The Denver Post reports that Congressman Ed Perlmutter and his wife of 27 years, Deanna, are divorcing. I always feel sad when I read that a prominent, long-time married couple is getting divorced. I have no idea why, it’s not like divorce is a rare occurrence. Nor should it carry a stigma.

I suppose it’s because the public only sees the happy side of the couple, usually with their children, smiling, laughing and touching, in photos and at campaign events. From those images, we form an impression: That’s one happy, loving family. When it’s later revealed they’re getting divorced, the image is shattered. As we don’t know these people personally, it’s the only image we had of them. When the image is gone, we’ve had a loss too.

I actually did get to meet Ed Perlmutter when he ran for Congress in 2006. I interviewed him for 5280 at a downtown Starbucks. In addition to politics, we talked about his family, his wife, children, parents, grandparents, the whole nine yards, and I got the sense they were very close and committed to each other. He wasn’t trying to impress me, he was trying to convey a sense of who he is and how he got to this place where he was running for Congress. There was enthusiasm and pride in his voice as he recounted everyone’s accomplishments.

So when I read tonight that the Perlmutters are getting divorced, I felt sad. The Post reports Ed and Deanna have lived in a limbo state since 2005, they tried counseling and everything they could think of to keep the relationship intact, and it didn’t pan out that way. The best thing we the public can do is express our regrets and our support for both of them.

Public life and the rigors of campaigning take their toll. Good politicians, like Ed Perlmutter, decide to run for office not just for the ego rush, but because they think they can make a contribution to our lives. Usually they do. For that, they deserve our respect.

Best wishes to Ed and Deanna, I hope that this difficult time passes quickly for you and you always remember the years of good times your family had together.