Open Marriages

Open-SignDid you guys listen to or read Mo’Nique’s recent interview with True Exclusives? 

She talked about lots of things, and it reminded me of how funny she is and how real she tries to be. I started off chuckling and throwing out a few “she is so silly’s” and “that girl is too crazy’s”. The more I listened though, the more I realized that Mo’Nique is one of those people who says a lot of things but doesn’t say anything at all. Have you ever been to church for three hours and then came home and summed up the whole service in about 15 seconds? Like this: the choir sung a few songs even though Crystal wasn’t there (note: Crystal is the girl who can sannnng and who usually leads all the songs) and they didn’t sound all that good but Dante still did his best (note: Dante be tryin’ to sing but . . . he can’t). They took offering, and Deacon Alexander stood out like a sore thumb because he had on a purple suit looking like Barney and Friends. I tried to ignore him but then Sister Alexander had the nerve to tell the congregation that her husband was looking sharp, so I looked up the the word sharp in the urban dictionary because I thought maybe I had forgotten what it meant. I hadn’t. Ok so then Pastor Johnson got up there for two hours to tell us that we shouldn’t lie because Judas lied and you see where that got him. I’m hungry. Are we going to Chili’s or Friday’s?

You know how you can sum it up so easily? It’s because no one was saying anything. Like, words were coming out of people’s mouths but there was either no message, a very simple message that didn’t require as many words, or a message that was too cryptic to be understood. That’s Mo’Nique. She uses a lot of words and she does the Oprah- Iyanla Vanzant- T.D. Jakes- I’m deep-I’m wise-I use dramatic pauses and inflection because I’m dropping this knowledge on you so you better catch it type of thing. It’s a bit melodramatic for my taste, but I do NOT want to hate on Mo’Nique because I believe she is reaching somebody. She ain’t reaching me. Let’s be clear. But she’s reaching somebody.

I would like to talk about the open marriage thing though. What is it, y’all? What’s open about it? Is there a door? A secret tunnel? Is it open 24 hours like Wal-Mart or are we dealing with one of those mom-and-pop shops that open when they feel like it?  Did somebody break in or was the door unlocked? What are the hours of operation? I don’t get it.

Mo’Nique made a point to clarify that the openness was originally her idea because . . . this is one of those parts when she said a lot of things but didn’t say anything. It was something about her feeling insecure and being famous and wanting whatever she thought she could have. Idk. I didn’t understand that part. The part I did understand was that it was her idea and she didn’t want people to vilify her husband as if he was doing this to her. In short, she was the one out here wanting other folks. Not quite sure I believe that but m’kay. Doesn’t matter to me whose idea it was anyway.

For me, marriage is an expression of my faith. If I wasn’t a Christian, I probably wouldn’t be trippin on marriage for any other reason than having a big party in which I am the center of attention, getting tax breaks, and doing that whole thing where I tell my kids’ teachers that everyone in our household has the same last name so please don’t get us twisted (y’all know how y’all mammas do). Other than that, I wouldn’t put up with it. Seems like a headache. I would just get a house with my best friend and hang out with her when I felt lonely (this is actually still a viable option). Or I would marry a dude I was only kinda cool with so that I could spend his money. Or I would marry a girl to make a political statement. Or I would have an open marriage.

But because I am a Christian and because I think marriage is yet another way to honor God, I will have a closed marriage. #veryclosed #closedashell #don’tcomebacktomorrowbecauseit’llbeclosedthentoo #juststopcoming #we’reneveropen I’m sure there are non-Christians who feel the same way but for different reasons. I think most folks who believe in always-closed marriages believe that there is something special and sacred about the sacrifice that marriage requires. To be faithful, devoted, committed (insert more adjectives here) to another person even in the times you don’t think they deserve it is a reflection of Christ and of love.

I recognize that not everyone lives their lives the same way. I recognize that my ideas about this are a reflection of the society in which I live, the time in which I was born, and some romanticized dogma I’ve been fed since I was a wee child. To that end, I really do try to give people latitude to choose whatever they want. I don’t believe there is an undeniable right or wrong way to do most things. I do think there is a kind and unkind way, a courageous and uncourageous way, or a godly and ungodly way to do things though. This is the lens through which I try to limit my judgment (please know I be judging though).

However, when Mo’Nique started talking about coming from Africa where there is a tradition of polygamy and then also equated marriage to slavery, I think I literally gasped. I can’t remember if I did or not, but I know I did that thing people do when they’re trying to read something but left their glasses in the kitchen– they get real close to the thing they’re reading, squint their eyes, and scrunch up their face like it helps. Yeah, I did that thing. It didn’t help, but it did make me feel ready to judge open marriages publicly. Don’t like ‘em and don’t agree with ‘em, especially if part of your argument is that your ancestors might have one day been polygamous and that marriage is too much like ownership. Point to the country in Africa that your ancestors lived. Point to the region in the country. Name three traditional foods they eat. What’s the language? What’s the most practiced religion? Ohhhhh, you don’t know? Much of that was lost in the diaspora? Most African Americans have blended the traditions of our ancestors and the traditions of western countries to create our own culture? And that culture, for the large part, includes monogamous marriages? The point I’m making is that I think she chose an open marriage for a whole lot of reasons that ain’t got nothing to do with her ancestors.

Basically, I think people should do the things that resonate as truth – whatever that is. If you’re unsure, do the godly thing. If you’re not into God, do the kind thing. If you’re still unsure, just get married and close all your doors.

I'm Mariah. Jesus is my homie. I live in (and was raised in) the south. I am, as often as possible, actively grateful for my family because I understand their life giving power. Really dislike melodramatics. Really love reading and writing so much so that I aspire to be an author. What else?

3 comments on “Open Marriages

  1. Tramayne Willingham

    I agree!!! Please do not try so hard to justify your actions with shallow reasons.

    I enjoy your readings!

  2. Lovely post! Funny and insightful 🙂

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