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Dax Shepard on the One Part of Marriage We Don’t Talk About Enough

After the frenetic pace of the holidays fly by my house, my husband and I will carve out a small evening to celebrate our 13th anniversary. Some say that 13 is a lucky number; we’re counting on it after how hard things have been this past year.

Make no mistake, we love each other and we’re happy-ish, but we’ll be heading to couples therapy soon. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned after more than a decade with another person, it’s that behind the veneer of peace and equilibrium, there is Herculean effort.

Dax Shepard knows exactly what I am talking about. He recently shared some of his surprisingly unconventional thoughts on relationships with TODAY that had me thinking, This dude totally gets what real relationships are actually about.

Shepard is married to the beautiful and enigmatic Kristen Bell, and together they have two kids. The couple has been refreshingly open about how hard it is to make a marriage work, despite the fact that they make theirs looks so darn flawless.

“If I had to sum it up in one word, it’s work,” Shepard told TODAY. It is work, and love and marriage aren’t always quite as simple as we’ve been led to believe. “I think that we’ve all consumed a lot of fairytales and romantic comedies and sitcoms,” he admits.

Shepard goes on to say:

“In that architecture, it seems that your main job is just to select the right person, and I don’t really think that’s the main job. I think that’s maybe the least important aspect of it, truly. I think it’s far more about the work that goes into it to make it good.”

I couldn’t agree more. You know what else people do? They get crazy excited for the wedding and fail to truly consider all the skill sets needed to make a marriage work. In my own marriage, my husband and I have been stuck in the same looping argument for years. It’s never really been resolved and seems to change shades of intensity depending on the season of our marriage.

“I think that couples tend to get into patterns that just repeat themselves endlessly, unless you have an objective outsider who can recognize what patterns you’ve fallen into and then suggest some tools that prevent you from falling into that pattern,” Shepard shared. This is why the couple seeks professional help — to view their relationship from other vantage points, which is something my husband and I are eager to do.

Modern marriage is tough, no doubt. As a married woman, I find it marvelously brave that two Hollywood actors would be so open about how much work goes into their relationship. It’s a topic worth chewing on and sharing everywhere. Heck, these two make a great role model for what a healthy marriage can look like.

The couple has been honest about other aspects of their lives in a way that has gotten my attention. For example, the recent admission from Bell that her kids can drive her bonkers and she uses the help of her husband to catch a break. “We tag team,” she admitted, referring to her husband of four years. “We switch kids all the time. If I’m talking to the 2½-year-old and I’m done, I’ll just be like, ‘We’ve got to switch. I don’t want to talk to this kid anymore.'”

Parenting and marriage can make or break a person in so many big and small ways. I, for one, am happily over here watching Shepard and Bell to see how they handle typical experiences in child-rearing and marital bliss because they’ve proved over and over again that their take on things may be fun and sweet, but it’s also really real.

(h/t TODAY)

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