| July 9, 2012

Seven years ago, he was jumping on Oprah's couch like a lovesick teen, and now Tom Cruise is in the midst of a divorce with Katie Holmes. Why is it that when a couple seems to have everything — fame, fortune, health, an adorable child — it doesn't work? And if the celebs have it all and can't make it last, what are the chances for the rest of us?

Don't worry. The very fact they have it all is the very undoing of a good marriage.

Fame is dangerous to relationships for at least a couple of reasons. Most troubling is that it demands that a couple spend time away from each other. In TomKat’s case, the divorce petition was served in Iceland where Cruise is filming a movie.

My research of over 400 married women showed that the number one indicator of happiness in a marriage was the amount of time spent with one's spouse. Women who were happily married reported spending a daily average of over 30 minutes of uninterrupted time talking to their man. Unhappy women reported a daily average of less than 30 minutes and 24 percent of those unhappy women reported that they spent less than five minutes a day talking to their husbands.

It should come as no surprise that steady amounts of time together is necessary to sustain a happy marriage. All relationships need time and consistency. We need to keep up with each other's lives, look into each other's eyes, and be in the same physical space to feel the mood and emotions from each other. Without that, we might love each other, but staying "in love" demands much more than occasional get-togethers.

Celebs seem content with the understanding that their work schedule will take them away from each other for long periods of time. It is a simple recipe for disaster.

The next problem of having "everything" is the inability to define your "couple culture." A marriage needs a sense of meaning and a way to grow together where there is purpose to their union. Rarely do couples actually discuss what they want their culture to be. This culture typically adopts them as immense collective energy is thrown into career and/or family building.

But when you have it all and it seems to come easy, couples often lose their way and life becomes a quick, steady path of self indulgence. The individuals no longer truly "need" the other to live happily. Instead, they just like being together. Yet, a couple needs to feel that life without the other is almost impossible. If a spouse does not feel a need to have the other in his or her life on a daily basis, that is a short step away from separation. After all, once separated, what have you truly lost on a daily basis? If you have been achieving your goals and living your dreams largely through your own strength and ability, then being married has become the spice instead of the main course itself.

For your couplehood, make sure that you are spending regular consistent time with your spouse when you're able to chat about the day and talk about things other than the stresses of life. Remind each other what you are building together, and if you don't have a good answer to that, find one immediately.