During his 2012 Oscar acceptance speech for winning Best Picture, Ben Affleck referred to his marriage as work. The 41 year-old actor, writer and director thanked his wife, Jennifer Garner, during the awards ceremony for "for working on our marriage for 10 Christmases."
Despite the fact that this is one heck of an accomplishment and that this was his first win in the Best Picture category, his speech, not his professional prowess, is the talk of the town. While Garner seems to be flattered by his comments, his statement does leave a question lingering...should marriage be work?
You know, love and marriage are two different concepts that are very intricately intertwined (or at least should be intricately intertwined). Things typically work out for the best when you love the person you are married to and when you marry the person whom you love. So if love is supposed to be our most powerful emotion, why is it work?
Technically-speaking, if you truly love someone, then it's not work. Sometimes it's work to like the person you love because people behave in ways that are hurtful, selfish and downright mean at times. But, true love is unconditional, ever-flowing and should be effortless.
Marriage, however, is a combination of a lot of things, only one of which is love. The other things that make up marriage are work. Marriage is the uniting of two souls, lives, pasts and dreams.
It's work to come to a consensus on the most important things to focus on financially, particularly in this economy. It's work to navigate the demands of your job and your spouse/family. It's work to apologize even when you believe that you are only 25% to blame for this argument. It's work to hang in there when your pregnant wife wants four things from the grocery store, but can only remember them when you get in the line. Yes, marriage is physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual work.
Kudos to Ben Affleck for keeping it real. Hollywood marriages are the same as any other marriage, and he blatantly and respectfully pointed that out in his speech. The only difference between Ben and Jen's marriage and my marriage is that he has an audience of millions (and a bank account of millions to match).