Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jon, Kate and their 8

Okay....my long-awaited post on the Jon and Kate debacle. Ha ha...long-awaited. I know people have been holding their breath, right?

Anyway, it's been long-awaited for me because I just hate it all and it breaks my heart. We watched last night (yes, even John watched, though I KNOW he didn't want to, because no mater how he'd like to deny it, he sees himself sometimes) and I just cried. John asked me why I was so worked up over it and the answer is easy: I identify. Not with the 8 kids, obviously; not with the whole 'my life is on tv' thing. But DEFINITELY as the Type A, driven wife often accused of being overbearing and domineering married to the Passive-Aggressive, Secret-Agenda husband who gets portrayed as some abused puppy because he chooses to keep it all in instead of actually talking things out.

*DO NOT GET ME WRONG OR TAKE THIS THE WRONG WAY--My husband is wonderful. He is intelligent and capable; he's well-respected and hard-working. I would not trade him for anything in the world and even when he infuriates me, I go to sleep every night praying to God that he comes across no harm and that if one of us has to leave this earth, it's me first because I couldn't bear the thought of life without him. But, let's be real. He and I are very, very different. I may have mentioned that our pastor told us in our pre-marriage counseling that we were completely opposite in most things, and while that can be complementary, it also is a lot of work. He wasn't kidding! John and I have been a couple for 16 years, and married for a bit over 12 of those. And yes, there has been a LOT of work. But what comes with sweat is often sweeter for it. I guess.

This whole Jon and Kate thing has really gotten to me for lots of reasons. Mainly because I have been following this show since the little kids were babies and tv show or not, you become attached and to watch their family dissolve is heartbreaking. As I said, though, I identify with this show. John and I often will sit down and watch (okay, John *pretends* that he's forced against his will to watch, but he sure does pay attention) and we will laugh (at the older ones, obviously--not too much to laugh at recently) because we see lots of ourselves. He will laugh at something Kate does and say, "That's so you," to which I will retort, "Oh yeah? Well he looks really familiar too!" and again, we laugh. The old Jon and Kate's banter was very similar to ours. All anyone talks about is what a b*tch Kate is with the way she treats Jon, but if anyone actually paid attention to Jon's little remarks, they'd see that he's just as snipey, just in his passive-aggressive way. And because his actions are not as overt as hers, she gets the branding of witch and he's abused. Ridiculous. We once had a good friend stay with us for a few months while her husband was doing some training, and I felt so vindicated when she told me one day, "You know, you and John present very differently than you really are." I asked her what she meant and she said, "Well, it seems like you run the show, but John is REALLY stubborn isn't he? Sometimes it seems like he enjoys getting you going." Ya think? It was like the clouds opened and the Hallelujah chorus was singing because someone finally realized that John was not just this easy-going, whatever kind of guy and I was just the over-anxious, uptight control-freak. Because let me tell you...to this day, the china we eat special dinners on? The china that usually is picked out by the BRIDE-TO-BE? Yeah, not the china I wanted. I love the china we have, but it is NOT what I originally wanted. Nope...John had a weigh-in and refused it. Same for our flat wear, which I also like a lot, but is exactly what John's mom and sister had. (Coincidence? More like John's comfort level) Paint colors in our house? Again, things I like, but chosen by John. If we find out MollyMatthew is a girl, he wants a green in the nursery--whereas I want yellow. (On this, though, I think I'll win because now I can tell him Molly told me she wanted yellow and he listens to her FAR more than he listens to me!) My point is this: It's those quiet, passive-aggressive types that make life really hard for those of us overt, outspoken types, and sometimes, the little sarcastic exchanges that go on between those two types just are benign ways of getting some feelings out. If you watch the older shows, you see that Jon gives just as good as he gets, and yet in their interviews, they recall things they said and they laugh or sort of smile at each other like they knew it was a tough moment, but they made it through. I can say this--I've watched at least 4 reruns on marathon days in which Jon has told Kate to "shut-up" and I'd skin John if he ever said that to me. John never would (out loud!) though because he has more respect (and brains) than Jon obviously does.

Regardless of what one thinks of their banter and their relationship, it's obvious on the older shows that it worked for them. They were a team, for better or worse. As Kate says, "I know Jon loves his kids and I know he loves me...we just get frustrated." And therein existed the problem...as the frustration grew due to the kids getting older, show demands being greater, and in my opinion, Jon stopping his 'full-time job' (because mothering 8 kids certainly can't qualify for a full-time job, right?), Jon's level of tolerance grew shorter and he realized that being a full-time dad to 8 kids was HARD. It cramped his lifestyle and while he himself said that Kate was by far a better communicator and he was proud of her books and her promoting them, he grew to resent being a stay-at home dad. Bring on the ridiculous earrings, weird hoodies and oh, yeah, the late night parties with local college girls. Say what you will about Kate, but honestly watch the last few years of their shows and see that she has been what she is (save some cosmetic changes) since the show started. Her personality, her demands, her drive, her penchant for order--all of those things have been consistent. Those things that Jon now b*itches about, "I was just too passive and let her rule the roost and now I'm standing up for myself," have been there all along. What a cop-out--"I was just too passive. I'm not a good communicator. I don't know what I want anymore." WHATEVER. Cry-baby. John has pulled the old, "I'm not a good communicator" line on me and you know what my response is? "Yeah, well, what are YOU doing about that?" Because the reality is, we aren't all the best at communicating, it's true. When one realizes that he or she is not, though, and that communication is key to a successful relationship, WHO should work on the communication skills? You guessed it--the one lacking them. John's favorite line to me is, "I didn't mean to (fill in the blank)." I have never, ever accused John of meaning to do anything intentionally to hurt or aggravate me. What I have accused him of is not taking steps to make it so those unintentional things didn't happen anymore. And so it is with Jon Gosselin. Kate said he has a lot of anger toward her but won't communicate. Of course he won't. He's done. He is going through a mid-life crisis and realized that 8 kids is a lot of work! He can't just be Santa Daddy because kids need structure and order. While Kate is promoting the book, he has to put himself in shoes she lived for a long time and he doesn't like it. So his fix for that?

