Ben Affleck hit the nail on the head when he recently spoke about marriage in his Oscar acceptance speech commenting “it is work, but it’s the best kind of work…and there’s no one else I’d rather work with.” Sweet, touching and true, relationships do need work. Beyond the honeymoon period where people meet and fall in love, there are work schedules to deal with, family members to fit in, and the little personal idiosyncrasies that we all have but only allow to show with time. Spending many hours, days, weeks and even months apart during filming, Ben Affleck and his wife Jennifer Garner still have to go through the very same feelings, emotions and ups and downs as any regular couple. Setting apart issues such as dealing with the paparazzi and having every gesture scrutinized, this Hollywood romance has the same issues to contend with as any other relationship but how refreshing, that the leading man publicly confirms what we knew all along – that marriage takes work. Whether you’re betrothed or otherwise committed, it’s important to realize that relationships aren’t always easy and don’t just happen. They take work on both sides –
Arguments and disagreements are a part of relationships. You may be perfect for one another but that doesn’t mean you have to agree on everything. Being able, however, to accept these differences of opinion and more importantly respect them, is key to a relationship where you can learn to love without condition and forgive with understanding. Coming from different backgrounds, upbringing, traditions and religions can all involve a little give and take from time to time.
Where there is no trust, there is jealousy, suspicion and even guilt. This is not the ground for building a healthy relationship. Harbouring such feelings is the worse case scenario whereas bringing them out into the open can help you and your partner work through them and get to the roots of why you feel like you do. Establish some ground rules such as phoning if you are going to be late for dinner and be open about social plans with the girls or the boys. If your jobs require you to send periods apart, as is the case with the Oscar winner and his wife, trust and communication is even more important.
Relationships built on compromise are the strongest and the longer lasting. A relationship is about giving and receiving and although that may sound rather like an age old cliché, it is a true one nevertheless. Compromise can come in many forms such as agreeing to disagree, not always to have your way in an agreement, acknowledging mistakes, admitting when you are wrong and learning to say sorry when it is warranted. None of this is always easy but the results are worth it.
As Ben demonstrates in his speech with his words “I want to thank my wife” and “I want to thank you for working on our marriage”, it is important to recognize the compromises, effort and work your partner puts into making your relationship work. Sometimes a simple “thank you” says it all.
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