Another Hollywood marriage has hit the skids: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner have announced they are getting a divorce.
The news confirming their split comes just one day after the calendar marked their ten year wedding anniversary. A statement put out by a representative for the couple broke the news. “After much thought and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to divorce,” the June 30 statement read. “We go forward with love and friendship for one another and a commitment to co-parenting our children whose privacy we ask to be respected during this difficult time.”
Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck have three children together, all under the age of ten: Violet, 9, Seraphina, 6, and Samuel, 3.
The pair first met in 2001 while filming a movie, but actually fell in love two years later on the set of a different film. Rumors of trouble in the marriage began to surface several years back, especially after Affleck talked about “working” on the relationship in his 2013 Oscar’s acceptance speech. “It’s work, but it’s the best work there is, and there’s no one else I’d rather work with,” Affleck said as he accepted the Academy Award for Best Picture for his film, “Argo.” Affleck’s choice of words raised eyebrows, but the pair played it off with a self-spoofing “SNL” routine, and Garner gave interviews basically saying everything was A-okay.
Now, with news of a Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner divorce confirmed by the couple themselves, some fans are disappointed. On Facebook, many fans commented that they thought this couple would beat what is perceived as the Hollywood curse and stay together for the long run. (Despite the fact that they already have; according to The Economist, the current average length of an American marriage before divorce is just eight years.) Still others expressed disdainfully that “nobody wants to work on their marriages anymore.” One remark, made by a woman identified on Facebook as Alicia Mercer, went further, directly accusing the couple of taking the easy way out. “They made the easy decision of getting a divorce instead of the difficult decision of fighting to stay together.” Um, okay.
Those with the latter opinion are clearly the type of people that simply like to comment for the sake of commenting, as no one could argue that surviving ten years of marriage is easy. It does take work, as Affleck pointed out at in his Oscar’s speech. Sometimes, however, hard work is simply not enough to fix what is broken. Anyone who doesn’t understand that needs to have their head examined. If it is such a bitter fight to stay together, what the hell are you fighting for? You need to work on a marriage, but the only fighting should come from fighting outside forces trying to tear you apart. For example, when other people interfere in your marriage, you may need to fight to keep those people from succeeding in breaking you up. You should not have to fight against the reality of what your relationship is in the name of trying to save it.
With three young children depending on each parent to provide a stable, loving environment, sometimes the best, most responsible thing for all involved is for the two adults to separate. The sheer number of stories in the news about toxic relationships that end in murder-suicide can attest to that. We don’t live in a fantasy land. Those who view marriage as a magical, sacred institution need to wake up to the realities of the human experience. Human beings are animals, and sometimes, animals who can’t play nice together need to be separated and live apart from one another so they don’t tear out the other’s jugular, metaphorically speaking.
With no judgment one way or the other, we wish Ben, Jen and their children the very best in their continued journey to grow as a family in the way they see fit.