Matthew McConaughey: Marriage Is an Adventure

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Greenlights" by Matthew McConaughey. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What are Matthew McConaughey’s views on marriage? How does he balance his marriage and career?

For Matthew McConaughey, marriage and family were goals that were as equally important as his acting career. According to Greenlights, marriage is an adventure and a journey.

Read more about Matthew McConaughey’s views on marriage below.

Life Is About Family

Even as the McConaissance unfolded, Matthew’s life continued to be not just about his career, but about his family. Camila and the kids were at the center of his thoughts and plans, and soon he felt the need to make a more formal commitment to them. At the same time, he won the biggest accolade of his acting career (an Oscar), only to find himself soon questioning his future direction as an actor. When he reached the age of 50, his thoughts turned toward both backward and forward, leading him to reflect on where he had been and where he was going.

Insights and lessons from this period include the following:

  • Prayer is a time for taking inventory of yourself while mentally and spiritually embracing other people who need your compassion. It’s a time to see others as they really are and recognize their inner light. And it’s a time to return to yourself and simply be who you are.
  • Learning to deal with the inevitable is the key to success. Ultimately, this means beginning with the end in mind, because the ultimate inevitability is death. The lives we lead on the way to death represent our relativity. The ultimate fusion of relativity with inevitability is to write your life story with your eventual eulogy in mind.

Matthew McConaughey and the Adventure of Marriage

When Matthew and Camila’s son Levi was three, he asked Matthew why he, his sister Vida, and Matthew all had the last name McConaughey but their mother didn’t. Matthew realized that it was high time he got over his fear of losing himself through marriage.

So he went and talked with his pastor, Dave Haney, who explained marriage as a relationship in which two people don’t lose themselves but become more of themselves. Haney asked Matthew what would be the bigger sacrifice, to continue on his current life adventure or to accept the adventure of marriage. With that thought, Matthew came to understand marriage not as a final destination but a new journey, and one that he could take with the very woman he wanted to be with for the rest of his life. He realized that he not only wanted but needed to get married.

He proposed to Camila on Christmas Day 2011. They didn’t set a date, but five months later Camila handed him an invitation to their wedding—just as Kay had done to Jim McConaughey many decades earlier—and told Matthew that she was pregnant with their third child and didn’t want to go through a wedding ceremony with a baby bump. So they planned a three-day weekend wedding and invited 88 of their closest family and friends.

They were married on June 9, 2012, in a large private ceremony at their Texas house. The proceedings involved Brother Christian from the Monastery of Christ in the Desert, pastor Dave Haney, John Mellencamp, and a Candomblé priestess. Afterward, Matthew felt that he now had even more of a real future to live for. Matthew McConaughey’s marriage was a greenlight.

Their third child, a son, Livingston Alves McConaughey, was born on December 28, 2012. It was another greenlight. Matthew felt more fulfilled than he ever had before. Whereas ideas had always inspired him before, for Matthew McConaughey, marriage and family had become the biggest inspirations of all.

Matthew McConaughey: Marriage Is an Adventure

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Matthew McConaughey's "Greenlights" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Greenlights summary:

  • How "greenlights" help you confirm if you're on the right path
  • How McConaughey switched college choices because of family finances
  • Why family is at the center of everything for McConaughey, no matter what's happening in his career

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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