The power of the media - Sunday, Jan 7, 2007

Smartmarriages smartmarriages at
Sun Jan 7 16:31:23 EST 2007

I'm sending articles from two major Sunday newspapers that illustrate the
power of the media on our marriage/divorce culture. I feel like saying of
the first one, "read it and weep" that this is what people are reading in
the "Vows" column.   And, the second one at the other end of the spectrum,
is so powerfully positive that I'll reprint it in full  - diane


> Vows
> Colleen Saidman and Rodney Yee
> New York Times
> Sunday, January 7, 2007
> The bride and groom formed a friendship that morphed into a strong love affair
> over time. They were married Dec. 29.
>  She became a devoted student of his and formed a close student-teacher
> relationship, which remained platonic for years. Then, in 2002 at a yoga
> conference in Nashville, Ms. Saidman and Mr. Yee found themselves sitting next
> to each other in a crowded hot tub after a day of twisting poses.
> ³She put her thumb on my forehead, right on the third eye, and literally I
> felt something I¹d never felt before,² Mr. Yee remembered. ³It was almost
> like: ŒWho are you? What just happened?¹ That was the turning point. There was
> something between us that was unavoidable.²
> Still, they didn¹t want to break up their marriages, which they said were not
> unhappy. ³I walked away from Rod many, many times,² Ms. Saidman recalled. ³I
> told him not to call me. I said, ŒWhatever we have with our spouses, we have
> to give it a real try.¹ ²
> He could never go for more than a week without talking to her. ³To not call
> Colleen was unbearable,² he said. ³I just lost it. I can preach all I want,
> but when love hits you, it just devastates everything. Everything was blown
> down.²
> He eventually told his family he had fallen in love.

For the full article and photos including their four children from their
previous marraiges.


The Wall Street Journal
A Tale of Love Lost -- and Found
January 7, 2007

When will Amy and I divorce?

It's an odd question, I know. But it is, nevertheless, a question I often
hear from readers. I'm even told that the reporters and editors at one of
the newspapers where my column runs have a pool going on when we'll finally
split. (To that newsroom: Can I put $100 on never?)

With this concern out there, I want to take this opportunity as a new year
begins to fill you in on a missing piece to the puzzle that is our public
life: In the late winter of 1999, Amy and I filed for divorce.

As is obvious, we never followed through on the paperwork. This weekend, in
fact, we are celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary. And based on how
close we've grown in the past seven years, I have no doubt we'll be together
for the duration.

A near-divorce will do that to you: make you recalibrate your life and work
in a way that allows you to see what really matters with a renewed passion.

But we did separate for a while, and it's in that separation -- that
near-divorce -- that the moral of today's story rests.

And here's the punch line: Love never dies; it just gets lost behind life's
debris, including the money and the career, that we pack in front of it.
* * *

When talk of divorce invaded our life, Amy and I had been married seven
years, and we were pulling in opposing directions. I was trying to pursue
the kind of life I was drawn to -- moving to New York City or a foreign
capital, traveling widely for my job, building my version of a glamorous

Amy was moving along another plane. With the arrival of our son, she began
focusing on family, no longer curious about the world or living anywhere
that took her farther away from her family back in our hometown of Baton
Rouge, La.

The cogs in our wheels weren't meshing; they were grinding.

I threw myself deeper into my job, spending longer hours at work just to
avoid a family dynamic I was no longer comfortable with, traveling as much
as possible to create distance.

Amy felt increasingly alone and angry with me.

The tensions mounted and we both began to shut down, frustrations burying
the affection that had bound us together. Once we could no longer see that
affection, we filed for divorce and separated.

I stayed in Seattle, while Amy and our 2-year-old son moved to Louisiana. I
can still hear my son's words as I walked away: "Mommy, Daddy go bye-bye?"

And that's when things began to change.

When I was finally alone, and could see more clearly, one thing stood out:
My affection for Amy had never died. It had just been obscured by the anger
and frustration that were poisoning my thoughts. I was blinded by the anger.

So, I set a change of course.
* * *

I'm not naive enough to think divorce is never the answer. But as a culture,
we too often treat divorce like another fast-food-menu choice, a quick fix
when the pangs strike -- oblivious to long-term effects, particularly when
kids are involved. And I was nearly as guilty of it as anyone.

But I have a certain perspective that tempered my rush to divorce: I come
from a broken family. My parents divorced when I was two years old.

I grew up without my dad around, and I never wanted to inflict that special
kind of torture on my own son.

I spent my disposable income flying from Seattle to Louisiana every few
weeks to spend time with my son. During those trips, three truths struck me.

First, a perfect life had been staring at me all along. Second, even the
happiest couples struggle with balancing relationships and careers. And
third, my wife was not the person I assumed her to be.

I came to see Amy not as the teenager she was when we began dating, but the
woman she had grown into. And that was a pretty amazing woman.

We worked on righting the wrongs -- and I found myself happier in the

I began to de-emphasize career, attending all my son's school functions with
Amy and being more attentive to our relationship. I traveled less; when I
had to, I cut trips shorter than usual (in reality, that often meant
traveling the right amount of time, rather than trying to stretch out each

We spent more time playing together as a family. As a result, Amy and I grew
closer than we'd ever been.

And we've never doubted our commitment since.
* * *

So why am I announcing all of this on the first Sunday of 2007?

Divorce filings often peak just after the holidays. That means there's
someone -- many someones -- out there right now living something similar to
what I experienced.

They're struggling with a relationship, or what promotions to pursue.
They're yearning for a different lifestyle, angry, looking to escape the
mind-numbing rut they are in. And they can't see what they really have.
Divorce is the quick fix.

And it may, indeed, be the right fix as well. But based on my own
experience, it also may not be. It may be that the affection is there, just
waiting to be rediscovered. It certainly was for me.

In the intervening years, Amy and I have accomplished together more than
either of us would have accomplished alone. To figure that out took my
nearly throwing it all away.

And that's why I'm telling you this.

I stared into an abyss in the winter of 1999, and I stepped away and
evaluated the impact my actions would have not just on my world but on the
world of other people -- namely, my wife and son. In doing so, I turned
potentially the biggest mistake of my life into the smartest move I've ever

So when will Amy and I get divorced? I hope you now know the answer.

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