Say it ain’t so! The Daily News just ruined my lunch. Bradley Whitford and wife Jane Kaczmarek have filed for divorce after nearly 17 years of marriage! Bradley Whitford is one of my favorite actors (in my all time favorite TV show, West Wing). They always seemed like such an amazing real-life couple, a real team.
Years ago, I read a book entitled “What I know Now: Letters to My Younger Self“. Jane was one of the contributors. Her letter always stuck with me, especially the end, when she refers to meeting Bradley:
And, the best lesson of all: You’ll find you can like people and let them into your world, even if they aren’t big success stories. Because of that, someone different will enter your life. He won’t have the trappings of success that you used to think you needed to have in a man. On your first date, he’ll ride you home on the handlebars of his bike, because he has no car and can’t afford to hire one. But he’s really funny, smart, and has amazing integrity. Because of this horrible year, Jane, you’ll be willing to pay attention to the guy you’re going to marry.
Not knowing anything about them, other than their TV and red carpet personas, I felt that this scenario – him picking her up on a bicycle in New York City -was just such a beautiful image, and a tell-tale sign of their relationship. I imagined it filled with humor and adventure, built on more than the fortunes of fame.
I had an older friend once, on her third marriage, who insisted that the idea of one partner from the age of 25 to 75 was a ridiculous notion. People changed too much, she said, to expect identical changes in one’s partner.
Having had close proximity to several failed marriages, I have often spied the institution as suspect – an unnatural coupling sure to end in unrealized expectations. Yet, so far, in my year of marriage, I have found just the opposite. I look at my husband every single day and think how incredibly lucky I am to have found this angel. We are greater than the sum of our parts.
Will the wisdom of accumulated years look back at me as naive? I have know way of knowing. For me, the joy comes in the day to day encounters we have with each other, not the plans for the 50th wedding anniversary. If the journey is exceptional, then hopefully the destination will be too.