Written by Evi Idoghor
If there is one story that has dominated the entertainment media recently, it is the open nature of actor Will Smith's marriage to talk show host Jada Pinkett Smith. While this was one of Hollywood's long-kept secrets, it was finally revealed last year when she admitted to viewers on her show that she had a relationship with a singer during her marriage to Will. Because of Will Smith's recently released memoir, Will, news of their marriage appears to be circulating again. Which brings me to today's subject: can a marriage be open?
I've always struggled with the idea of an open relationship or marriage because marriage is sacred and was created by God. I believe that a marriage is formed by one man and one woman coming together and committing to a lifetime together. Both parties must be open and honest with each other within the confines of such a union. Open in the sense that there are no secrets or skeletons in one's closet that the other person is unaware of.
Some might then argue, isn’t this an ‘open marriage?’ after all the people involved know what each party is up to. Well, not necessarily, because you are not supposed to have romantic or sexual relationships with anyone other than your spouse in a marriage. Whether you agree with it or not, God's law is violated in the process if that happens.
What is an open marriage?
According to Wikipedia.com, “Open marriage is a form of non-monogamy in which the partners of a dyadic marriage agree that each may engage in extramarital sexual relationships, without this being regarded by them as infidelity, and consider or establish an open relationship despite the implied monogamy of marriage. There are variant forms of open marriage such as swinging and polyamory, each with the partners having varying levels of input on their spouse's activities.”
The world we live in is a messed up place because people want to live their lives according to how they feel, so they start creating concepts for themselves to suit whatever they enjoy doing. And want others to do the same.
“You say, “I am allowed to do anything” —but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything.” —1 Corinthians 6:12 (NLT)
When I think about this flawed concept, a plethora of things come to mind, such as—if a child is brought into the picture, how do you explain the dynamic of your relationship(s) to them? Where do couples in open marriages draw the line? What constitutes acceptable behavior and what constitutes grounds for separation?
How long are you allowed to ‘cheat’ on each other and get involved with others during the 'marriage?' What are the ground rules for such an institution? Is it permissible to have only one partner at a time or to entertain multiple people at the same time? Do you have sex with or without protection with third parties? Do you get tested for STDs on a regular basis? Is the external partner (s) involved in the 'marriage?' What is the line between too far and too far? Is it acceptable for anyone to be envious or hurt? Do they all live in the same house?
The questions are endless, and in my opinion, no one can successfully navigate this concept without dire consequences, and such unions are devoid of peace. My sister-in-law sent me an article a few weeks ago, which I read. The article featured an interview with a "couple" who were in an open relationship. If I had to describe the entire piece in one word, it would be immoral. They discussed sleeping with multiple partners and enjoying threesomes. Their ideal marriage would be one in which they would sleep in separate rooms from their spouses and, of course, continue to entertain external partners. Is this what our society has devolved into?
When do these people find the time to give to others while also ensuring that they do not lose the 'main' relationship? If you ask me, there is a lot of dysfunction. You can't serve two masters at the same time. According to Jesus, this saying is true; you will love one and despise the other.
Lord knows how I struggled when I was still working a 9-5 job and running this platform at the same time; dancing between despising one and loving the other. When I had some downtime from work, I was consistent with uploading content to the blog every day. If I didn't post much on the blog, it was because my paid job took up the majority of my time. When I had free time on weekends, all I wanted to do was sleep. If I wanted to be Wonder Woman, and balance both careers, it often resulted in burnout.
Consider managing multiple relationships at the same time; you'll be exhausted in no time. You must be concerned with everyone's emotions, whether they enjoyed sex with you the last time, their well-being, and possibly their finances, among many other things, or how do open relationships work?
Any relationship concept that deviates from what God intended relationships to be, between men and women, is dysfunctional, and open marriages are dysfunctional relationships. People invent new concepts on a daily basis to justify what their flesh desires—"today my boyfriend is pissing me off, so maybe a girl would be a preferable partner because women understand each other better." Or my spouse doesn't understand me; perhaps my secretary, who constantly asks me how my day is going, will be a better partner.'
If we do what seems desirable to us every time, we will eventually self-destruct. That is why keeping things as they were intended is safer for us. Marriage is intended for two people (a man and a woman) who have made a promise to God, society, and to each other to spend the rest of their lives together. Is this to say they won't have any problems? Certainly not! However, when you begin to open up your union to external bodies, chaos is unavoidable.
Doing what works for you
This was a phrase that was synonymous with delving into the Will and Jada situation. Just because people do "what works for them" doesn't mean it's always the best thing to do. People frequently sugar coat dysfunction so that you have no reason to question it. However, once you dig in and open that Pandora's Box, you will be astounded by what you find.
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