When Hollywood director Ben Affleck, who won Best Film for Argo at the Academy Awards, said in his speech that marriage is hard work, it was quickly interpreted by everyone as a signal that his marriage with actor Jennifer Garner is on the rocks. But Garner knows what Affleck what talking about. “I know Ben, I knew he meant it as the hugest, warmest compliment in the world. I think he was saying, ‘Look, what we have is really real and I value it above all and I’m in it with you and I know you are in it with me.’ That’s the way I took it,” she said in a recent interview. And, she has been able to understand what his husband meant just so well, say experts.
“Marriage is not like a fairy tale and there is nothing like a happily ever after, and a long term marriage is certainly not for the faint hearted. People have unrealistic expectations from marriage, and frustration builds up when they are not met,” says psychologist Dr Niranjan Reddy. To make a marriage work, you need to develop skills such as patience, tact, thoughtfulness and forgiveness, he says. And the lack of all these make people look elsewhere for happiness which leads to outcomes such as divorce. People think that a happy marriage means no fights, and no arguments. There will be highs and lows, but the good times will outweigh bad times in a successful marriage. “Just because you are going thorugh a bad phase in your marriage doesn’t mean it’s a failure. There are always ways to make it better,” says relationship expert Jai Madan.