Ben Affleck and the Experts ARE Right, Marriage IS Work!

I am normally not one to comment on articles unless I am really passionate about the topic, like this article I read here entitled: ‘Ben Affleck and the Experts are Wrong: ‘Marriage is not Hard Work‘. My two passions here are Ben Affleck and marriage, in that order, kidding! Maybe

As we’ve all heard/read, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner announced after 10 years of marriage that they will be getting a divorce. As a wife and mother myself, this saddens me (despite the huge crush I’ve had on him for the past fifteen years). While we do not know the private details of this situation, the media will speculate and tabloids will continue to exploit these stars (because remember, they’re not people) during this very public split. When I first saw this article, I was quite bothered. The title alone put my head in a tizzy. Marriage is not hard work? What? I mean seriously…WHAT?

The author states she has been married for 31 years. As someone who has only been married almost four, I believe that marriage is hard work. While I realize I don’t have the miles that she does, I agree with Ben Affleck and the experts. Let’s break down this article piece by piece, shall we?

“You are only as happy as your most unhappy child. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Deciding whom you’ll marry is the most important decision you’ll ever make. Marriage is a lot of hard work.”

She seems to be setting up this first paragraph to be all things that people say/believe but aren’t necessarily true. The first sentence for me is one of those puns I don’t like so I’ll skip it. As for ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’, DUH! There have been studies proving this to be true (a study from Harvard Medical School found that people who ate breakfasts of whole-grain cereals had lower rates of diabetes and heart disease compared to skippers). Some may argue with me saying that there are also studies showing breakfast isn’t the most important meal of the day and that is true. I, however, don’t think they are as supported. Next, ‘deciding who you’ll marry is the most decision you’ll ever make’. Hmm, what to eat for lunch today or whom to marry? Yeah, I’d count that as pretty weighty. You actually repeat the vows ‘until death parts us’ so unless you’re planning to ‘Dateline’ your spouse, it’s kind of a forever thing and in my eyes, I think spending my life with someone is the most important decision….after what to eat for lunch, that is. And she nailed it with the last statement…’marriage is a lot of hard work!’ She could have stopped there, but she didn’t, so I shall continue.

She links Ben Affleck’s Best Director Argo Oscar speech (highly recommend the movie to anyone who hasn’t seen it), where he mentions that his marriage is work. Well, you know what, it is! And I don’t think he was insulting his wife either, I think he was speaking honestly. You are entering into a binding (and legally, I might add) partnership when you get married. You are fully committing yourself to another. You are saying you will love, support and honor that person until death do you part. You speak the words, ‘in sickness and in health’. Have you ever cared for a sick person? It’s work. The author continues stating that she asked her husband and he agreed their marriage isn’t work. Well of course he agreed with you and for two obvious reasons:
1. She was holding a knife (that part of the article made me chuckle)
2. If he disagreed with her then there would have been a long discussion as to why (and we all know men hate long discussions!)

The article continues about how the author and her husband have asked each other this question over the years and her most recent reply was this: “Not at all. It’s never been work for me. Not even for a day in 30 years.” I told him.

I know I have not been married that long, but my follow-up question to this statement would be ‘do you have kids?’ Because if she does, then I would say that answer above is bullshit. If not, I still call bullshit (and I call it Kate Hudson style…if you haven’t seen ‘How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days’ this won’t make sense to you).

My parents will have been married for 35 years this August. I, too, asked them both this question. And guess what? They both agreed that it is! My mom did say that some people would agree with this author, but believes the majority would not. So why is it hard work? Because it’s a relationship that requires effort. It requires being present. It requires making time for one another. All of these things take work. Maybe this author feels complacent in her marriage and for some people, that is okay. They get along and go about their lives. But for me, I just don’t see it.

