Kim Kardashian isn't exactly the patron saint of marriage, but she and her sisters have some valuable things to teach us all about choosing the right partner and living happily ever after.
In case you've been living in a cave for the last few months, Kim famously filed for divorce from Kris Humphries just 72 days after their fairytale wedding extravaganza. Her decision sparked more conspiracy theories than 9/11. Was the marriage a made-for-TV PR stunt? Was Kris an innocent victim of the Kardashian fame machine, or part of it? The media even questioned whether Kim's 20-carat diamond engagement ring was a fake.
As your intrepid wedding expert and noble truth-seeker, I felt it was my responsibility to spend an entire weekend cozying up to "Kourtney and Kim Take Manhattan" on DVR, and get to the bottom of it all. The show was filmed during the infamous 72 days of Kim and Kris's union, and has created lots of controversy for supposedly showing a biased, Kardashian-ized version of the marriage. But after consuming endless bowls of popcorn and a dizzying amount of reality TV, I can finally bring you the shocking truth:
Kim is for real. She screwed up. The marriage wasn't fake, even if the way it was presented on TV was somewhat slanted. Kim's anguish over her crappy marriage was too painfully authentic to be an act. As it turns out, Kim is just like the rest of us (give or take a few million dollars and a world-famous butt). She wanted to find true love and live happily ever after, and she made a bunch of mistakes trying to get there. Rather than bashing Kim, we can learn some good lessons from her short-lived marriage, and from Khloe and Kourtney too:
1. Do mundane, everyday things with your partner before getting married. Go grocery shopping, plan your monthly budget, roast a chicken. Because this is most of what you'll do after you're married -- even if you happen to be celebrities like Kim and Kris. Their courtship was spent frolicking on exotic beaches, posing for paparazzi, and planning an over-the-top wedding. Which made it easy to mistake "fun" and "massive amounts of ego-stroking attention" for "love". Kim and Kris didn't know the were incompatible until they started living in reality (pardon the pun). For Kris, that meant working out, talking up the awesomeness of rural Minnesota, and staring blankly into space. For Kim, it was all about celebutante-ing, shopping sprees, fancy lunches, and media appearances. It quickly became obvious that these two had nothing in common, but they were already married. Awk-ward!
2. Quality matters more than quantity. It's not the length of the courtship, but its substance that predicts overall marital satisfaction. Khloe and Lamar got married a month after they met, and are quite happy three years later. They seem to have spent most of their brief dating period locked away in a hotel room, giggling and doing...um, other stuff, which let them connect deeply, quickly. Mom-ashian Kris and husband Bruce Jenner got married after just five months, and are going 20 years strong. And though Kourtney and Scott aren't married, they now have a strong family after taking the leap into parenthood while still dating. By comparison, Kim and Kris had about a year to get to know each other, and still made a colossal marriage mistake. They may have been a good match on paper, but they didn't have that magical, intangible chemistry that keeps a marriage exciting and fresh.
3. Age ain't nothin' but a number. As her relationship was crumbling, Kim cried that she had imagined herself married with kids by 30. And though I hate to admit it, I could relate. My first marriage happened just five days before my 30th birthday, and I remember feeling relieved that I'd gotten hitched just under the "spinster deadline"...phew! It's something that modern gals will only whisper about, but when you're nearing 30 and all your friends are partnering up, life can feel like a big game of musical chairs. So it's all too easy to sit on the wrong person to avoid being the only one left standing. But the music doesn't actually stop when you turn 30. In fact, you can turn it up and start dancing whenever you like. You're much more likely to attract an awesome partner if you're not stuck on society's expectations or anybody else's timeline. So throw away the clock and follow your heart.
4. Don't marry a man with the same name as your mom. Especially if they're both blatantly misspelled. Seems like a no-brainer, but apparently this happens. And if your entire family's names are blatantly misspelled...well, that's a whole separate issue that we don't have room to address here.
5. Marry a man of substance, not a cute boy. Real men aren't afraid to be tender and sweet, and they take pride in caring for a woman. They don't get disgusted by your period or your cellulite, and they definitely don't need to tease you about your shortcomings to feel powerful, like Kris did to Kim. Lamar and Scott have both proven to be men of substance by working through difficult family issues with a mix of honesty, humor, and dedication to their women. And my own mom chose that kind of substance when she fell for my dad. Back then they were just work friends, kind of like a 1970s version of Pam and Jim from "The Office." My dad was nursing a major crush on my mom, but she was too busy dating cute boys to notice him. Then she got dumped by one of those cute boys. As is common with the women in our family (thanks mom), her upset heart resulted in an upset stomach. But gastrointestinal difficulties be damned, she called my dad to come over, and cried herself to sleep with her head on his lap. She woke up in the morning to find him still awake, sitting motionless in the same position so as not to disturb her. Forty years later, he still looks after her with the same care. Now that's a true love story, no 20 carat diamond required.