Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tyler Perry's, Why Did I Get Married? is an Accurate Depiction of Marriage

Our day to day behavior is typically determined by a response to others’ reactions which are their actions to reactions. Basically, we all behave the way we do because of what has been done or said to us. In essence this is nothing but learned behavior that we display as a result of living. This is what I call, The Chain Reaction of Life. People are programmed to act and/or respond. No one is immune to this on the face of the earth. No one. Some behavior is inappropriate and some of what we do and say is on board. Righteous and morally correct. Marriage is one of those acts that the church tells us will lead Believers down the road of moral righteousness: No more fornication. Sex between man and woman is within the guidelines of the church now that you have proceeded with one of the Lord’s natural progressions of life. Really?

Repeating marriage vows is a method used to, not only ‘legitimize’ a union, the vows are in most cases repeated with religious jubilance because they represent ‘God’s sanction’ of marriage. The proof is in the vows: “God joins you together in one of the holiest bonds.” Even the latter understanding (God’s approval) of marriage causes me to think more seriously about the scripted commitment that’s repeated by all walks of life each and every month. However, what definitely got me ta thinkin’ bout this important decision a little more intensely was Tyler Perry’s, Why Did I get Married? box office hit. Going to see this movie on opening night was my way of sharing a family moment with black folk (statistics indicate that 90% of ticket sales were to black people). The family was well behaved two weekends in a row. So, forget you, Mr. Bill O’Reilly!

Marriage is encouraged by our government; and Christianity faithfully endorses this Senate and House push for man and woman to become “one in holy matrimony”. Isn’t that something, people are asked to become one in unit and in idea when speaking of signing your individualism away. We actually pay states to be ‘reclassified’ as Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson. The infamous marriage certificate/license that’s paid for along with other soon-to-be worthless items e.g. wedding gowns is valued at a cheap $30 – but most couples treat this future laminated declaration like it is worth thousands of dollars. Just ask a “happy married couple” to show you their marriage license. They will sit you down and pull out an overpriced cream colored photo album or they will fast forward amateur marriage ceremony and reception video to the frame that displays… You guessed it: The Marriage License. Whoa, this piece of paper has become a priceless antique while the marriage is in the toilet. Yep, in the toilet! But, of course not too much can be flushed down that collector of human waste. Therefore, one disgruntled party is more than likely to escape the underground cesspool container. Survival of the Fittest, Baby!! ‘I ain’t goin’ to go down with this fool!’ So much for this part of the vows: “This occasion marks the celebration of love and commitment with which this man and this woman begin their life together.” What happen to the love? What happen to the commitment?

Amazing. When the times get difficult we revert back to what we were prior to becoming this never true non-existent “ONE”. A self-serving individual! Actually, I find it somewhat crazy for us to think that two people with two different personalities will become conjoined individuals. God did create us separately with different characteristics. Right? Nevertheless, these defining differences are the exact elements that contribute to a successful or disastrous marriage. It is evident men and women are polar opposites. That Venus and Mars discourse will inform you of this. One has a desultory ding-a-ling and the other has a cherished sugar bowl! One has emotions that drastically infect and alter her personality monthly and the other has a rough exterior that he claims is bullet proof: ‘I am tough. Nothing gets to me!’ Yeah, right?

In truth, what we truly have are two people who decided to commit to each other – and this should not require a waste of money (the wedding) or God supposedly sanctioning anything. Do we really believe God is approving what He already knows is not going to work? Commitment can mean several different things, but what I believe it should not mean: we are ONE in mind, body, and spirit. But, the vows state something else: “Marriage is the union of husband and wife in heart, body and mind.” Nope, it does not work this way anymore – and when a marriage functions on this once functional premise it is destined for failure. Individuality is what makes Thomas and Denise. Why should spouses put what makes them who they are up for ceremonial sale or on the back burner when he/she decides to spend the rest of their lives with each other?

Spend the rest of their lives with each other.

