Friday, March 1, 2013

Marriage, Work & Ben Affleck

During his Oscars acceptance speech on Sunday, Ben Affleck said something very profound to his wife. This caused many people to freak out:

"I want to thank you for working on marriage for 10 Christmases. It’s good, it is work, but it’s the best kind of work, and there’s no one I’d rather work with."

In a world where 50% of marriages don't work out (and even fewer in Hollywood) the world seemingly read way, way too far into what he said. He didn't imply his marriage was on the rocks. He wasn't saying his relationship was suffering.

He was telling the truth.

And I'm glad he said it in such a profound way. Marriage IS work. So is every other meaningful relationship in your life. And if you think it isn't, you are sadly mistaken.

I don't talk about my marriage in a serious or personal manner for a few reasons:

1. You probably don't care

2. It's none of your business

3. It's disrespectful to my relationship

But talking about marriage as a scenario that involves work is a universal idea that applies to each of us. That is, if we plan on being married for an extended period of time.

You see, we all dream (or at least think) about getting married. We plan a wedding (which is a ton of work and incredibly stressful) and then take a relaxing honeymoon. Then what?

Well, you start your life. Maybe you think about having kids. Perhaps you move a few times. Get a new job. Lose a job. Go through something terrible. That's the way life works, right? You deal with it as best you can.

But it's easy to move your relationship to the back burner when dealing with life in general. Because you're busy. You are stressed. You have obligation after obligation that pulls you in so many directions that working on your relationship feels like something that you don't have time to do.

It seemingly doesn't matter, but it matters more than anything else you'll ever do. Because you chose to be with that person through everything life throws your way. And you have to figure out how to do it together.

You won't always agree. You probably will not get along sometimes. You'll clash over opposing personality traits and different upbringings. You will say or do things you'll likely regret later.

You do thos things because you are a human being. Marriage is about getting along most of the time. But more importantly, it's about being willing to understand your faults. Thinking about feelings and words and actions and throwing them in a pot with every other thing you deal with in your life.

But more than anything, it's about taking the time. Every time.

So I salute you, Ben Affleck. You are a smart, smart man.

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