05/10/2016 12:55 PM IST | Updated 09/10/2016 8:52 AM IST

How Brangelina Shook The Myth Of The Perfect Marriage

Andrew Kelly / Reuters
Actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie attend the premiere of "The Normal Heart" in New York May 12, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

The splitting of Brangelina into just plain old Brad and Angelina has sent the tabloids into overdrive and fans into a meltdown. Weren't they the perfect couple, what with their perfect looks, perfect careers and perfect multicultural brood of children? Why, they even did so much admirable charity work. And even though rumours and speculations about the health of their marriage have been flying thick and fast for some time now, when news broke of the actual split, there was disbelief.

Fact: what goes on behind closed doors in a marriage, besides the couple, no one really knows. At times even one half of the couple is blindsided with news of an imminent divorce, as they are blissfully unaware that the marriage is over for the other party.

I meet couples who come across as made for each other whilst walking down the aisle but end up at the altar of divorce before the ink has dried on their marriage certificate.

The reasons for Brangelina's dissolution have invited a further flurry of speculations about drug and alcohol abuse, extra-marital affairs and anger management issues, but whatever the truth is, one thing is clear: "perfection" doesn't guarantee a lifetime of togetherness.

A marriage is really between the two individuals and what works or doesn't is really anyone's guess. As a divorce lawyer, I meet couples who come across as made for each other whilst walking down the aisle but end up at the altar of divorce before the ink has dried on their marriage certificate. Marriage is essentially a relationship that we can't take for granted, and no amount of money, fame or good looks can hold it together unless the two people in it decide to make it work. If one of the partners is weak then the stronger one has to give a helping hand. Instead of highlighting the weaknesses of each other, the spouses should act as a yin to the other person's yang. When cracks appear in this alliance, and if they are not healed, then the relationship slowly but surely crumbles.

But in this day and age it seems easier to discard what is not working rather than try to fix it, because that takes less effort. Besides, the world wide web seems so inviting and fascinating and throws up so many varied options (Tinder anyone?) that it's difficult to convince ourselves to stick it out in an imperfect relationship. The wedding ring seems easier to slip off when you are in an unhappy marriage and are surrounded by so many viable options that seem "perfect" for our vision of everlasting love.

Isn't it a fallacy in itself to expect perfection in marriage? A relationship between two people brings together a combination of personalities, each with their own quirks, eccentricities and traits. How can these combine to yield a plain vanilla marriage? The problem is that we expect marriage to be a smooth ride and baulk when it turns out to be a rollercoaster.

The circus surrounding the Brangelina divorce is a result of us projecting our collective consciousness of hope that their perfection would guarantee a lifetime together. When that didn't happen we scrambled to reassess our thoughts of perfection and everlasting love in marriages... or in, fact, even everlasting marriages.

Memento Mori by Pablo Bartholomew

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