Be Like Ben Affleck, Says Portland Marriage Counselor

March 7, 2013 by

As a Portland marriage counselor, it’s not often that I reference Oscar speeches in my work but I think that Ben Affleck’s recent comments about his relationship were spot on:

“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.”

Apparently, Affleck has been getting flack for his comments from a lot of people but I don’t think it’s deserved. Instead of simply saying “I love you so much, you’re the most amazing person in the world,” Affleck paid wife Jennifer Garner a genuine compliment that didn’t sound like a scripted platitude. Without complaining or blaming or revealing personal details, he acknowledged what all of us should know already: everyone has relationship issues and you have to keep working at it if you want your marriage to last.

Portland Marriage Counselor: Why is “Working” Controversial?

Listening to pundits and gossip columnists, you would think that his marriage is on the verge of collapse just based on those few sentences, but that’s not what I see at all. This is a person who realizes the value of the person he’s with and understands that working on their marriage is what’s kept them together.

Which is in no way implying that their marriage is or was in trouble. On the contrary—I believe that continuing to work on your relationship is what keeps couples from getting into trouble.

The couples who come into my office in pain over their relationship issues generally aren’t the ones who have made a point to focus on each other and keep the romance alive. They’re the people who have let life get in the way and accepted drifting apart as part of the natural way of things.

Here’s the thing: they’re not wrong. It is natural that we lose our connection with each other over time because life can’t help but pull us in other directions. Just because something is “natural,” though, doesn’t mean that it is inevitable.

Your Commitment is Your Relationship, Says Portland Marriage Counselor

People don’t get married because of a physiological need. We do it because we make a decision that spending our lives with a particular person is better than living without them. But the decision isn’t over after that moment passes. We have to continue to decide that it’s worth it.

For those willing to put the work in, a lifelong marriage will likely be the best part of their time spent on this Earth. If you’d like to learn more about making your relationship work, contact the Portland marriage counselor.