I'm not sure how many of you have been following the saga of Jon and Kate Gosselin, but my family has been hooked this Memorial Day weekend on the JnK marathon. In case you are unfamiliar with JnK, five years ago they became parents of sextuplets and from that moment on they have been their own unique version of the Truman Show. America has watched as the kids grew, celebrated birthdays and learned to use the potty on Jon and Kate Plus 8. It seems that few details have been lost as the good, bad and ugly has been captured on film. Now, they are experiencing a very public squabble (as my grandfather used to say), a squabble that could easily lead to a very public and bitter divorce.
It seems that Jon has been feeling neglected, unloved and unfulfilled for some time. So much so that he was photographed with another (much younger) woman catting around on the town in the wee hours of the morn at 2 a.m. This occurred while Kate was on her recent book tour - one of many public engagements on her calendar. So, let me share several thoughts from my perspective.
First, JnK both claim to be Christ followers. I will not dismiss their claim as I have little or no basis to do so. Rather, I will say that when two people are Christians and are intent upon His will being done, there is no marital difficulty that cannot be overcome. Notice I said "two people" intent upon His will. That is the essential element when a marriage is crumbling because as Jesus says, "a house divided will not stand" (Mk. 3:25). In far too many cases when engaged in marital counseling, I find that only one really cares for the marriage to work. If this cannot be overcome, the time spent counseling is of less value than last week's newspapers. When two want it to work out, and those two are believers in Jesus Christ, it is never too late.
Second, JnK are examples of a torturous cycle present in every marriage I have ever witnessed on life support. They have the classic love/respect problem and seem totally oblivious to it. Ephesians 5:33 says a husband must "love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." One only need watch one episode of JnK to see that Jon isn't very loving and Kate certainly does not respect her man. Hence, the vicious cycle is played out before approximately 4 million viewers each week. Jon shows Kate no love and she shows him no respect, so he continues to show no love and she escalates a lack of respect. For their marriage to survive, the cycle must be broken and both will be required to work hard to break it. With God all things are possible so never should it be seen as hopelessly impossible to break the cycle. Quality Christian marital counseling in this area would be of benefit to these two before it's too late.
Third, perhaps it is time that the marriage and children take precedence over the TV show and the resulting fame and fortune. You say, "but how will they live since their livelihood comes from the TV?" Good question, but there are many large families who live happy, productive lives on incomes much smaller who never stand in the limelight. To sacrifice the marriage on the altar of fame and fortune is not an acceptable alternative. However, it appears that giving up the show is most definitely not an option for JnK; but if their marriage collapses, the show may give them up. As Raegan, my 14 year old, said "nobody wants to watch a dysfunctional family for very long." With the growing weirdness of the American public perhaps this isn't true, but I can tell you one family of five who will quickly tune it out because it will be too late then.
Fourth, and this will sound harsh, but maybe a little more selflessness is needed for the marriage to survive. Jon expressed in a recent People Magazine article that he "got married at 22, had twins at 23 and the sextuplets at 27. I wouldn't have it any other way but I never went out in my 20's." Well boo hoo, my tears are falling for you... NOT! Jon needs to man up and assume the responsibility he has been given. He does not have the option of being a playboy on the town and being a good daddy. The two do not mix. His 8 responsibilities (plus Kate) demand he live a selfless life and put away childish things. We are in the shape we are in as a nation partly because too many men who have the ability to father children seem to have an inability to be anything but selfish jerks! I realize I'm speaking against my own gender here, but with great responsibility comes great sacrifice. Come on Jon, get it together. Take off the cool shades, put aside the sports car, and honor the vows you made before God to your bride before it's too late!
And Kate, lighten up a little! I know your personality drives you to be the critical woman who tends to nag her husband all the time but this can be overcome. Berating and snapping at Jon does not a lovely marriage make. Chill out and take a deep breath every now and then. You will enjoy life much more if you do.
Finally, JnK need our prayers. As fellow believers we are all subject to sin in our lives. No follower of Christ is immune to attack. When we say "that could never happen to me" we've made a strategic error and are playing into the adversaries hands. The public demise of JnK would cause the children to suffer, but even more importantly, it would broadcast a bad witness for the cause of Christ. For these reasons, and many more, may we as fellow believers pray for the survival of their marriage. I am convinced there are few things on this earth that gives God more glory than two people wholly committed to Christ in a loving marriage. May that be the end result for Jon and Kate because it's not too late!
Remember... Never yield your shield; Stay in the battle.
In Christ alone,