A recent study posits a scientific method to predict the chances of success or failure of celebrity marriages. In my opinion, celebrity marriage seems to be a losing proposition and we don't need a study to tell us that. What we do need is to learn from the flawed foundations of famous marital flameouts so we can avoid becoming "Sudden Bachelors" (again). It boils down in part to being careful what we wish for because that -- in marriage and of course many arenas of life -- may not be at all what we really need. (Cue Rolling Stones) And going for what we think we want mostly because everyone else wants it is a flawed foundation for marriage indeed.
We often wish for:
• A wife who's super hot and famous. Right? Wrong. Are you really looking to be with someone who everyone on the planet wants to "tap'"? Who has about one minute a month to really be with someone else due to the pull of being popular, not to mention being paid a ton of money to live in front of cameras? Even if you're a celebrity yourself, don't you think the advantages of becoming Brangelina or Tomkat may be outweighed by the fact that all that glitter surrounding two people can have a Midas-touch effect, pulling them apart despite the celebrity uni-names? If you ratchet down the "need" for the ultimate arm candy and emphasize that you want a true partner in life, you're going to be happier and have a better chance of staying married. We guarantee it.
• As grandiose a life as possible and a wife to serve that goal. The difference between us and celebrities is the level of grandiosity possible. This want is inherent to mankind, no? No. It doesn't have to be. A grandiose life arguably swallows up its occupants. There's something to be said for common purpose, trying to make ends meet, sleeping in a queen bed instead of a sprawling square fresh out of Vegas. Intimacy comes from the inside of two people and can be diluted -- in my humble opinion -- by the jading effects of vast wealth.
• A life in the public eye that everyone wants to know about. Uh huh. Ask Lindsay Lohan any given day how all that hopey famey stuff is working for her. I would argue that becoming a headline is only a step from your marriage becoming the punch line to a bad joke. It's no joke.
• A spouse with a lot of money. You may want this even if you have lots of money already. Think again. Mo' money mo' problems. I like this saying that pops up on my quotes page occasionally from a 19th century lady, Maria von Ebner-Eschenbach: "To be content with little is hard; to be content with much, impossible." Of course, I don't think you should pursue a life -- or spouse -- of privation. But marrying for money is like pursuing a profession for that reason; trading gold for true goals is a trade I would short every time.
What is the takeaway from a "Sudden Bachelor" point of view? Whether you're a celebrity or just a regular schlub like yours truly, check your goals -- in life and more specifically in marriage -- early and often. You'll have a lesser chance of sudden bachelorhood (again) and a more likely shot at a partnership that means much more than money and magazine pages.
Follow Mark Schwartz on Twitter: www.twitter.com/suddenbachelor