I watched an Oprah today, the one that aired this week that showed the Oscar winners: Sandra Bullock, Monique, Christoph Waltz, and Jeff Bridges. Before there is a collective groan from my male audience at the mention of the dreaded “O” word, listen up. There are words of wisdom ahead.
I can’t take credit for them, as they come from Mr. Bridges, a man that grew up with famous parents, and who you would expect to have turned out a child of Hollywood. Which made what he said all the more surprising, and all the greater. But I’ll get to that in a second.
I’m sure most of you have heard of the new NBC show, “The Marriage Ref,” the reality show from Jerry Seinfeld that mocks relationships and makes them comedic fodder for NBC actors. Everytime I see the thirty second promotion for this show, I get hives. I may not know a lot about marriage just yet, but without reservation, I can tell you that Alec Baldwin knows less. Call me naive, but I will not be taking marriage advice from someone renowned for having one of the worst divorces in the history of mankind. I will watch him on 30 Rock, no more no less.
Jeff Bridges has been married for thirty-three years, and the way they treat each other reveals the respect, love, and appreciation they have for each other. He has said wonderful things about their life together, their children, blah blah blah…but what he said to ‘The Sun’ really resonated with me. He said: “If you change partners every time it gets tough or you get a little dissatisfied, then you don’t get the richness that’s available in a long-term relationship. My wife supports me and it makes me love her more.”
To me, that is the epitomy of marriage, or even a committed relationship… the true understanding of “in good times and in bad.” This is what it’s supposed to be about. Some people are incapable of it. But there are people out there that are. “You’re bound to have some bumps. And it’s how you do that together, you know? Those bumps can really be wonderful opportunities to make your relationships all that much stronger.”
It’s odd to say, and I mean no disrespect, but I made a decision to listen, but not really bleed the advice of the recently married, those still in the honeymoon stage. I listen to those that have really been through it – those who have lost a child, those that have dealt with infidelity, those that have been divorced and got remarried. They know the difficulties, the trials, and the downright rollercoaster of simultaneously loving and hating the person next to you. Because, from what I’m told, it can get really hard. I admire the ones that got through all of that, and came out, not with flying colors, but bruised, battered, yet stronger and braver than before. You want someone standing next to you that’s going to be there with you in the dark.
Maybe my thoughts on marriage are far-fetched – but too often the marriage is turned into the wedding, decorating your home, planning your children’s names, picking vacation destinations. Because, not to be a pessimist (too late), all of that fades away and right quick. It’s about someone being there because he wants to, not because he has a piece of paper that says he has to.