Recently I got checked by someone for being too pro-marriage. I have to admit that the hopeless romantic in me loves the idea of forever commitment and love. Today millennials are getting married at older ages and are waiting longer to start families. There are a lot of people out there who don’t understand the idea of commitment. Starter marriages abound and are typically thought of as a stepping stone to finding “the one.” Other than the vows and a few tax breaks, one’s state of mind is really the deciding factor for marriage. There are couples without a “title” who are more committed than others who vowed before hundreds of their friends that they would protect and love each other forever. As much as I like the idea of legally being bound to someone, I think that so much depends on the choice of both individuals to choose to be in a relationship every day. Commitment is great but it doesn’t always require a marriage. There are people who are perfectly content and happy without getting married and it works for them.
I like Tyler Perry. Despite the fact that I’ve never met him personally, I admire his story have enjoyed the videos that he’s posted. Despite this, I haven’t cared for all of his theater and movie productions. Netflix recently put his movie, Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor on their site and I recently watched it for the second time hoping that it would be better. Not so. One of the downfalls to having an actual background and experience being a therapist is that you tend to critique the way that therapy is portrayed on the big screen. However, the movie definitely sheds some light into marriages and portrays a situation that has been repeated in millions of marriages. But first, let’s talk about why Judith (the marriage counselor) feels that it’s necessary to monopolize the entire session with her client telling her a story about her supposed sister who is really herself. Self-disclosure much. But I digress. The breakdown of Judith and Brice’s marriage involves both of them. They are both busy people who are stressed by their jobs but rarely take the time to actually spend with each other. Both feel neglected by the other but they have not discussed this with each other. They have been together for years and have slowly slid into the place where their marriage just “is.” It becomes more of a habit for them than anything else. This is when the problem arises. Harley enters the scene as everything Judith has ever imagined or dream of. You can see in the movie that Judith attempts to seek Brice out for emotional connection but he is closed off and totally blows her off. This rejection is the last straw for Judith who then decides that her life would be better with Harley. The interesting thing is that Brice also makes heartfelt gestures to save the marriage but he is promptly rejected by Judith who has decided that he’s too late and that her decision has already been made. This leads to the demise of the relationship and marriage. The irony of all this is that Judith works as a matchmaker who puts people together. This movie tells the story of millions of people and their marriages. Just because the grass looks different doesn’t always mean that it’s greener. Judith learns this lesson the hard way after she discovers that the man she thinks she loves is not only abusive but also infects her with AIDS. Not the greatest ending ever. I say all this to say that Judith and Brice’s marriage was fix-able. Judith left her husband because of an emotional connection with another and because all her gestures and attempts at connecting with her husband had no results. When she finally realizes what a mistake she’s made it is too late to make amends and her (now) ex-husband belongs to another. It’s taken her too long to come to her senses. The problem is that both took the other for granted until it was too late. They assumed that just because they were married things would work out. They didn’t take the time to actively work on the marriage and to meet the emotional needs of the other and both paid the price of the failed relationship.
I was speaking with someone today and we were talking about the state of marriage in the world we live in. The truth is that prenuptial agreements have become more popular because of the rising divorce rates. While I’ve heard conflicting arguments about the rightness or wrongness of having one, I have to say that I believe that for certain couples a prenuptial agreement is a necessity. Think of it this way, we buy insurance for our houses and our cars. Most of us wear a seatbelt when we drive. While insurance and seat belts are something that we hope we never have to use, they certainly come in handy when your safety or security is threatened. In the event of an accident, the terms of the insurance policy that you paid for and agreed to come into play. You can save money and emotional distress because of the preparation that you’ve made for a rainy day. Prenuptial agreements are insurance for your marriage. While many may argue that getting one means that you plan on getting a divorce, I don’t agree. The truth is that people change and you never know what the future may bring. Getting a divorce is usually stressful, time-consuming, and exhausting. It’s also usually very emotionally charged because it signifies the deterioration of a once close relationship. Taking the time to create and sign a prenuptial agreement can be helpful in reducing stress and also may prevent you from (for lack of a better term) getting screwed over by someone who now probably does not have your best interest at heart. Pre-nups between people who are equally poor or broke may not be as important as pre-nups between individuals who have considerable assets and who may have waited until their careers were stable to get married. With more people getting married at older ages and later in their careers, I think that a pre-nup is a good idea. You don’t want to work hard, get married, go through a divorce and have to fight tooth and nail for what you worked hard for. You don’t plan to ever use your insurance but you sure are glad you have it when something unexpected occurs. Just because you’re prepared doesn’t mean that you’re expecting something bad to occur. I believe in hoping for the best while preparing for the worst–especially as it pertains to marriage and pre-nups. It never hurts to have some insurance.