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10 Things Every Couple Can Learn From Jennifer Garner's Divorce

It may seem totally superficial, but I was one of the many who sighed a very sad sigh when actors Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck announced their divorce. After 10 years together, the parents of three were throwing in the towel. Rumors and sightings of Ben with the hot nanny took over the tabloids and Jennifer came off looking like the sweet saint that she (probably) is.

I know it's silly to even care because I don't actually know Ben and Jen. Chances are, neither do you. But let's face it, Garner and Affleck were one of those celebrity couples we all hoped would make it in a "we're hoping our own marriage makes it" kind of way.

They seemed like a normal couple—if you can be normal while being really, really famous. His dark brooding persona was balanced by her doting All-American Girl image. They seemed like any of us. And sadly, just like any of us, the two have split.

There's a lot to be learned from Jen and Ben's split. Because if you're like me, you'll do anything to protect your marriage. Or if you've been through a divorce, you know there's nothing you want more than to divorce kindly for your kid's sake. Here's what I'm taking away.

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1. If Jen Garner can keep her divorce civil, anyone can.

Despite the stories and photos of Ben with the cute, young nanny, Affleck and Garner are still often photographed together with their kids. And despite getting publicly cheated on, Jen is still willing to play nice for the sake of her kids. If she can, anyone can, right?

2. Couples don't split overnight and there's rarely one single thing that causes divorce.

In her recent Vanity Fair cover story, Garner admits that long before there were any allegations of infidelity in their marriage, the two had separated. She said, "We had been separated for months before I ever heard about the nanny. She had nothing to do with our decision to divorce. She was not a part of the equation." There's rarely one event that ends a marriage, even if it seems that way from the outside.

3. If you don't want people know you cheated, don't cheat.

Rumor has it that Affleck was none too pleased that Jen basically confirmed to Vanity Fair that he had an affair. But if he hadn't cheated, no one would have known about it. Easy fix!

4. Even if you dress like Batman for your kid's birthday, everyone will still remember how you wronged your spouse.

It was cool of Ben to put on his Batman costume for his son's third birthday party, but Jen still had to explain the word "scandal" to her young kids when the couple's divorce (and Ben's affair) went public.

5. Kids will eventually be old enough to Google their parents.

Ben's oldest daughter is probably "I can Google my parent's divorce" years old and his younger two children will eventually be that age, as well. The same applies for all of our children. They will all eventually be old enough to use Google, Facebook, Instagram and various other forms of social media that might also serve as proof of Mom's or Dad's indiscretions toward one another.

6. Even if you've split, divorced parents are still stuck with each other for life.

While Affleck and Garner publicly spend a lot of time together for the sake of their kids, reports say she finds it annoying to spend so much time with her ex. But divorced parents are stuck with each other, even if they're no longer together, so it's better to try to separate nicely than not.

7. Normal, seemingly happy couples have problems, too.

Jen and Ben looked like the picture of a normal, adoring couple and maybe they were. But like normal couples, a lot was going on inside their household that led to their divorce. You can never judge anyone's marriage, or judge their household, unless you're in it.

8. You can control the level of animosity in your divorce.

Tensions are high and emotions run deep in any divorce, but Garner is determined to rise above being angry and resentful. She told Vanity Fair, "I cannot let anger or hurt be my engine. I need to move with the big picture always on my mind, and the kids first and foremost." Words to live by!

9. Getting through a divorce is easier if you have people and things to rely on that give you joy.

Wives and mothers often put themselves and their interests second to those of their spouse and children. But Garner found getting back to her childhood interests like dance and music helped her get through her darkest hours. It's a good reminder!

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10. No matter how much you loved your husband, you'll still be relieved you're not together when he gets a dumb tattoo.

Garner is demure when asked about Ben's new huge back tattoo of a phoenix, but it's clear she's thrilled that his huge tattoo is his problem now and not hers. Even in a messy divorce, there's a silver lining!

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Photograph by: Getty Images

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