Scarlett Johansson has made some comments about marriage that are enough to make anyone hesitate before setting foot in a bridal store.
The actress, who recently split from French journalist Romain Dauriac after two years of marriage, was asked about monogamy in an interview for Playboy.
“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,” she said.
“I don’t think it’s natural to be a monogamous person. I might be skewered for that, but I think it’s work. It’s a lot of work. And the fact that it is such work for so many people – for everyone – the fact of that 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.”
Look. I have no doubt that Scarlett Johansson finds monogamy more of a challenge than me.
Her working day might involve her rubbing up against Colin Firth or Jonathan Rhys Meyers or Bradley Cooper. Me, I work from home. Once a month or so, a middle-aged tradie drops around to do a termite inspection or unclog the toilet or whatever.
I sympathise with you, Scarlett, I really do.
Of course, there's the instinct to "look beyond". But life as an adult involves overcoming the instincts that are only going to lead to regret. (I have the instinct to go around slapping racists, homophobes and people over 40 who use the word "bae", but I don't.)
Listen: Madison Missina explains the concept of being "monogam-ish". (Post continues after audio.)
My main issue with what Johansson says is that she makes long-term relationships sound so miserable — "such work for so many people, for everyone". Work, work, work. What about the good stuff?
I have a bit of experience with marriage, having celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary last month (I know, I can't believe it either). Has there been work involved? Yes. But good stuff too.
The work isn't so much in resisting the urge to run off with any hot person you see. The work is in making your relationship solid enough that, all things considered, you'd rather stay with the person you're with than run off with Bradley Cooper (if he happened to suggest it).
That means thanking the other person when they empty the dishwasher or walk the dog. That means listening to them unload about their crappy day at work and sympathising. That means tackling little issues and fixing them before they become big issues.
After 25 years, you find shows you both like. Photo via iStock.
There's good stuff that comes with solid long-term relationships.
This person knows you, almost as well as you know yourself. They've seen you at your worst - the drunken vomits - and they're still with you. You don't have to hide who you really are.
There's that rock-solid trust, built up over years and years and years. You can toss your money in a joint account and not worry that they're doing something dodgy with it. You know they have your back, always.
There's that comfortableness. They know which TV shows you both like, so you don't have to sit through The Big Bang Theory in polite silence. They can order Thai takeaway and know that you want the yellow curry, not the red, without having to ask. (Post continues after gallery.)
They can buy you the right book for your birthday, because they know you're a fan of autobiographies. You can bag Donald Trump and they're not going to surprise you by saying that they think he's the best thing ever to happen to America.
Obviously, every marriage is different. Some are terrible. Some should end in divorce, the sooner the better.
But if you're married to a good and kind person who treats you well, and you have a lot in common, the "work" you put in is worth it.