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5 Things We Can Learn from Kim Kardashian’s Marriage

In the wake of Kim's divorce we unearth lessons.

Every failure teaches us a lesson. The bigger the failure, the more rich those lessons are. It is therefore only fitting that a crash as rapid and as voluminous as Kim Kardashian's marriage would yield a myriad of lessons.

1. The Top of the Food Chain: When you get married, your spouse needs to move up the food chain and come first in your life. Yes, even before your mother and siblings. Failure to follow this rule results in two things: a) Your spouse will have an antagonistic relationship with your family. b) Your marriage will fail.

We all watched with a mixture of envy and horror at the closeness of the Kardashians. But most experts would agree that there was an absence of boundaries among them. On the surface it looks like closeness but just beneath, it looks inappropriate, reckless and unnecessarily dramatic, all of which make for great television.

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2. The Land of Boundaries: There need to be boundaries among in-laws. You can say things to your sibling that you cannot say to their fiancé or spouse. By way of example, it is not OK to confront and insult your future brother-in-law by questioning his motives for marrying your sister.

3. The Marriage Comes First: The marriage is it's own entity and it needs to be a priority to both individuals in order to grow roots. Kim's whirlwind career has always been her priority and it showed no sign of slowing down. The couple needed time to bond, alone, without family or cameras.

4. Purchase As-Is: Marriage doesn't change people. Yet so many people enter it hoping it will. Kris hoped Kim would change, he hoped he'd move up on her priorities, and he hoped Kim would move out of LA. Essentially, he hoped for a makeover.

5. The Commitment of Marriage: Marriage is a commitment, a promise, a vow. I don't believe that in 72 days a couple can confirm that they have differences that are irreconcilable, particularly without having tried counseling. In fact, I don't think that 72 days of counseling would have confirmed it.

Marriage is sacred. And it requires emotional muscles, relationship skills and tools for conflict resolution. No one is born with these skills, and sadly our public educational system doesn't teach them. How is it that Americans need to demonstrate competence before acquiring a driver's license or before obtaining any professional license, but no standards exist for acquiring a marriage license (other than being heterosexual, but that's another article). Until we train individuals in these areas, I don't see how we can expect the divorce rate to dip below 50%. And all things considered, that's not such a bad statistic.

 

Darcy Sterling, Ph.D., is Executive Director of Alternatives Counseling in New York City.

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