How to prevent a Covid/New Year’s divorce

In January, many were shocked to hear the news of Jason Momoa and Lisa Bonet’s divorce. The announcement implied the pandemic contributed to the decline of their marriage.

It likely comes as no surprise that a two year+ pandemic has many thinking they are no longer compatible with their spouse. From the reports, it seems Jason and Lisa believed they needed to pursue different avenues. How many have thought the same thing at least once over the last two years?

Believe it or not, celebrities are real people, just like the rest of us. Underneath the fame and the fortune, they have the same issues we do. In fact, the same 6 pillars holding up our marriages, making them extraordinary, are the same 6 pillars they need as well. Without the 6 Pillars of Intimacy, celebrity marriages fail just like non-celebrity marriages.

In reading the celebrity gossip articles around this highly publicized divorce, some of the cracked pillars are easy to identify. But why now?

First, they announced the end of their marriage in January. It seems to be the “New Year, New You” mentality. The holiday season is over and the amount of stress is just too much this year. It may have been too much after two years of a pandemic lifestyle.

And Jason & Lisa aren’t the only ones dissolving their marriage during the pandemic. This trend of being unable to handle the stress started almost immediately after the lockdowns began. In fact, according to Legaltemplates.net1, legal separations were up 57% in April, just 2-4 weeks after most states issued lockdown orders, compared to February of that same year. And Lexology.com2 reports that one law firm noted the number of divorce inquiries increased by 122% in the latter half of 2020.

Second, Jason and Lisa spent a considerable amount of time apart because of his work schedule and her lack of interest in being on location with him. For them, it wasn’t about spending too much time together, but that they were spending less time together. Less time connecting with each other.

When couples, both celebrity and non-celebrity, do not spend time together, several pillars can crack: Emotional, Physical, Recreational, Spiritual, and Sexual. That’s five of the six pillars! Many couples also faced significant financial strains on their marriage when one or both of them got sick or lost their job-this means that all 6 are impacted.

When a marriage experiences cracks in multiple pillars, it can become extremely difficult to support the marriage; much less make it extraordinary.

Of course, we do not know what transpired, or didn’t transpire, between Jason and Lisa, but from their interviews, we can guess they were not intentionally working on these aspects of their marriage. If celebrities are just like us, does that mean if you travel for work, are in the military, or become separated for extended periods of time, your marriage is bound to crumble?

No. At ONE Extraordinary Marriage, we have focused on intentionality from the beginning. You and your spouse need to be intentional with each of your six pillars. Let’s leave Jason and Lisa for a minute and look at how the pandemic may have caused you to look at your own marriage through a lens you were never intended to use.

For many, the pandemic found you at home. A lot. This may have been exciting for some. Until it wasn’t anymore. You spent a lot of time together. But that time was forced time and not necessarily quality. Unless you were intentional. When circumstances require people to spend this amount of time together, even spouses, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that you’re on the same team. The little things become big things. Perhaps you pulled away, focusing on different pursuits instead of taking an active part in activities together (recreational intimacy), holding each other’s hands and hugging (physical intimacy), praying and attending services together (spiritual intimacy), starting quality conversations beyond the pandemic topics (emotional intimacy), and even having sex together (sexual intimacy).

Even if you wanted to do these things with your spouse, chances are the opportunities available were slim to none. The options of seeing a movie, eating out, and even attending church became unavailable. So the cracks deepened.

Is a marriage fixable with all these cracks in the various pillars?

When you don’t have a solid foundation and strong pillars, any new situation, especially a lockdown, can highlight all those cracks. In an instant, they are under a magnifying glass. We have never experienced a lockdown, and this type of togetherness before. What was supposed to be temporary in the beginning became something prolonged and difficult. Why? There wasn’t a plan or a framework to deal with this type of situation.

The 6 Pillars of Intimacy is that framework for these unexpected, unprecedented situations. Active pursuit of each of the 6 pillars with intentionality and intensity strengthens your marriage, keeps it strong, and enables you to face the storms head on. With this framework, your marriage will withstand the challenges that come with work separations, illness, crises, job loss, and, yes, even lockdowns.

Returning to Jason and Lisa’s marriage, we can see the large quantity of time spent apart, the lack of mutual interest in the other’s pursuits, and the strains of the pandemic; and a logical conclusion is that not only were their pillars full of cracks, but they were not intentional about doing anything to fix them. With that conclusion comes another one: yes, they are celebrities, but their marriages need the same things ours do. So, in reality? These celebrities are just like us.

1Moric, Mollie. “US Divorce Statistics during Covid-19.” Legal Templates, 14 Dec. 2020, https://legaltemplates.net/resources/personal-family/divorce-rates-covid-19/.

2Hatley, Emma. “Emma Hatley Appears on Sky News to Explain Why Divorce Rates Have Increased during the Pandemic.” Stewarts, 14 Jan. 2022, https://www.stewartslaw.com/news/emma-hatley-appears-on-sky-news-to-explain-why-divorce-rates-have-increased-during-pandemic/.

 

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