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.