Jan Scruggs
Memorial founder

Jan Scruggs

Founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

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Much work, and reward

Q: To the shock of even their closest friends, Al and Tipper Gore have announced their separation, after 40 years of marriage. And this is the couple that openly showed affection and wrote the book "Joined at the Heart." Can a marriage that comes apart still be considered successful? And if Al and Tipper can't make it, is there hope for the rest of us?

"I have always considered marriage to be the most interesting event of one's life, the foundation of one's happiness or misery."
-- George Washington, 1785

Al and Tipper Gore are victims of a lifestyle that is far different than the rest of us experience. Circumstances like theirs, with their mansions, a professional staff, a Nobel Prize and other complications put a lot of pressures on a life and a marriage. It does take considerable effort to remain married, and perhaps more so with people like the Gores.

Ending 40 years of marriage is certainly sad for these two high-profile people who came within a hair of becoming the president and first lady. It is not exactly easy -- or very fair -- to judge others in whose shoes you have not walked.

What circumstances led to the end of their marriage? There is no short way to tell a long story and I am sure there is a lengthy tale lurking here.

I have enjoyed 36 years of marriage. I have had a close call or two over the years due to my occasionally stupid behavior. It is certainly worth sticking it out with a real life partner who understands and appreciates you despite one's failings. I have been rather lucky. Many of my friends have not. Others have kept their marriages together despite some stormy seas over the years.

Yet Al and Tipper did not make it. I guess I will have to skip reading "Joined at the Heart"!

By Jan Scruggs  |  June 7, 2010; 9:16 PM ET  | Category:  Marriage and success Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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