A Guide to Marriage, Courtesy of Robin Thicke

Amid all the jokes and the criticism of the singer over his desperate appeals to his wife, Paula Patton, to save their marriage are four lessons that can teach everyone something about marital bliss.

Actress Paula Patton and singer Robin Thicke arrive at the 82nd annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre (now called the Dolby Theatre) on March 7, 2010, in Hollywood, Calif.   John Shearer/Getty Image

3. “I changed. I got a little too selfish, a little too greedy and a little too full of myself.”

This revelation always comes after the fact. I can’t imagine what 2013 was like for Robin Thicke. Even though he’s enjoyed R&B success for years, “Blurred Lines” propelled him to a new stratosphere of international fame. I would have been feeling myself, too!

But Thicke should have had someone in his inner circle who could keep him in check. As my pastor puts it: “Always have someone around you with the authority to rebuke you.”   

The lesson: We need to be corrected at times, and we can’t always recognize when and do it on our own. It’s critical to have a core group of friends and family who won’t allow you to get away from your true self.              

4. “We were together as children. We raised each other, and now that we’re adults, we’re not the same people in the same places.”

You could argue that their split was bound to happen. Thicke met Patton when he was just 16 years old. Though they waited until their mid- to late 20s to get married, those two kids who first fell in love as teens grew into adults who possibly weren’t compatible.

You’re not the same person at age 32 that you were at 16, 21 or even 25. For better or worse, Thicke says he grew into the man he is today, which means growing out of the person he was when they first met and when they married.

Still, meeting at a young age doesn’t mean that growing apart is inevitable. It does, however, mean that your relationship might require more awareness, care and attention from you both.

The lesson: Growth happens. Your mate will change. And the younger you are when you get together, the more dramatic those changes might be. Be prepared to embrace and nurture that growth when it happens.  

There’s speculation that the photo of Thicke with his hand on another woman’s butt or the photos of him getting a little too friendly with a woman at a Paris nightclub or the nearly pornographic MTV Video Music Awards performance with Miley Cyrus was a reason for the split. But Thicke’s public statements suggest that none of those things set the separation in motion. The split was a long time coming because of missteps a lot of us make in our relationships every day.     

We may never know exactly what happened between Thicke and his wife. And who knows if he’ll ever “get her go, get her go, get her go, get her back.” But for now, Thicke is providing a public refresher course on how to keep from losing a loved one in the first place.

T.J. Holmes is a journalist and TV personality. Formerly of CNN, he can currently be found at MSNBC, and his commentary can be found online. Follow him on Twitter.