I feel a bit sheepish admitting this, but I’ve been following the split between Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes relatively closely. I’m not so far gone that I’m seeking the information out myself but if yahoo is featuring an article on the divorce, I’ll read it – if Good Morning America covers it, I’ll watch. Like so many people, I find myself cheering wildly on the inside for Katie Holmes with nothing more than tabloid fodder to substantiate such an emotional reaction. Katie Holmes and I pretty close to the same age (she’s two years younger than I am) and I loved watching her on “Dawson’s Creek” as well as her early foray into movies, particularly “Wonder Boys.” I wouldn’t consider her my favorite actress but I found her extremely talented. When she and Tom announced their romance the whole thing just felt too weird for words and while it was tempting to fall down the rabbit hole wondering whether she was pregnant or not or whether Scientology had corrupted her or not I mostly just ceased paying attention because really, there are only so many hours in a day and if you spent too many of them thinking about Suri, Tom and Katie the chances of finishing Anna Karenina are even less than they were to begin with.
But their split? I am paying attention to it if only because of the lengths Katie went to distance herself from Tom. From disposable cell phones to lining up lawyers in three different states, Katie did her damndest to ensure she had primary custody of Suri and that she would be the one in charge of her “spirit” and education. If we take at face value that it really was because of Tom’s desire to send Suri away to Scientology school for her education and Katie’s steadfast determination to prevent any such thing from happening, then I think we know what Katie’s dealbreaker is – separation from her daughter and/or her daughter’s participation in Scientology.
All of this has me thinking about “deal breakers” in marriage. I would hope that verbal or emotional abuse would be a deal breaker for everyone reading my blog – infidelity I think is a little trickier. I am at a point in my marriage where I honestly would like to *think* if S. cheated on me it would be a deal breaker but ultimately I am not sure at all I could do that to Evangeline – I honestly don’t even like speculating on it and instead just remain grateful that S. is the wonderful man he is!
In term of deal breakers in our household, I really believe that if I enforced a vegetarian or vegan diet on the household S. would at least consider leaving me. It might sound funny to an outsider but S. is a meat and potatoes kind of guy – his girlfriend prior to me criticized his adoration of bacon and he made tracks faster than Mitt Romney running from his history with Bain. He eyes the tofu and soy-based food I buy for my lunches with the utmost trepidation and groans out loud if he witnesses me making overnight oatmeal complete with chia seeds. It’s been a bit surprising to see him remain so steadfast on this even as we move to our mid-thirties – a time even the most dedicated meat eaters often consider a vegetarian night or two a week, but he remains as serious as ever on this and I know that if I were to become really passionate about this issue it would cause a serious rift at the very least.
A deal breaker for me, potentially, would be if S. were to return in a serious way to his Catholic faith. I’m not bringing this up here to start an argument – I think there is a lot that is magnificent and lovely about the Catholic church, but I also know I could not allow my daughter to be raised in that faith. If S. took his faith to the point where, for instance, he didn’t want us practicing birth control or became one of those people protesting with hideously blown-up abortion photos in front of Planned Parenthood – well, either of those would be a deal breaker for me. It’s easy to say, of course, that this would never happen but we’ve also witnessed his father return to the faith recently – he advocated strongly for a Catholic presence at Evangeline’s baptism which we didn’t agree to accommodate. To be clear – if S. ever chooses to worship as a Catholic, I would be okay with it – but I do not consider Catholic school an option for our daughter.
Do you believe in deal breakers, or does the very concept violate the vows you took? Do you have deal breakers of your own?