Liv Tyler Understands Marriage, Which Is Why She’s Not Married
Actor Liv Tyler and her fiancee of four years and father of two of her children, Dave Gardner, haven’t tied the knot yet and people are confused. “Engaged Liv Tyler Doesn’t Really Understand the Point of Marriage” declares E! News. “Are Engagements the New Marriage? Liv Tyler Seems to Think So — Here’s What Experts Say,” writes Parade. “Liv Tyler Explains Why She Has ‘No Desire to Get Married’ Despite Her 4-Year Engagement to Dave Gardner,” states Closer Weekly, adding that, “We hope to see Liv and Dave exchange vows soon!”
People want her to get on with it already! But in an interview, Tyler explains her perfectly perfect reasoning:
“I love being engaged, but I don’t really have a desire to get married. I always felt like marriage should be more of a reward … For surviving your relationship … I feel everyone’s got it backwards.”
We hear you, Liv. You’ve been down that marital path before. But that is not enough for anyone else. See, they just can’t believe you don’t want the big party and the public affirmation of “until death.” So they asked experts — just what the hell is going on with you.
Like a ‘constant high’
Marriage and family therapist Jane Greer has a rather jaundiced view of the whole thing:
“When you are engaged, you are on a constant high. You’re developing a certain excitement, you are engaged! You are going to get married, you don’t have to commit much more than that with a date because it’s fine to have it open ended. And it’s like Christmas with a big present under the tree that you can open when you are ready.”
I dunno but when I got engaged, twice, I didn’t feel constantly high. But maybe that’s because I didn’t have an engagement ring, and Facebook and Instagram didn’t exist and I didn’t have to put on a performance of engaged bliss. But I certainly was committed to my partner.
Stephanie Coontz, professor of history and family studies at Evergreen State College and author of Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage, has a more nuanced view:
“[P]eople who have long engagements are doing what Tyler says — using marriage as the icing on a cake once they are sure the cake isn’t going to fall. Marriage is increasingly something that people see as the culmination rather than the beginning of the relationship. But most people will move forward — or away — eventually.”
Commitment and ‘moving forward’
I respect both Greer and Coontz, but, really — aren’t Liv and Dave already committed, especially since they have two children together (and are step-parenting two more from previous marriages), and aren’t they moving forward simply by being together, not because they made it legal, but because they just want to be together?
And maybe, just maybe, they aren’t into the “big present” on Christmas; maybe they’re just enjoying the little presents of their life together every day.
Given the “big presents” of the hyped holidays, whether Valentine’s Day or Christmas, I’d much prefer daily gifts of love, kindness and appreciation.
Slow approach to a second marriage
It reminds me of how Orlando Bloom and Katy Perry, who have each been married before, are also taking a slow approach to marriage (although they’ve only been engaged since Valentine’s Day — hardly an eternity). As Katy says,
“[We’re] definitely trying to, like, lay the good emotional foundation for the lifetime of commitment, which is, like, a big deal, you know?”
Orlando feels likewise:
“It’s important to me that we are aligned. I’ve been married and divorced and I don’t want do it again … and we’re both fully aware of that. She’s remarkable and so I’m always so impressed with that and I’m encouraged.”
Good luck with that, Orlando, because second marriages generally don’t last for a variety of reasons — children and former spouses among them.
Knowing that, why would anyone want to rush into marriage, especially a second marriage, which could financially devastate you even if you have a prenup? Not to say that financial concerns are why these two couples are moving slowly. But who would fault them if it was?
Is marriage a reward?
I don’t know if I agree that marriage is a reward, as Liv believes, or some sort of an accomplishment. It’s privileged, that’s for sure, but it ain’t all that. I don’t know if getting married will give Liv and Dave any more than they already have — a life and children together.
And I know that as much as people who have been divorced may not want to go through it again, as Orlando says, there are no guarantees in love and life — even if you’re being the best person you can be.
In any event, the two couples are forging ahead with their romantic partnerships as all of us do — with the best of intentions — and the second time around with some hindsight and (maybe) wisdom.
Who cares how long it takes to get to “I do” — or if it even happens at all?
Want to know the right questions to ask your potential spouse? (Of course you do!) Read The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels (Seal Press). You can support your local indie bookstore (please do) or order it on Amazon.