CHEAT? Seriously, I don't care if you are married to Attila the Hun...if you are unhappy, you have choices and options. Cheating is simply not ok. And it's not even that--he won't even own up to it, even though pictures all over the magazines don't lie. No wonder he hates the Paparazzi so much--they CATCH him "making bad choices that hurt his family." DUH. Kate can't win--he won't own up to it, he doesn't want to make it work and now she is another statistic, and so are her kids.

And the saddest part? Look who has been missing from their relationship for the last few years? In the beginning, church and their faith in God was present and obvious. The girls are named, in Jon's words, "after fruits of the spirit," and Zondervan published their books. When's the last time you heard either of them talk about church, or God? Talk about how they have talked with their pastor to help them through all of this or shown them saying a blessing over a meal? Long time...and don't think that isn't key here. It very much is.

Anyway, I hate that this whole post will end up in MollyMatthew's book, but there's a lesson here. Two people can be very, very different. They can be sarcastic in their banter and they can even appear snarky to people. That aside, if they are dedicated and committed to each other and their family, and they have God in their lives, they can work through it. They can regroup at the end of each day and know that they are blessed. They can persevere through the hard times and come out better for it. Most importantly, they can show their children that marriage is not easy, but in this throw-away society, it's worth fighting for. I do know this, MollyMatthew--your mommy and daddy love each other very much and love you just as much. You have my promise that we will always work hard together to let you know you are loved and that marriage can be a wonderful and happy way to spend your life, even if it has rough spots. We will always work hard to show you what parents who love and take care of each other look like, and will commit ourselves to working through problems for your good always.

And though that's not all I have to say....it's enough.


  1. Girl I agree with all you have just stated about Jon & Kate! I can relate to being that bossy wife too. And I'm married to a stubborn mule! Love him but it's the truth and he'd say so himself. Every man on his side of the family is! Including my 13 yr old son! Anyway just wanted to say I enjoyed your post and am so sad for them also and wish they could reconcile. I'm even going to pray they do! Of course that would require Jon to GROW UP! Nothing is impossible with the Lord though! I'm so thankful to hear of your struggles in marriage and that you recognize God's power to help us persevere in love and even allow the struggles to help us draw closer to Him and become more Christlike as we die to ourselves and selfishness and love our husbands as the Bible instructs us.

  2. Woo-Hoo! Now we know how to *really* get Lori going! I hope you took a nice long relaxing bath or something after writing this. Breathe. Breathe.
    I admit, I've never watched the show, but got sucked in last night. Why? I guess despite it all, dirty laundry intrigues us. Sad.
    I have a bit of a different spin on the whole situation, but that's probably because I've been involved in the "entertainment" industry. And I'm jaded. If I can muster the energy, maybe I'll blog about it. But it certainly won't be as thorough or thoughtful as yours.
    Now go relax girl!

  3. I've also never seen the show, but really liked reading your thoughts, Lori. The missing God thing is DEFINITELY key. I'd just add that the controlling personality and the passive-aggressive personality are NOT things someone should just accept about themselves, but ask God to change. Both are tremendously harmful to relationships and chip away at a marriage. I think you were getting at that when you were talking about the person changing vs. making excuses for their personality type, but just thought I'd add it in here. People who are that way can become not that way anymore in God's power - I know that old friends of mine who called me a controlling-type back years ago would be surprised to see how I'm not now.....I am SO blessed to recognize that this just isn't something that characterizes me anymore....of course, when I'm not depending on God, I can fall back into it, but, overall, He's been victorious to root it out of my primary MO that I am known for now. Does that make sense? Like you said, there is INCREDIBLE hope for Kate, Jon, you, John, the rest of us, if we give ourselves over to Jesus. May Kate and Jon do that, for their own and their kids' sakes....maybe they will and the Lord will be glorified through it all as folks in tvland witness it, huh?! That would be cool!

    Keep on baking that little one....so excited for you!
    Shan in Colorado

  4. I was just telling the same thing to Darren tonight, about their faith no longer being mentioned. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to have 8 kids, but I always cringe whenever I hear, "The kids come first." Put the kids before the marriage, and the marriage will usually end or end up in a sad, sad place. Kids feel safest when mom and dad get along.

  5. I just have to say that we have the same thing here--I'm type A, bossy etc and Ted is totally passove agressive. How do we make is work after almost 11 years of marriage? We both admit to our faults and WANT to make it work. Cheating and divorce are NOT an option (especially if Ted wants to keep "ALL" his body parts). HAHA--I didn't want to adopt from Russia--guess where we went? The china thing is totally the same here except I didn't want china at all (redneck Chinet for us)--we have china and crystal. MEN!!!
    The truth remains--we are best friends and when something happens the first person we talk to is each other. Call it God, faith, whatever--a greater power has to sustain us. While I think Mala is right and alot of this is publicity---those poor kids. How sad.

  6. And all God's people said, "AMEN" (of course, I say this as a Type A married to a PA man too)