I was really saddened last week to learn that Al and Tipper Gore had separated after 40 years of marriage.  I’m not really sure why the news of their marital difficulties and estrangement hit me like it did.  You would think that in a culture of disposable relationships, starter marriages, and a running storyline of extra-marital affairs among politicians and celebrities that the Gores’ announcement of separation wouldn’t have created a blip on my radar screen.  But, for some reason, it did.

Maybe it is because they have been married for four decades and there is no initial indication of “another man” or “another woman” in the equation.  Maybe it is because they seemed so committed to one another and had successfully journeyed together through circumstances that undoubtedly tested their relationship in many ways: numerous political campaigns, life in the U.S. Senate, the Vice Presidency, and narrowly losing a Presidential election.  Maybe it is because they endured the trauma of nearly losing a child when their six-year-old son Albert III was struck by a car in 1989.  Maybe it is because of “The Kiss” at the Democratic National Convention in 2000. 

This isn’t about politics.  It’s about a fractured family: a family with four adult children and precious grandchildren.  It’s about an American family.  Remember those?  Not red state and blue state families; just American families.  

Maybe it is because Kim and I have worked through struggles of our own over the course of 22 years of life, marriage, and ministry together.  There was a time when we were told that we just needed to “start thinking about what was next” by people who were prematurely ready to throw in the towel for us and apparently believed that we were beyond help and beyond hope.  I pray that the Gores are getting wiser counsel than that.

Al and Tipper, I never voted for you, but I am definitely praying for you and pulling for you.  I pray that your separation will give you time and space to remember and rekindle the things that caused you to fall in love over 40 years ago.  I pray that your hearts will be healed and drawn back to one another so that you can grow old together and enjoy your grandchildren together.  If anyone tells you that it’s too late for that, they are wrong.