One of the saddest relationship breakups of 2017 was the split between Anna Faris and Chris Pratt, who filed for divorce after eight years together. Since then, they've both briefly opened up about how things have been and most recently, Faris shared her thoughts on marriage following her split from Pratt. The topic came up when the Mom actress recently met up with Dax Shepard for his podcast, Armchair Expert, and she told the host that she’d first need to figure out the purpose of marriage if she were ever to take the plunge again. At first blush, her comments may seem sad, but they’re actually as charmingly honest and mature as everything else about the comedienne.
There’s no argument that Faris is a funny, funny woman, but scratch the surface of that quick wit and it’s easy to see an intelligent, contemplative woman. On the podcast with Shepard they discussed a host of smart issues including pay disparity, the effects of pornography, and traditional relationship roles. When they came to the topic of her first marriage, to actor Ben Indra, she turned reflective.
"You would think that having successfully married parents would increase your odds … For me, it was sort of like checking it off the list," she said, during her talk with Shepard. "If I get this part solved then I’ll, like, do career and everything. And also I think I was very intimidated by dating in LA and not feeling like I don’t fit here with, like, glamorous people."
During her chat with Shepard, she explained that the breakup of her marriage to Pratt has only cemented her feelings that she doesn’t know if marriage is, for her, a vital thing for a relationship. According to MSN, she said:
I need to figure out what the purpose is. Is it safety for your children? Is it convention? Is it so other people respect your relationship more? For me, I’m just not quite sure where it fits.
That desire to ask deep questions and find satisfying answers may come from Faris’ upbringing with two educators. Her father is a professor and her mother a retired special education teacher, according to People. But in truth, making the effort to answer that question is important for anyone thinking about jumping into matrimony. Relationships are tough enough without knowing exactly why — or if — marriage is the right next step, and having a shared goal can give a couple something to lock in on during the really tough times.
A quick Google search of “the purpose of marriage” shows that religion is one of the more common reasons to tie the knot. But even then, both members of a couple have to come to an agreement about what status that faith has in the relationship, and whether they’re choosing marriage for tradition, values, or another reason.
Sociologist, author, and professor Eli Finkel told Business Insider that a combination of factors are responsible for increasing pressure on marriages. Primarily, our relationships have changed while our expectations haven't; what was once driven by need is now governed by wants. Finkel explained to Business Insider:
[T]hese days, we are looking not only for love, and connection through the marriage, and sexual fulfillment, of course. But also for these more tricky, complicated sorts of need fulfillment. Needs like self-actualization, personal growth, and a sense of vitality. And so these days, for the first time, if you can find yourself in a situation where you'd say, "Look, he's a loving man and a good father but I'm not going to live the next 30 years feeling stagnant, feeling like I can't really grow."
When faith isn’t the motivation, there are a variety of things that can still make marriage the best choice. Everything from feelings of commitment and giving children a stable environment to practical matters like taxes and insurance could factor into the decision. Whatever the outcome, as Faris has indicated, the process is intensely personal.
Faris and Pratt have both been super vocal about their shared admiration for one another and their desire to successfully co-parent their 5-year-old son, Jack. “Our son has two parents who love him very much and for his sake we want to keep this situation as private as possible moving forward,” Pratt wrote in a Facebook post on Aug. 6. “We still have love for each other, will always cherish our time together and continue to have the deepest respect for one another.”
Faris also spoke about to E! News about their commitment to work together for their son's sake. "He's surrounded by so much love. And I think that we just constantly reinforce what a great kid he is ... I think that the key is surrounding him with a lot of joy and happiness, which he has a ton of," she told the news outlet in January.
Fans responded with shock and sadness over their split, which Faris admitted to Shepard was a little hard to take. During the podcast, she said:
I had a little bit of a childish feeling … a little bit of anger. But that’s not fair either because I cultivated it. We intentionally cultivated this idea of like "look at this beautiful family." There were so many moments that were like that but like anything on social media, you don’t post [the negative].
Even in one of the most difficult and trying times of life, this funny girl really gives a lot to think about and so much to admire.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.