Knee Jerk Headlines and The Captain and Tennille

Staying married for any length of time can be challenging. A union that lasts for nearly 40 years is like winning the lottery. We should all be so lucky.
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Can't the media be more original?

News outlets all over the world -- from The Guardian, to Time magazine and hundreds of blogs, radio stations and websites in between, have impulsively kicked off their stories this week with the exact same sentiment: Love couldn't keep the Captain and Tennille together.

In all fairness, this clever headline entered my mind immediately upon hearing the news. But after some reflection, the real story is that love DID keep them together. Sure, they didn't last "'til death do us part," and "some sweet girl" didn't start hanging around, but Toni Tennille and Daryl Dragon achieved something many people can only dream of.

Staying married for any length of time can be challenging. A union that lasts for nearly 40 years is like winning the lottery. We should all be so lucky.

The United States ranks fifth in the world for the most divorces. The average duration of a marriage (that is terminated) is eight years, a number that has been consistent for the past 60 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Others have a much shorter lifespan. This is particularly true among pop stars and other famous people. The shortest Hollywood marriage was Rudolf Valentino's in 1919. The Italian actor was married for about a half hour when his wife locked him out of their honeymoon suite for good. In 2004, Brittany Spears set a record with a 48-hour marriage. Now people wonder if Kim will stay married to Kanye for longer than the 10 weeks she spent as the wife of Kris Humphries.

Most couples can attest to the many complexities and compromises required to keep a marriage intact. It's certainly not for the faint of heart. Most importantly, it requires a dedicated, ongoing effort. Ben Affleck created quite a stir at The Academy Awards last year when he thanked Jennifer Garner for "working on their marriage." I hear they are still going strong after several years and three children.

Instead of publicizing a failed relationship that didn't live up to their famous lyrics, the Captain and Tennille should be applauded for their commitment, dedication and courage. A divorce is gut-wrenching at any age, but older people are particularly vulnerable to the consequences. Most septagenerians don't have the energy to go out clubbing, socializing and playing the field. Heck, that's exhausting for people half their age. As a result, many couples stay together later in life to avoid loneliness.Toni and Daryl represent more of a "black and white divorce." A "gray divorce," is Al and Tipper.

Breaking up must have been very hard to do. Call me a hopeless romantic, but I'll bet the Captain and Tennille still love each other.

So here's my headline: Love, Actually, Kept the Captain and Tennille Together. Now isn't that nice?