TCW - Life, Style & Wellness

Schwarzeneggers Face Termination of a Marriage

Arnold and Maria, 1169163887_a071a59db4.jpg

What drew them together for many was inexplicable. It was reminiscent of the famous saying, "The heart has its reasons for which there is no reason."

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, who may be divorcing after 25 years of marriage, always seemed to me to be a mis-matched couple. She was elite and charitable while he was a body builder and egomaniacal. She had a serious career in journalism, and he had a questionable career as an actor without serious talent. He was a Republican of convenience and she was a Democrat of conviction.

Their marriage lasted longer than the statistical percentage of American relationships. They had four beautiful children with whom they are well pleased. They were an apparent glamour couple who combined the strengths of many worlds: Washington and Hollywood, National and International, beauty and brawn, brains and muscle.

What is pulling them apart now may be easier to understand. As a family attorney, I see their types of crises as the trigger for many break-ups. She recently lost both of her beloved parents, a happenstance which often makes surviving children reexamine their life choices and priorities. He has been accused of being a womanizer.

While she stayed with him through the gubernatorial years, she may have been waiting for the end of his career as the opportunity to end their marriage. His career choice in politics - which of course her brains and family connections both facilitated - may have been a choice that was divisive rather than unifying.

I remember an interview where she laughingly referenced the alleged perquisites of being Governor of California: an unattractive and too small house in Sacramento, no salary, and much grief and said that she kept asking her husband why he wanted the job. While she recounted the story with grace and humor, it appeared there was some reality to her dissatisfaction. She also had to resign her own position as a TV journalist to accommodate his public life.

Obviously they are both at what she described online as "transition points" in their lives -
and they seem to be transitioning away from each other. That, too, is a phenomenon I frequently see as a family lawyer. While a long and happy marriage, and joint careers as successful partners, is optimal, not every marriage is made in heaven and not every marriage is meant to last. It is possible that the relationship between them lasted exactly as long as it could and should and that each of their lives needs to be redirected.  While he has long been known on the big screen as The Terminator, it may be time for each to terminate the chapter in life they shared.

Marriages need to be revisited and renegotiated as they pass through different stages. Sometimes those renegotiations fail: the terms are just too costly for one or the other.

Image by schumachergirl1956/via Creative Commons

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