When Ben Affleck won Best Picture for Argo at the Oscar’s this year, in his speech he said to his wife:
I want to thank you for working on our 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.
There were mixed reactions in the media to his, both good and bad. Twitter was ablaze with commentary; people said Affleck is “a troubled husband” “awkward” and was implying that his marriage was “on the rocks.” There were the supporters too, those like me, who agree that marriage [or a relationship] IS work. What was so wrong with Affleck expressing his love to his wife by honoring the work they both put into their marriage?
It makes me think that many of us are still largely disillusioned about what it takes to have and keep a strong relationship. We work for all of the good things in our life. We work hard to advance in our careers. We work to get good grades and graduate with a degree. We work hard to maintain physical fitness, emotional wellness and spirituality. Really, everything good in our lives gets “worked” on. So why were people so stricken by this comment? Shouldn’t a good marriage be work?
Affleck’s wife was smiling at him when the camera panned to her reaction. To me, she seemed to be proud of her husband as he accepted one of the greatest achievements of his career. I obviously have no idea what her real reaction to his statement was. Since you’re here reading my blog, I can tell you my reaction :)
I think he hit the nail on the head. Marriage [or a relationship] is hard work.
I recently finished reading The 5 Love Langages. Have you read it? It has completely blown my mind. The author, Dr. Chapman, sets forth the reasons why he believes relationships dissolve. The information he presents makes so much sense to me. And millions of others, based on the best selling status of the book.
The basic foundation of the book is that every individual speaks a different “love language” and that among the 5 languages, there are different dialects. It isn’t uncommon for two people who speak different love languages to attract one another. This is why the feeling of being “in love” is so exciting! We are with someone totally unlike ourselves. As long as we are in the “in love” phase, we fail to see any flaws in the other person. It is when we come out of that phase and into the what usually becomes marriage or a long term relationship that we start to see differences. We start to realize things; we notice that he doesn’t spend time with me or she never acknowledges how hard I work. And we can’t figure out why we no longer feel love or loved.
Dr. Chapman talks about how this realization requires that we must put work into our relationship in a way that makes sense to our partner. For example if you want to feel acknowledged by your significant other and so you acknowledge everything they do to make them feel loved, chances are this will mean very little to them if it isn’t their primary love language. You can feel like you are putting ample work into your relationship but getting nowhere. But, if you learn your partner’s love language and put that energy towards showing love in a way that make sense to him/her, you will drastically improve the way your partner feels love.
See: mind blown.
I encourage you to read the book and to not be afraid to work on your relationships. Because Ben was right, it’s the best kind of work.