Reality TV star Kim Kardashian claims that she never meant to hurt anyone by ending her marriage after just 72 days and took to her website to send a message of apology to her fans shortly after filing for divorce from basketball player Kris Humphries on Oct. 31.
Yet for some area women, the message that celebrities like Kardashian are sending about marriage is the wrong one.
"The divorce rate has gone up over the years and I think it's because people go into it (marriage) thinking 'we can always get divorced if it doesn't work out.' It is not a good example to anyone to see marriage taken so lightly," said Diann O'Bryant, pastor at Gilman Avenue United Methodist Church.
O'Bryant, who has presided over around 100 wedding ceremonies, requires that couples requesting to be married at the church meet with her on two occasions. The first meeting is about wedding plans but the second is a little more in depth.
"I ask them questions like what they're expecting to put into the marriage and what they expect to get out of it," she said. "I also ask them why they want to be married and what could happen that would make them call it off. We also talk about their vows and how marriage is a covenant between them and God."
O'Bryant even asks the couple to write letters to each other expressing their feelings.
10 shortest celebrity marriages
- Zsa Zsa Gabor and Felipe de Alba - 1 day
- Robin Givens and Syetozar Marinkovic - 1 day
- Britney Spears and Jason Alexander - 55 hours
- Dennis Hopper and Michelle Phillips - 8 days
- Eddie Murphy and Tracey Edmonds - 2 weeks
- Drew Barrymore and Jeremy Thomas - 1 month
- Ethel Merman and Ernest Borgnine - 1 month
- Pam Anderson and Rick Salomon - 2 months
- Nicholas Cage and Lisa Marie Presley - 3 1/2 months
- Pam Anderson and Kid Rock - 4 months
- Colin Farrell and Amelia Warner - 4 months
Source: Times research
Of course there are legitimate reasons for ending a marriage, according to O'Bryant, such as abuse. But for regular marital spats that are typical of any relationship, O'Bryant said that communication and learning techniques to deal with anger go a long way.
"I ask the couples what causes the most stress in the relationship and how they handle it," she said. "We talk about how to deal with conflict, financial issues and sexuality."
While there are some who believe that there are legitimate celebrity weddings that begin with every intention of succeeding, others feel that multi-million dollar ceremonies are for nothing more than gaining attention.
"I don't think all celebrity marriages are publicity stunts, but when the couple have only been dating a few months and they get married, one of them is looking for some publicity," said Sally Thompson, a married Marietta mother and grandmother.
Kardashian and Humphries dated for nine months before marrying in August.
The 31-year-old reality star posted on her website that while she "married for love" and "would not have spent so much time on something just for a TV show," she admits that she "got caught up with the hoopla and the filming of the TV show" that aired for two hours on the E! network.
"When I probably should have ended my relationship, I didn't know how to and I didn't want to disappoint a lot of people," she goes on to write.
O'Bryant is quick to remind would-be married couples that in-laws, such as the large Kardashian clan, and friends are a package deal in many marriages. Learning to get along for the sake of the marriage is very important.
"Setting those boundaries should be their first commitment," O'Bryant said.
Kardashian claims that reports that she and her family made millions of dollars off the wedding "are simply not true and it makes me so sad to have to even clarify this." Twitter and Facebook were filled with anti-Kardashian sentiments last week, including some photos that were reposted thousands of times.
One photo showed the happy wedding couple gazing adoringly at each other above large type that read, "If you think gay marriage cheapens the institution, two words... Kim Kardashian."
"What bothers me the most about these marriages is that gay couples are not allowed to get married in most states, due to someone's religious beliefs of marriage, but it is alright for straight people to make a mockery of it," Thompson said.
In her post, Kardashian says she plans to "donate the money for all the gifts to the Dream Foundation."
The couple's $172,000 wedding registry included such items as a $1,650 coffee pot and two $1,250 sterling silver vegetable spoons.
The Associated Press contributed