Now, that sounds condemning. Whew! The same boring and/or stimulating sex forever? Women, you have to admit that sounds overwhelmingly restrictive. The boring sex. But, of course, you have probably adapted your thoughts and opinions to Western thinking that usually ends up being a lie and a concept that is unrealistic for most. And, how do I know it is a fantasy? Well, do some research on cheating and divorce. Just watch Cheaters or talk to your co-worker. He or she probably proves my point: Nothing last forever. But, the vows recommend something different: “…keep yourself only unto her as long as you both shall live...” Stepping out will happen in one way or another i.e. emotionally or physically. If it does not, you best believe this ‘fortunate’ couple is ‘blessed’. Usually this so called blessing is reserved for couples who have learned the art of sneaky upfront and strategic communication with an absence of reality. Complete communication, but with select topics of discussion. No holds barred communication with diverting avenues that hide the truth. What couple do you know that’s accomplished a real level of open dialogue? One where the husband can say to wifey, ‘That weave is hideous.’ One where the wife can say to hubbie, ‘Your stomach is growing day by day.’ - without either one developing resentment?

Why did I get Married? explores the communication component thoroughly. I was reminded of how difficult it is to communicate with the one you say you love. I was reminded of how tough it is for so many of us to express ourselves without fear of ridicule and rejection. I was reminded of what it takes to be correctly understood and purposely insightful. Most importantly, this fantastic movie helped me to focus on the one thing that is important within those unrealistic vows: “Before they knew love, they were friends, and it was from this seed of friendship that is their destiny.” and “You have pronounced yourselves husband and wife but remember to always be each other’s best friend.” Friendship is what we have before we get married. It is the one thing that keeps us excited about each other. ‘My friend this and My friend that.’ This is the stomach tingling chatter that rolls off our lips in good friendship. We are so in love with our friend. Then something happens: We get married. And, we all know that the friendship is left behind – but why? I have yet to receive an understandable answer from these “happily married” couples as to why the bond of friendship is broken after those vows are recited. Why?

I think I have a psychologically-based ignorant answer (I ain’t no therapist):

Couples begin to apply husband and wife expectations to each other that only represent what Western society has told us they should be. A husband is supposed to Do this and a wife is supposed to Be this - while neglecting and forgetting what truly tied them together in the first place: FRIENDSHIP. Friendship is universal. It begins with the seed of acceptance. Marriage is just a non-naturally progressive step we take to publicly ‘confirm’ our love. But, friendship is what MADE us us. Marriage does not!

Written by Muata. Inspired by the hysterical scene in the movie where it is apparent something was conveniently left out in moments of marital communication: The Truth.

15 comments:

Muata said...

Muata gets a response after asking Blogger Baion what she thought of this commentary:

i thought that it sounded cynical towards marriage...i can't imagine that anyone reading would think anything different:
muata doesn't have much faith in the institution of marriage- that's been your stance for several years....consistently.

i agree that friendship is a key component for the success of matrimony, but "friendship" alone does absolutely nothing for the black family. it only results in:
more bastard children being born...
continued financial stifling in the black community due to black men paying out inflated,
hyper-extensive child support payments....
the failure of the black community to reap the benefits of two successful individuals combining their resources for the improvement of family & community...
more children being brought up in broken homes...
little girls with no concept of how to love a man the way that he needs/or how she should be loved by a man...
little boys with no concept of what it means to be a man/how to honor a woman....
children growing up without personally experiencing the benefits of the love and communication that goes into making a marriage successful... but more importantly- the compromise that it takes. so this lesson continues to go unlearned. and these kids will go on to have unsuccessful relationships....thus continuing the destructive cycle....of doomed black America.

that's my opinion- you asked for it- please don't dispute my thoughts.

this isn't about government- this is about family..

and i'm sure t. perry would agree.

-Baion

Muata said...

Muata responds to Blogger Baion:

I was just trying to state an additional opinion to get more from you. Didn't mean to be over disputable (sp). I am just in the mode of trying to pull more out of people. And, guess what? I got what I needed from you. It was good to read your response. You are SO right.

Again, keep in mind that many times I am only stating what I feel can get people to invest a little more thinking, so that I can either be reminded of something or learn something.

-Muata

Muata said...

Muata responds to, "It takes more than friendship to keep a marriage together."

Friendship is the key component, and marriage should not be.
When the friendship is gone essentially there is not much left
but those things that people try to hold on to i.e. the fun,
the excitement, etc. - but the friendship is gone and needs to
be rebuilt. Couples rarely gain the friendship back. Too bad
because what they had was beautiful. I am aware this piece can/may sound cynical, however this is make take a government pushed/backed failed institution. Failed in the sense of divorce rates, unhappy couples, cheating, lying, all the other crap that comes with bad relationships/marriages.