The author winds down the article with the following: “I am not saying that everything is always perfect, that Mike doesn’t sometimes disappoint me, that I don’t get angry at him. I am not saying that there are not hard times, hard issues, hard problems. But I must say that he overwhelmingly makes it easier to handle these things. So maybe if marriage seems like really hard work, there is something that needs a little fixing.

Mike and I spend hours cuddled up on our couch. He scratches my head if it hurts. He hugs me when I am sad. But he doesn’t consider that work either, because when I am happy, he is happy. And I know the reverse is certainly true, so I do what I can to make him happy too. Did I mention that I sail overnight on the boat every summer taking a three-hour shift on my own in the middle of the night? So is our marriage work? It can’t be. Because I never feel like I need a vacation. Does anyone else have a marriage that isn’t hard work?”

I agree with some of what she’s said above, but her overall message, I do not. My husband and I irritate each other. We disappoint each other too. We fight, we forgive and we continue to love. That’s just simply part of marriage. We also have work stress, personal stress and overall life stress that sometimes spills into our marriage. We have a child that requires our constant attention. We can take each other and our relationship for granted. We can fall or drift apart from one another. And then we reconnect. We work at it. We work at it because marriages just don’t magically stay together. They require two people committing to that relationship. No, it’s not a 9-5 job, it’s actually a 24/7 job that when you don’t put your time into, can really affect its productivity.

This doesn’t mean our relationship needs fixing. That means our relationship is real. We have a love that while it is full of joys, affection and appreciate is also full of sacrifices, compromises and hard work (some of these the author mentions). And by the way, when you are sacrificing and compromising you are working…you are working to satisfy your partner, to keep them happy. That takes work, whether you want to admit it or not. So maybe you believe that your marriage is not hard work, good for you (and I say that in the most sincere way). As for me, I will continue to work at mine each and every day because my goal at the end of it all is to bring out the best in my husband and in me…and how can I ever do that without working on it?

How to be a Partner in Your Marriage

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As a wife and mother, I think it’s hard to remember how to be a partner in my marriage. I get so caught up in telling my husband all the things he needs to do that I stop telling him the things I should like how much I love and appreciate him. I forget about the feelings we had when we first met, the love that grew over time and all the special moments in between. They become distant memories and at times, so does our love.

My sister, who was the maid of honor at our wedding, said something I’ll forget, “Always remember how you feel on this day and try to live each day like that”. I haven’t done that…we haven’t done that. I’m too focused on my to-do lists, my stress and my anxiety. I don’t treat him like a partner and I don’t act like one either. I become resentful towards him for all the things I do as a wife and mother instead of how grateful I am for everything that he provides our family.

It’s easy to get angry, feel frustrated and place blame. It’s harder to be understanding, loving when you want to be yelling and accepting of each others flaws. Marriage is so tough, it really is. It’s something you have to work at every single day. It’s a partnership that requires participation from both parties. Of course there are times when one person is giving more effort than the other, but that’s when you go the extra mile. That’s when you comfort instead of criticize, love instead of leave and really be a partner instead of a pessimist.

The balance of wife, motherhood and work is challenging. I am constantly finding myself in an internal battle of how to manage and at times, an external battle with those I love most. I think the best way to be a partner in your marriage is to just be there. Be present. Put down the phones, share a meal together, have a date night (even if it’s in your own home!) and communicate. The biggest fights can sometimes come from miscommunication. Men and women have different roles in marriage but the common ground begins with love. After all, isn’t that what brought you two together in the first place? You fell in love. You saw this person over time as someone you can truly spend the rest of your life with. You got engaged, you got married and along that way maybe you’ve had a few kids (and pets!). But the one thing that should never change is your love.

Be the kind of partner you want your spouse to be. And never, ever ever give up. You took the vows and you made the promises. You are a team…so partner up and enjoy the ride!

Is Marriage Ever Easy?

