I recorded last night's season premiere of Jon & Kate Plus 8 for the first time ever! I've watched about 15 episodes before but never used to record them. I'm in my 30's married with two boys and relationships are tough period. I cannot imagine juggling marriage, 8 kids, TV series, book signings, speaking tours, stay at home dad etc and having it all go smoothly. Did Jon make a mistake? Yes! Is Kate too hard on him? Yes! My unimportant opinion - BACK OFF THIS COUPLE and let them salvage their marriage.
For some crazy reason, folks seem to be salivating at the prospects of a divorce. Half the people giving opinions on TV, in magazines and online are they themselves victims, causers or children of divorce. They know the hurt surrounding the issue, instead of hoping for the worst in a twisted way, back off this family and send them encouraging vibes, notes, comments etc. Jon is not the first husband to do something stupid/flirt with other women/cheat if he did, Kate is not the first wife to nag and belittle her husband. Talk to any marriage therapist - couples do alot worse and still manage to make their marriage work. THERE IS HOPE people! Stop wishing Jon & Kate ill - wish them well as they huddle through a tough period in their marriage. I learned about Michele Weiner-Davis' work while in grad school and her emphasis on giving couples hope through any situation is incredible. Jon & Kate are not as badly off as some in the media would have us believe, their marriage does not have to collapse if only one of them is willing to work on it.
I am strangely attached to Jon & Kate because they are in my Generation X cohort. We consider marriage an egalitarian affair where both partners put in equal effort or appear to put in equal effort, our relationship roles are based on gifting and not gender etc - the wife might be better at family finances, the husband might be a better cook/cleaner. We have also left corporate America in droves to stay home with our children despite having advanced degrees etc. We strongly believe in the wellbeing of our children to a fault - hence the debate over excessive 'self-esteemed' children. Back to the show.
My heart broke last night watching the pain they are going through trying to sort their feelings, their responsibilities as parents, their marriage relationship and a hounding media all at the same time. I have serious reservations about the way Kate treats Jon on the show, but I learned the show is only taped 3 days a week and its edited down to an hour. They probably don't show the times she's decent with him. Jon is always potrayed as the docile 'yes, dear' kind of husband and loving dad, maybe the other 4 days of the week - he actually yells back and takes charge in decision making. In other words - its a TV show - we don't see everything! I don't let Kate's behavior towards him off the hook - it bothers me a great deal and my husband will not watch the show after seeing her talk to Jon in only one episode. I also believe Jon (unless its edited that way) should take more charge and speak up on his needs etc.
I have no earthly idea how they will pull off saving their marriage, raising the kids, working while hounded by the media and our incessant comments. Some folks suggested the show should be cancelled, that's a knee jerk reaction. It's a great teaching moment if the producers edit accurately and fairly. I hope they are seeing a marriage friendly marriage therapist instead of one who will tell them to split because "their happiness" is too important. I also believe they might benefit from taking a couple's vacation just the two of them to reconnect emotionally.
Life is tough and tough choices sometimes require happiness tied to happenings to take a back burner to important decisions that will shape the destiny of our families. I'm not sure they should show any episode with the therapist if they are seeing one. In my books - they should do whatever it takes to save the marriage. In the meantime, I am in their corner, cheering them on towards healing in their relationship. I haven't focused on the kids because the naysayers are using them as bait and yelping without considering this - the greatest gift to our children is seeing their parents attempt to make their marriage work and thrive.