Scarlett Johansson offers some thoughts on marriage — Hooray!
Now there’s a sentence I didn’t envision myself writing. Ever.
We on the “radical Right”, embracers of Judeo-Christian/Constitutionalist values, are sure to slam into enough hostility against our beliefs, against ourselves personally, that we don’t need to stir up gratuitous conflicts. By all means, let’s keep calling out those propounding Leftist, secularist lies; but let’s not create problems where they needn’t be. When those not normally occupying the traditionalist conservative side of any debate speak truth? Perhaps even unwittingly? How about commending them, tossing their way a heartfelt “attaboy”? We certainly shouldn’t be sniffing out disagreement where it doesn’t exist.
Which brings me to Ms. Johansson’s ruminations:
I think the idea of marriage is very romantic; it’s a beautiful idea and the practice of it can be a very beautiful thing. I don’t think it’s natural to be a monogamous person … It’s a lot of work. And the fact that it is such work for … everyone … proves that it is not a natural thing. It’s something I have a lot of respect for and have participated in, but I think it definitely goes against some instinct to look beyond.
Yahoo.com’s Suzy Byrne reports The Avengers-franchise actress volunteered these comments, ironically, in a March/April Playboy interview.
When I first heard that ScarJo had remarked on “monogamy”, I instinctively prepared myself to pounce, indignantly dismissing her as just another vacuum-headed, sex-obsessed Hollywood ditz. Confession time: my conclusion was hasty and ill-informed, shame on me — because what I discovered in her actual words was a pleasant surprise; remarks at once insightful, candid and rather affecting.
If one embraces the conventional, biblically-informed Christian perspective of human nature, what Johansson said about “monogamy” — sexual self-control — and matrimony are irrefutably reasonable, even self-evident. Whatever the details of the frankly liberal, twice-divorced starlet’s personal lifestyle, her utterances on this matter? Unimpeachably accurate if one believes people, left to themselves, have a sin problem.
What man reading this piece, for instance, would argue sexual faithfulness to one partner comes “naturally”, short of purposeful self-restraint? Newsflash! “Naturally” speaking, most males are hound-dogs; if permitted, they’d seek after as much sexual gratification, with as many women as are available.
Similarly, given their emotional druthers, the majority of those women who’ve settled on a burping, belly-scratching, 3:30 AM-snoring lug? If presented with the justifiable option, they’d ditch him in a pitter-pattering heartbeat if a more sensitive, more attentive, more affirming male option swaggered along.
Still, lots of folks resist these tom-catting desires, these restless urges, don’t they. Howcum? They’ve committed themselves to follow God’s commandments; determined, by His grace, to NOT yield to those primal, mood-motivated, gland-fueled reflexes.
That’s where the thirty-two-year-old celebrity’s aforementioned “lot of work” piece comes in.
Emerging serendipitously in the wake of Ms. Johansson’s observations were the connubial cogitations of another fetching Tinsel-Town A-lister: Halle Berry lately confided that, “I have learned to deal with three failed marriages, which has not been easy, especially when there’s children involved.”.
Heartbreakingly, she continues,
[As] women, we go into marriage thinking it’s going to last forever and that this is our prince on a shiny horse. That’s what fairytales taught me as a kid … and I’m kind of anti-fairytales today … [W]e go in there with that hope, so when it falls apart it feels like a huge failure and a huge disappointment … I’ve often felt guilty and responsible. I’ve suffered a lot of pain and anguish.
Yes, heartbreaking, indeed; and revelatory.
The husband-wife union is one of God’s many genius ideas. It’s unambivalently the primo way to go in the whole guy-gal relationship/sex/child-birthing/child-rearing category.
“Whoever finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the LORD” (Proverbs 18:22).
“Marriage is to be held in honor among all … fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” (Hebrews 13:4)
The judicious among us line up with the Creator on those pronouncements. And when nuptials are abused or abandoned? There are glum consequences to face.
The data is overpowering; marriage is not just a romantic flight of fancy but a pragmatic, on-the-ground good for individuals and society: In general, married individuals do better in life across-the-board: physical health, sexual fulfillment, psychologically, financially. The performance, statistically, on nearly every index is superior for children nurtured by a staying-together mom and dad versus those growing up in “broken” homes. Solid marriages leading to solid families predictably benefit their broader communities, entire nations, actually: fewer people requiring social services, a more educated populace, civil behavior encouraged, criminal activity discouraged; on and on the dividends pile up.
That said, Scripture — and human experience — clarify inescapably that successful (happy!) wedlock doesn’t come easy; to reference ScarJo one more time: “a lot of work” is required. Like most earthly blessings, marriage confers advantages a-plenty, but also passes along sobering obligations, weighty responsibilities.
None of matrimony’s boons come cheap or easy. Some won’t necessarily materialize quickly either. So, intentionality must be standard-issue; flatly indispensable is a purposefulness between spouses to invest in their relationship, an unbudgingness toward hanging in there when things get a tad dusty relationally, stressful or even downright combative.
That’s the whole point of the “till-death-do-us-part” thing. Years ago, Dr. Laura Schlessinger cleverly pictured the marriage commitment as a bridge built to preserve couples through those challenging stretches which inevitably make an appearance in any long-term household. Their pledge to one another carries them over daunting patches, conveying them to the other side where serener conjugal conditions await.
I recall a while ago chatting with a couple I know and vocalizing — as I’m doing here and do often — that a healthy and satisfying marriage doesn’t come without great heaps of often strenuous effort. The wife shook her head slightly, quietly rebuffing that hadn’t been their experience. Well, after observing them for several years since that conversation, I’m fairly certain their experience has changed, some trying spells have cropped up for them — and by all outward indicators, their vow before God and others has helped them weather those seasons.
I possess zero inside information regarding Ms. Johansson’s and Ms. Berry’s multiple-marriage dissolutions, but I can’t help wondering: Had either of them more scrupulously applied Johansson’s own counsel, hung in there a bit more doggedly fighting for their marital bond – might their situations have wound up differently?
Scarlett Johansson could be horrified that an awful, Bible-thumping right-winger like myself finds cause to give thumbs-up to her enlightened monogamy/marriage commentary. That doesn’t make what she professed any less praiseworthy — or civilization-savingly imperative.
Image: By Voice of America – http://www.voanews.com/a/photo-gallery-women-march-worldwide/3686038.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55992550