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Is marriage ever easy? Or does it ever get easier? Is there a point where you’re just on cruise control and then…

“Everything is awesome!!!
Everything is cool when you’re part of a team!
Everything is awesome when we’re living our dream!” (Tegan & Sara)

Yeah, I just quoted the LEGO Movie song. But honestly…marriage is tough. And I feel like as the decisions in your lives get tougher, so does your relationship. It gets pushed and pulled and twisted and turned and flipped upside down to a point of exhaustion. Your relationship is starts wearing thin and sometimes you even wonder, why am I married to this person? It’s terrible to say, it really is, but in a heated moment, can you tell me you’ve never thought it? You probably have. And you’ve probably discussed that thought with your friend(s) at some point or another. Maybe you confided in one friend during the course of a conversation or in a group setting among friends. And this applies to women and men….the difference is what is said. Here’s what I picture:

Woman to girlfriend: ‘Ugh, Larry is so irritating, I don’t even know why I married him, he’s literally laying on the couch doing nothing while I try to make dinner as the kids run wild…” and then the woman would spin off into layers of issues she currently has with her husband.

Man to friend: ‘Yeah, she’s being a nag lately but whatever, so did you catch the game last night?’

Maybe I’m completely off…maybe? But it seems to be when it comes to feelings, women think and feel with our hearts while men think and feel with their heads. Yes, men can make heartfelt decisions, but most of their decisions are based on problematic thinking while women’s decisions are based on our emotions. So when women rationalize with feelings, men don’t understand it, the same way we don’t understand their right vs. wrong, facts-not-feelings rationalizations.

I read ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ my first year of marriage. The book was super insightful and now I might consider reading it again. I think when you get into a routine with someone you forget how they operate until something shakes up both of your worlds and you see yourself on opposite sides of the room. A disagreement heats up and now you’re both standing there in shock thinking ‘what the heck just happened?‘. You may even stare at the person contemplating, ‘who are you‘? Because you’re both so polar opposite on your stance you start to question if this person is truly even your significant other. Who is this stranger among you? And where did they take your significant other to?

It’s easier to throw a curve ball than it is to hit one. But when it comes to matters of the heart, why aren’t we playing on the same team?

Things change when you have kids. Your marriage changes. Your lives revolve around them, and not in a bad way but in a ‘it just happens’ way. You have birthday parties and sport schedules and school projects and all the things that make having children a joy but also the exhaustion of your existence. But in the beginning of it all, in the beginning of this newest family member’s life, all if you have is each other. All you have is the two of you parenting. And it’s not easy. It’s a huge adjustment. And you expect there to just be acceptance, trust, love and perfect harmony except there’s not…there’s fear of the unknown, chaos, criticism and arguing. You begin to act like children. You fight with words. And you while you can forgive those words, you can never take them back.

Sure, there is love and those tender moments of ‘firsts’, but there are a lot of sleepless nights and delirious arguing. And then more things change. You buy a pet, get a new house, welcome another child and the cycle continues.

I don’t know if marriage is ever easy or if it ever will be easy. But I know that I love my husband and there is no one else in the entire world that I would rather be in this journey with than him. And because we’re not perfect we’re going to fight, we’re going to argue and we’re going to fight some more. But we’re not going to give up, we’re not going to walk away and we’re not going to leave our promise to one another. ‘No one ever said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it’. At the end of the day, no fight is worth it, but your love is.

Love is a Battlefield.


Ahh, love. It’s truly my favorite thing to write about. I’m in love with love and everything it encompasses. From believing in fairytale endings and living happily ever after to the cheesy and over the top romantic gestures and my own personal journey to finding the love of my life.

Never settle. It’s something I frequently say and really believe in. There are a lot of things in life you shouldn’t settle for but compromising yourself, your morals or your individuality for any relationship in my opinion is never worth sacrificing. Find the person that loves you for you, that never gives up even when it’s tough (and I mean really tough), the person who looks at you and you can just feel how in love they are with you and isn’t afraid to show it (even in front of his/her friends), someone you have things in common with, not just a mutual physical attraction because that fades quickly, and someone you genuinely can see yourself spending the rest of your life with. If you’re lucky enough to have found the love of your life, hopefully you have married them! If not, don’t give up…and of course, don’t settle.