All the marriages detailed in
movie were bad because of the missing communication which is a critical element of friendship.

-Muata

Muata said...

Reader responds and then Muata responds:

Are you trying to tell me something? Are you getting ready to jump over the broom sticks....

-RM

RM-

No jumping for me. I ain't ready, and I refuse to get married until I feel prepared. Nope, not me. I am not going to make that mistake!

-Muata

Muata said...

Reader responds and then Muata responds:

I take it you never plan to marry.........

-Ghost

Ghost-

Why should I? Is it a requirement? Is it necessary? It is not in my cards at the moment. Make sure you and your man are good and solid friends. Not that you have, but please don't underestimate this important necessity.

Muata

Muata said...

Reader Ghost continues and Muata responds:

We've (my man and I) been friends for over 20 yrs.

-Ghost

Good! Please don't stop being friends. You know this, but don't allow family to guide the marriage. Be friends like you are now. Don't drop any unexpected 'requirements and expectations' on the brotha! Be the same as you are now, and don't stop sex-ing him. Too many women do this. Treat him like he is your BEST friend! One that you would NEVER attempt to hurt. Too many of us have tried to hurt each other when frustration sets in. I have been guilty of that! Was a mistake. Also, hold each other accountable for being true friends!

-Muata

Muata said...

Reader Ghost responds and Muata responds:

Oh, I definitely won't...........this relationship is so much different than the one I had with w/ my previous boyfriend. THe previous guy didn't know how to treat women, he didn't understand the make up of a real woman. He never took the time to get to know me. I think the fact that we've (my new man and I) have known each other forever helps a lot. We were a couple back in the day, so we do have a romantic history as well. He accepts me for me and doesn't make me feel like I've done something wrong because of who I am.

I gave my requirements & expectations up front.

Well, I'm really not sex-ing him right now, but that will change after we wed.

-Ghost

Ghost-

I am happy for you!

-Muata

Muata said...

Reader RY responds:

Um Muata you sound a little commitment phobic. lol. And sounds like swinging isn't something you haven't contemplated a time or two. lol. . . "Cherished sugar bowl" (hehe) - love it.

I admit that most my friends and family don't make a great case for why I should get married. But I still believe in marriage. Always imagined me and the man-for-me would just wake up one Sunday morning and look at each other and say, "you wanna get married today? Today feels like a good day." lol.

There is something binding about making a public declaration. Not cause you are trying to make it hard for their ass to ever leave you but because it shows that I/you am S-E-R-I-O-U-S bout this here person and what we stand for. And now we are asking everyone else to recognize and respect the commitment and hold you accountable for it.

There is something to be said for ceremony, don't you think so?...almost every culture has ceremony and most every ceremony involves public acknowledgment your transition. Now you may want to shift how you do it... you know, make it more meaningful and realistic for you and yours. Kinda like embracing the concepts while being flexible about the traditional aspects.

Like you, I am not exactly sure why marriage changes our expectations. Guess you would have to experience marriage in order to know for sure. It will be interesting to see what your married readers think.

-RY

Muata said...

Muata responds to RY:

The married readers are not responding.

I just believe we have to be realistic about marriage, and stop fantasying it. It is a union that does not require all the unnecessary elements. What people should do is focus on what they need to do to maintain/sustain a marriage. I suggest an intense communication class that every couple is REQUIRED by the state to take. Not that wasteful "counseling" with a conflicted pastor! If we are serious about sustaining marriage, why not? If we are serious about keeping families together, why not? If we are really concerned by the affects a horrible marriage has on our children, why not? I am not saying that a class will solve it all, but at least we will incorporate methods that may rectify some of the issues we will bring into the marriage. No, we won't do this because it requires too much REALITY work.

Can't we tell that something is missing considering the divorce rate? No one is seriously addressing this. Therefore, we continue to make the same mistakes. And, all of this adult self-induced drama is affecting our children. Then our families become hateful and resentment filled units that never recover. Cylce goes on and on!

It is sad that I can only name two-three happily married couples that I am associated with. Guess what? All of these couples are baby-boomer couples.

Believe me, I am highly disappointed by the state of marriage in America. We all know it is jacked-up, but we continue to ignore the problems - but still plan ceremonies that are not true CEREMONIES that have spiritual and/or lasting significance.

