Divorce makes me sad. My parents did it, and every time I think about it, it makes me sad. Our local peloton is filled with people like me whose parents are divorced or who themselves are divorced or, hardest of all, who are going through divorce.
Breaking the marital bonds is often for the good. Once the rupture is done the scar tissue can begin to heal the wound. Lots of people come out of divorce happier, better adjusted, and with a new lease on life.
When I read that the Captain and Tenille had filed for divorce in Arizona after 38 or 39 years of marriage, it made me sad. Not because they were making the wrong decision — no one on the outside can ever understand what’s happening on the inside — but because the media couldn’t resist making fun of them. Their hit 1975 single, “Love Will Keep Us Together,” earned them a Grammy. Written by Neil Sedaka, who discovered them performing at a dive bar in Burbank, it’s a great song. Simple, catchy, powerful, and true. “I guess love couldn’t keep them together” was the running gag line, sharp like a razor, tossed gleefully at them in their pain.
The Captain apparently has a severe Parkinsons-like neurological disease that makes it impossible for him to play keyboards or even go out in public, and TMZ juicily reported that he was blindsided by the filing. Why anyone would shove so much happiness in this old, ill man’s face is beyond me, except for this one fact: people are cruel.
Love really will keep us together
I don’t have any special respect or admiration for marriage. It works for some people, it doesn’t work for others. Marriage is no more meaningful or important or wonderful or honorable than what the partners put into it, get out of it, and expect from it.
What I do respect and admire is people who make the effort to hang onto relationships they care about, whether it’s a spouse or a friend or a riding buddy or someone at work. Human relationships are nasty, bloody, painful affairs, but when we work on them they give us something we can get from nowhere else except maybe a dog or a cat. The marriage of 40 years is no more impressive than the marriage of 6 months because both take the same daily effort and elbow grease required for the relationship to make it to the following day.
That effort is what keeps us together, riding our bikes together or sleeping in the same bed or being there to take my California phone call in frozen Illinois. I call it love.