Marriage isn’t easy and whoever said or says that it is, is lying. Marriage isn’t easy because it takes work, and it takes work from two people who have things in common, maybe even a lot of things, but are two completely separate individuals with separate thoughts, feelings and ideas. The first year of marriage was the toughest for me (so far). My husband and I didn’t live together prior to getting married so adjusting to being under one roof was definitely a challenge. I’ll be brutally honest in saying there were many times I left the house crying or stayed in the house and locked myself in a room to cry. But things did get easier with time. I think just like all things in life, the more time and effort you give something, the better (hopefully) it becomes. We finally got in sync, learning each others bad habits and quirks, and accepted them. Acceptance is a HUGE part of marriage because if you think you’re going to change your spouse, you are in for a rude awakening. Now I don’t get upset about him leaving a trail of his clothes around the house and he doesn’t get upset with me about how I load the dishwasher! We have a mutual respect for one another and try to work more as a team instead of individuals. Once all the adjusting subsides, you have time to really focus on the love…and that’s the best part. You have this person for the rest of your life (God willing). Someone to wake up to every morning and go to bed with every night. You have a best friend that loves you unconditionally and accepts all of your flaws. It’s pretty incredible.

So now you’re married and you finally get into a groove but then you decide to throw a child into the mix and BOOM, complete chaos. I thought marriage was a lot of work….WOW, try raising a child together! Neither one of you know what the heck you’re doing, despite how many babies you’ve been around, because it’s different when it’s your own. Now you’re both are trying to figure it out like you’re trapped inside some giant maze while trying not to kill each other…because yes, you will at some point want to kill each other. Parenting is literally the hardest job in the world and I think anyone that has children will agree. There is nothing in the world like it. You are solely responsible for another human life as long as you live. It’s your job to raise your child/children to be the best possible version of themselves. That’s a heavy burden to bear, especially for a Type A perfectionist like myself. And when you have two individuals sharing this responsibility there are going to be some arguments, or a bunch!

Children change your marriage. I never thought it would change it so much but it does. Sure, I love my husband and he loves me but things are just different. Our lives revolve around our daughter and not in a bad way, but a way that we are her caretakers and she’s our number one priority right now. You do things differently and sometimes there is frustration with that. You argue about sharing baby responsibilities and often even place and verbalize blame and judgments. You have expectations of one another and get upset when the other isn’t meeting those. Maybe your expectations are unrealistic, which can cause even more frustration. Some days the baby/kids are fine, and you argue just to argue. You become emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted that you can’t even remember the last time you had a date night that involved actually leaving the house and the baby/kids. Your relationship inevitably takes a back seat and not by choice. Things start to feel one-sided and you find yourself placing personal attacks on one another. You let your own insecurities as a parent get the best of you. You take out the difficulty of balancing life, work, a marriage and raising children on each other. You stop acting like a team. You are on the battlefield and you are both armed.

So, what do you do? Give up? Quit? Fight until death? Leave? Well, I hope you do none of those things. Marriage is a vow…”for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad…until death parts you.” I take those vows very seriously and while I truly believe we’d never leave one another, I understand how people can get divorced after having kids. I love my husband more than anything and we are still discovering how to be parents, but there’s no one else I’d rather go through this process with than him. Sometimes when I’m really angry I put myself back to the day of our wedding. I envision different moments from that day and how I felt. I remember the love and pure joy I felt and then ask myself, do I really want to fight with him about this? You pick and choose your battles in marriage, whether you have kids or not. As a couple who has a child, we are taking this journey together and working on being more supportive than critical, more loving than unkind, and more understanding that judgmental. I can say at times it’s been amazing and others it’s been a battlefield, but in the end we learn, we grow and we get better. We get better because we want to. Love doesn’t have to always be a battlefield.