members, and guilt for having wasted money on a wedding.

Some of them can say with hindsight that they sensed something wasn't right as they said their "I do's," some admit to getting married because they felt it was what they were supposed to do, because their Mr. Right was everything you'd want in a husband, on paper and they really had no good reason to say no, and some admit to falling into more of a roommate relationship soon after the honeymoon.

None of them had to admit their mistake to millions of people, and while being a reality TV personality is a choice, I imagine Kardashian felt some anguish over admitting she'd made the wrong decision, admitting she got caught up in the hoopla of her wedding day extravaganza.

Kudos to Kardashian for confronting a dealbreaker.

While the divorce papers cite "irreconcilable differences," media reports suggest that Kardashian didn't like the idea of living in Minnesota, her husband's home state.

Who knows if this is the real reason, but people rarely go into marriage thinking of divorce. People go into marriage thinking of a lifetime together. When they encounter obstacles and disagreements, sometimes they can be resolved, but sometimes spouses simply work around them, or tacitly ignore them hoping they'll just disappear. The end result is a marriage as a test of endurance rather than a testament to love.

If the question of where to live made Kardashian realize she and Kris Humphries were deeply mismatched, then more power to her for ending it now. Too often the consequences of remaining in a marriage without commitment is infidelity and that is always more hurtful and damaging. Her decision demonstrates integrity and respect for both herself and Humphries.

Kudos to Kardashian for not thinking a baby would solve the issue.

Yes, that happens. One or both spouses might feel a growing separation and think that a child will make them closer, will make them a family. And it may, for a time, but in the majority of cases, the addition of children only exacerbates the fundamental underlying problems, increasing the probability of eventual divorce.

The result then is two people who really have little in common and who want little to do with each other yet who will remain connected forever through their children. Not exactly the best parenting formula.

I imagine that Kardashian now knows the difference between a wedding and a marriage. She would gain even more kudos if she used her considerable media influence to educate her young, single followers on what preparing for a marriage really entails. The answer to our high divorce rate is not to make divorce more difficult to obtain but rather to make smarter decisions in choosing a spouse.