Perhaps the most surprising thing about the breakup of Aaron Rodgers and Olivia Munn is that similar endings don’t happen more often. The Green Bay Packers Quarterback has had a big rift with his family as a result of his relationship with Munn, which began three years ago. Reports say that the family thought the actress was with him for the wrong reasons and that they didn’t trust her. Munn has been accused of adding fuel to the fire by expressing her problems with the family on social media, liking tweets that accuse his family of distracting him from his career.
According to a New York Times story in January, Rodgers hasn’t spoken to his parents since 2014. But now, apparently, the pressure has gotten to be too much for the couple. “They have amicably ended their relationship of three years,” a source close to the couple told People on Friday, adding that the pair remains “close friends and wish nothing but the best for each other moving forward.”
Our families used to have much more control over whom we dated and married. And it was much harder to go against those restrictions, not only because we cared more about what our families thought. Today, by contrast, we’re getting married later in life (Rodgers is 33 and Munn is 36), and finding it much easier to leave our family communities and live life elsewhere.
In a 1964 book, Intermarriage, author Albert Gordon described how hard it was to cross racial, ethnic or religious lines in choosing a partner because of the difficulty of finding friends, a place to live, and a community that would be accepting. These days it is much easier in principle for a couple that is estranged from one member’s family or another to go on with their lives together in a kind of vacuum. They can move away, join a new community, make new friends, etc.
But this kind of marriage is not without its problems. Janet Jackson just split with her husband, Eissa El Mana, only a few months after the birth of their son. The match seemed like an odd one to begin with and the Qatari businessman apparently was demanding that Jackson dress more modestly in public and engage in less suggestive dancing. (Umm, you married Janet Jackson!) But the final straw was reportedly his lack of concern for her mother.
One does not have to believe in arranged marriage to believe that our families often have something useful to say about our potential spouses. There are plenty of exceptions, of course. But couples benefit from having a network of extended family and they should be wary of giving that up. Not only are families able to help in times of crisis or even with mundane matters such as childcare, they are also able to advise couples when things get difficult. It is useful to know how older married couples have dealt with the same issues.
In many cases, people who defy their families in their choice of spouse end up reconciling with family later on. So even if things aren’t working out well now, it’s probably wise not to publicly badmouth them – something Olivia Munn found out the hard way.