By Kaelanne Jordan
Marriage is not simply an idea of a fairytale that the media projects.
“[It’s] not a run-of-the-mill concept of [the] white poufy dress, and the knight in shining armour and romancing in the sunset and maybe some well-behaved children in between,” said the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission’s (AFLC) mental health clinician Crystal Johnson during a live segment of Topic Thursday’s via Facebook.
Thursday’s topic was on ‘Entanglement? Marriage and Commitment’.
Earlier this month, Jada Pinkett Smith, wife of actor Will Smith, referred to her extramarital affair with singer, August Alsina as an ‘entanglement’ during an episode of Red Table Talk.
Ever since, the word’s popularity has skyrocketed, prompting memes on social media platforms.
Memes aside, Johnson asserted whether it’s an ‘entanglement’, cheating or ‘horn’, infidelity is a breach of commitment.
Infidelity does not fix a person or their brokenness. What it does, Johnson said, is it temporarily alleviates some pain, some sense of loss, or even regain some sense of self.
“It doesn’t necessarily solve the issue that you may be experiencing. What may happen is that the road to recovery may be very long because of healing and forgiveness that need to occur between you and your husband,” she said.
After acts of unfaithfulness, how does one decide if the relationship should be mended or rescued?
Well, according to Johnson, one ought to be able to answer some hard questions.
Infidelity may be a sign that one or both partners are not ready to commit to the relationship. However, in some cases, the value of the commitment in marriage reemerges and the couple can make it work. “It is possible,” she said.
Johnson also observed the breakdown of families coupled with other things have “opened the door” for a lot of things to be allowed. “Things that are more undesirable [in the] aspect of the marriage,” she said.
Marriage, she said, is the legally or formally recognised union of two people as partners in a personal relationship.
“…I think it’s such a special relationship when we have two individuals of differences, different backgrounds, different upbringings, different perspectives, coming together freely, making a decision wholeheartedly …to be true, faithful in the good times and the bad, in sickness and in health, to honour, to love you for the rest of your life…..” Johnson said.
She warned that including a third party in any relationship, for whatever reason, can result in “an awful and complicated experience”.
Marriage is about growth.
“You’re going to face so many things in marriage, you’re going to face many ugly truths throughout marriage,” Johnson said. Issues, she said, can range from money/finances to commitment, communication, parenting, in-laws, sex, infidelity, job loss, especially during COVID-19, and faith.
Marriage also requires maturity and effort.
Johnson added persons ought to have a good understanding of oneself which will yield to making better decisions.
Ultimately, Johnson believes that marriage is a “wonderful”, exciting and loving experience.
“Because I get to witness and someone gets to witness my life. And they get to journey and experience my strengths and my weaknesses, the joys and the sorrows, and the light and the dark in our personalities, in our lives. …. I think that’s such a wonderful thing,” she said.