I have to say I’m a little confused as to why Ben Affleck’s speech and talking about his marriage to Jen caused such a stir. I’m confused why people think there is trouble in paradise when someone admits paradise doesn’t get built on cotton candy and dandy wishes. Its work. but why wouldn’t it cause a stir in a society that 1. doesn’t value marriage or family and 2. doesn’t understand that some things..the really valuable things..DON’T happen over night. it takes WORK. What i heard in his rambling as his wife looked on admiringly and teary eyed is he committed himself to her again and thanking her for working with him and loving him and being able to stand on the biggest stage of any actor/director’s life and say we made it babe. Those 10 Christmases and all got me here and are worth more than this little gold man..even though he is quite pretty and nice.
I don’t know about you but Someone said something very interesting to me the other day on being married, they said you become a different person. Upon taking on that name and that ring and that commitment, you commit to not be all about you 24hours a day. its unselfishness, its compromise and its dying to self. its the out-workings of the highly poetic and very unglamorous side of the “2 become 1” phenomenon. and maybe that’s what people are uncomfortable with. the risk it takes to love deeply and care for someone until death do you part. and his speech was a little peek into that VERY sacred, VERY messy and VERY unglamorous idea…that the dream takes work. And that that- loving look she gives him and that strong interlocked hand he gives her- marriage we all are obsessed with is not perfect but its good and its theirs and took every bit of those 10 Christmases to get to.
AND then i read this article, Ben Affleck’s Oscar Speech Revealed a truth about Marriage by Melissa Wall and it cemented all my thoughts and ideas. here’s a snippet:
Marriage is a voluntary commitment that flies in the face of all scientific research and human evolution.
We enter this voluntary (some say insane, and they’re not entirely wrong) pact because we do a cost-benefit analysis and decide that the benefits of getting married (or otherwise partnering for life) outweigh the potential costs — breakups, emotional pain, financial disarray, the list goes on. We make just about the biggest emotional leap of faith a person can make, because we think, feel, and hope that the rewards will be great.
But at no point can we ever assume that these rewards will come without putting in the work to achieve them. We’re signing up for a daily struggle — some days it’s a small struggle, some days larger — and a distinct set of tasks that must be completed in order to keep the whole thing from falling apart. These may range from the tiny (say “good morning” to your spouse in a cheery voice even though you wish you could shoot a nuke through the sun and return to sleep) to the sizable (find a way not to explode with rage and stomp out when your partner loses her temper and insults your mother) to the enormous (comfort your partner and assist with all the logistics after the agonizing death of his parent).
Large or small, it’s still work — there is no way around that. And failing or refusing to do this work means the death of the relationship, maybe not today, but eventually.
and this is what excites me and absolutely terrifies me. The idea that you commit your life to another human novice like yourself. who will know you like none other and will have the power to hurt you and hold you like none other. which i’m sure both of which will happen. but at the end of the day, the only one you’d want to walk along side on this earth, whose eyes you want to behold through the years in sickness and in health/in poverty and in wealth and whose hand you want to hold into and out of every and any circumstance. what a weighty responsibility but what a righteous one to bear!
photo via people.com