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Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner enjoyed a private wedding on the beautiful island of Turks and Caicos on June 29, 2005. This past Tuesday, exactly ten years and one day later, they announced that they were getting divorced.

The news of the impending “Bennifer” divorce shook me a lot more than I expected. I mean, they’re a Hollywood couple! The shelf life of a Hollywood marriage is a LOT less than ten years. Perhaps that’s why I expected them to last. I mean, if they made it 10 years; they HAD to be in it for the long haul. Or so I thought.

While contemplating their announcement, I realized that I had some very skewed (read: WRONG) views of the nature of marriage. Yes, I, marriage blogger, had very incorrect perceptions of marriage. Now before you decide to ditch this blog altogether, thinking “Hey! She just admitted that she has no idea what she’s talking about – time for me to log off!” ….wait a second and hear me out.

For some reason, I’ve always thought that the longer a couple is married, the easier it gets. As if when you make it past 5, 10, or (go for the gusto!) 15 years of matrimony, then your marriage just sort of sails into autopilot, and you somehow manage with little effort given from either party. Yeah, just writing that feels wrong.

The truth of the matter is that marriages take a lot of work. We all know it, we hear it again and again, but somehow that simple truth seems to flow in one ear and out of the other. We still feel like our marriage is the exception; we feel that our marriage is supposed to be easy.

Jen and Ben’s situation is not unique. They cited reasons for the divorce such as a “loss of romance” and having “grown apart.” This happens to every. single. married. couple. on. planet. earth. So if we know that these feelings are inevitable, then the question is how can we divorce-proof our marriages?

Now I’m not going to pretend that I have all the answers. But what I will say is that we cannot be afraid to face the issues in our marriages. Avoiding and ignoring them will not make them go away. Instead, they will quietly linger, until they grow into huge issues that seem unfixable. Years under our marriage belts won’t divorce-proof our marriages, but focusing on fixing problems head-on can help.

Also, we need to remain realistic about our marriages and our spouses. Our spouses aren’t perfect people, and they can’t be expected to totally fulfill us. Likewise, our marriages aren’t perfect either, and we need to remember to let go of this notion of the fairy-tale that we’ve been fed since childhood.

Ultimately, let’s remember that our marriages require tender love and care. Whether you’ve been married a year or twenty years, remember that making your marriage last is a crucial priority. 

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