Ben Affleck is getting some heavy criticism this week. Evidently people didn’t like his acceptance speech at the Oscars. Clearly the messages scribbled on his hands by his daughters didn’t convince the public of his family devotion. They didn’t appreciate him mentioning that his marriage takes “work”. More and more our culture shuns hard work. Was it surprising to hear a Hollywood star admit that his life might be less than glamorous at times? I am glad to hear him say it. We may not want to admit it, but we are influenced by media. We are shown an unrealistic picture of what a relationship should look like. It paints an unrealistic backdrop of “romance.” In response to his words people wrote,
“It must be a sign that their marriage is on the rocks. He must be fed up. It is a hint of things to come. How could he be so cruel to his wife in front of millions? She must be devastated…”
This is the part people are all in a tizzy over. He looks at his lovely wife and says,
“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.”
Maybe he said marriage is work because….marriage is work. Maybe he thanked her because…he is thankful. Sheesh! We all know marriage is difficult, but lot’s of great things in life are difficult. We didn’t just skip to the moon. Rome wasn’t built in a day. We didn’t just stumble onto electricity. Ok, maybe we did kind of stumble onto electricity, but you get what I am saying.
Scott and I recently visited his Grandma at the nursing home. We were chatting with some of the residents at dinner. One resident asked us how long we had been married. We told her twenty years. Tears were brimming in her eyes as she softly said, “I was a wife for many, many years. Just remember, marriage is hard, but it is good.” Her words were true, but somehow she made us feel the weight of those words with her eyes and her quiet voice. We knew she was speaking from experience. Scott and I looked at each other and felt we were in the presence of greatness. It will always be a defining moment to us.
Tim Keller says,
“To fall in love truly is to fall in love not only with the person as they are, but also with the person you know that God is making, that God is turning them into. In other words, you get glimpses of future greatness [even though] you know the person is very flawed. Yet, you get excited about their future self as well as who they are now and you say ‘I want to be a part of getting you there.’ You want the person doing the same for you, in which case you are not really looking for a person primarily that gives you great sexual chemistry, or romantic chemistry for you. You are looking for a person who understands you, that can be your best friend, and your best counselor, and is going on a journey with you to help you become all that God wants you to be. Two people coming into a Christian marriage should actually say, ‘We are here to help change each other.”
In other words, a husband and a wife are walking this road together. If one stumbles, the other picks them up and dusts them off. If one gets lost, the other pulls out a map. If one is weary, the other gets a soft warm blanket. And if one forgets who they are, the other lovingly reminds them. Love is wanting the very best for one another. It sounds so easy, but it can be the hardest thing you will ever do. And what joy it will bring!
It is difficult, but it is good.