RY, we need to stop bullshitin'!

-Muata

FREEDOM said...

A response from Freedom....

I am a divorced 32 year-old black female. Email me...LOL!

And, the reason I KNOW my marriage did not last was because even though you may love someone, that does NOT mean that that person is your SOUL MATE. You can love someone and not want to marriage him or her. And that does not take away from the love that you have/had for that person. It simply means that that person was not your soul mate.

People rarely marry their soul mates and mistake the attraction for love. To me a soul mate is the one that fulfills you emotionally, mentally, physically, financially, and spiritually without having all five aspects the marriage WILL have several bullet holes for another to come in and easily fill.

Marriage is that coming together of two souls, who do remain individual, but their souls are connected and they may not fully understand why, but they are willing to spend the rest of their lives discovering "WHY". It’s like their souls know if they don’t make each other theirs they will regret it for the rest of their lives.

I really think it is important to understand that you can love someone, but that person is just not the right person for yA! And, once you realize that and release him or her without guilt or resentment while ending the relationship on a positive note. Then you will be FREE and your heart is open to that new love that will be coming in because it IS coming. Knowing that you will be closer to your mark than the previous relationship. Most importantly, you can take what you have learned about YOURSELF and apply it to your next relationship.

Mars and Venus on a Date is an excellent book to read when one is dating. It is an excellent read I highly recommend ALL single people and married couples to read this book.

But, we all know the next step is to apply what one has learned. I think that is why so many people are divorced including myself is because many of us skipped the whole courtship phase of the relationship. Being “courted” is vital to the success of any relationship that wants to progress to a solid-serious commitment. Yeah, I dropped the ball the first time around and I might drop it again, but at least I have some wisdom under my belt now.

As for me it is time to let go of some baggage. The baggage from previous relationships is what hinders us from moving forward. Give It Up! Time to Let It GO!

One thing that Maya Angelou said that has stuck with me is “If someone shows you who they are BELIEVE THEM!” Walking away can be difficult. But, only an open heart can receive the friendship and love that it deserves.

My problem in my marriage was I was trying to change folks. I thought I could change this man. But he had clearly showed me who he was from the jump. I’m thinking my Freedom powers can change him into the man I wanted him to be for me. It is true you get what you get when you are dating. They are not going to miraculously change because they said “I DO”. I am still thankful and grateful for that life experience though.

Morgan Freeman said in the movie Feast of Love “The beginning always tells you how it is going to End”. And I believe that now. We see, I saw what I wanted to see and discarded the TRUTH!

In a marriage both parties have to understand “I guarantee it’s going be tough times. I guarantee that one of us or both of us is going to want to get out of this. But I also guarantee that if I don’t make you mine I will regret it for the rest of my Life!” –Runaway Bride (Richard Gere to Julia Roberts). I think this was a precise view.

Marriage is a beautiful journey when two people CLEARLY understand the 80/20 RULE!

Holla at yA Girl!

-ms. FREEDOM

Peace!

Muata said...

Reader responds:

Marriage: A proven JOKE!

-PM

FREEDOM said...

Freedom gives another comment about Marriage and the 80/20 Rule:

I just received my monthly subscription of Essence today. The November edition is filled with several articles about marriage. In addition, the exclusive interview with the Raymonds (Usher and Tameka).

“God says the role of the husband is to protect his wife” –Usher

This edition is truly worth the read. It addresses and features realistic martial situations and martial advice.

About the 80/20 Rule. It’s part of the Constitution. No wait, I believe it’s in Declaration of Independence…LOL!! Now, if you don’t understand this joke then that means you haven’t seen the movie. So, what are you waiting 4?

Freedom

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Muata said...

Reader Responds:

Some of the things that you addressed I found to be true, and something I really do not know much about since I am not married. I do think in order for your marriage to work you have to continue being best friends. Communication is so important in any relationship. Communication, money, and cheating are the three number one reasons people get divorce. Hopefully, someday I am able to get married and when that happens, I plan to communicate on a daily basis with my husband about everything (especially money and sex). I want to keep the flame burning and hot between the two of us. I am a woman that plans to really enjoy my husband in everyway possible. This way if he decides to do something different (bad), then I will kick his butt to the curve with no problem and continue living life.

By the way, the movie was excellent. I plan to see it again.

-AG