Is Marriage Work?
Real Relationship Advice
Ben Affleck was very excited when he won the Oscar for Best Picture. While thanking everyone, he thanked his wife, Jennifer Gardner. Was it your usual gushy ‘I love you, Baby!’ kind of tripe? No. He said, “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.” The world gasped! How dare he reveal that marriage is work? Why not just give us the pabulum and move on!
The thing is that what he said was the pabulum. Work, according to physics is “when a force acts on a body so that there is a displacement of the point of application, however small, in the direction of the force” (Wikipedia). In product management it is “the effort applied to produce a deliverable or accomplish a task” (Wikipedia). We see work as a hardship or that thing we have to go back to on Monday mornings. We hate our bosses and we are constantly complaining of too much work for little return. Work has a harsh connotation. It is a turn off for some.
Then we ask why did marriage get associated with a word that connotes toil and exhaustion but is also in high demand and necessary? Think about it, you need to work and are distressed without it but then it is difficult and it is a constant source of stress.
Here at CoupleDumb we prefer the definition of work for Karma which is “deed, in Sanskrit, causes the cycle of cause and effect” (Wikipedia). In marriage we do works that will produce effects which are good and beneficial for the relationship. If we all looked at relationship like this, there would be very little use for a relationship blog.
In marriage we are constantly creating works that will produce positive effects later. Paul gets me my coffee every morning. I problem solve with him and support his decisions. Paul takes the boys to school. I make sure to handle dinner and menus. Paul turns on my electric blanket before I get in bed. I stroke his hair while he sleeps. Paul tells me he is overwhelmed and I take a break from what I am doing to spend 20 minutes with him understanding his stress and helping him reframe and rethink his stresses. Tiny works that build an atmosphere of love and creates the effect of each of us feeling safe and happy.
That is the type of work that we are referring to when we talk about marriage. If you are sweating, then you are doing it wrong. (unless you are having sex.)