While I could critique this film and talk about what I liked or did not like, I am choosing to highlight what I thought was one of his most important messages. Beyond the drama, the infidelity, the drug addiction, among other things, there was one main piece of information that I hope audiences took away with them, as they left the crowded theatres and returned to their daily lives.
Simply put, it is extremely important, critical, and necessary that we be present in our relationships. It is clear that the main characters Judith and Brice loved one another from the beginning. However, one of the things that can happen in relationships over time is that individuals can begin to lose interest. We fall victim to patterns, we get comfortable in the way that things have always been, we stop bringing out the red carpet, and we stop remembering what it means to truly be in love.
Ladies, have you ever experienced a brother (or non-brother) who wines and dines you in the beginning; the guy who takes you out to dinner, who foots the bill, who dresses to impress, who makes time for you? Hold on. Hey fellas, have you ever experienced that sister (or non-sister) who kept her hair fresh in the beginning; that women who put a little extra attention into her appearance, that women who kept her nails done, among other things? Ladies, do you remember that man you fell in love with, how he made you feel during the early stages in your relationship, how he valued your opinion, how he supported you dreams, how he made you feel like the princess that you are? Men, don't you remember that beautiful lady that you fell head over heels for, that lady that also supported you, that held it down while you were trying to get it together, that accepted you for who you were, and that did not try to break you down?
Where did he or she go? What happened to that person? Did that person run away? Did that person get lost? Why did the person disappear? We have to move beyond the courting stage and we have to work to maintain our relationships. It is no longer simply enough to "get the girl" or guy. We have to keep her or him or else someone else will be knocking on the door. We must not get so comfortable with ourselves, that we forget that our loved ones need us. During the film there was a scene where Brice forgot Judith's birthday (for the second year in a row). Men this is a major "no, no." Yes, you may be busy at work, you may have a lot on your mind, you may be trying to expand your business, but you cannot forget your lady's birthday.
Brice made a nice attempt at trying to make things up by his serenade, but the damage was already done. Brice also appeared to have a different vision than Judith as it relates to their future. While Judith worked for a matchmaking firm, she had bigger dreams of opening up her own counseling business. It appears that Judith was interested in this being something that happened sooner than later, while Brice declared that it was something that was more likely in the more distant future. I can rag all day and all night on Mr. Brice, but we all know that would not be fair.
Men, I will give you a break for a moment. Our partners have an obligation to communicate their wants, desires, and needs, to us. Sometimes ladies expect us to know what they are thinking. Surprise! We do not read minds. Heck, sometimes we do not get it when it is spelled out in plain English. Ladies you have to communicate with us. You have to let us know what you think, how you feel, and most importantly what you want. Communication is key to every relationship and in my opinion; Judith did not do the best job at communicating.
It is not about taking sides, or blaming one person or the other. As I am sure, we all know that it takes two to maintain a relationship. It takes two to stay committed, two to stay in love, and two to keep things fresh even if you have children or have been together for years. You have to move beyond your everyday routines. During the week, we go to work, we come home, we watch television, we eat dinner, and then we go to bed. On the weekend, we rest and some of us go to church. Are you kidding me? That is boring, if I say so myself.
We must get back to the good old days, the days when we felt like we could not wait to get off work, to see our partners. Now some of us hide at work to avoid coming home to our partners. We have to get back to the days when we valued talking to our partners. We have to stop being lazy and we must not take our partners for granted. Why not travel, go away for the weekend, exercise together, play a sport together, go to church together? Or why not take a walk, go to a play, festival, museum, have a regular date night; do something different?
Ladies and Gentlemen, grab your partners, tell them that you love them, tell them that you are in love with them, do something special to keep the relationship new. Be present in your relationships, be aware of what is going on, talk about your problems, and make a conscious effort to fix them before they end in destruction. Let's be proactive instead of inactive. Be the person you want your partner to be. Stop expecting something to change if you are not actively participating in creating this change. Be happy, and if you are not happy, figure out what you can do to become happy. As I said before, "happiness is love."
In addition, I think it is ironic that the marriage counselor in the film, the person who had the desire to help others in their relationships, was dealing with such a devastating situation. What does that say? To me, it says that we are all human and we all can make mistakes. No one is perfect; not even your pastor. However, at the end of the day, and through it all, Judith used her experience to help others. One last piece that I think is important for you to remember is that while the film focused on intimate couple relationships, we should work to become Moore present in all of our relationships, this includes our family relationships and our friendships as well.
Overall, let me know what you thought about the film as it relates to couple and family relationships. Did you like the film? Could you identify with any of the characters? Did it remind you of your current relationship or a past relationship? Let me know your thoughts. I hope to hear from you soon, but until then, stick around, there's Moore to come.
Darren D. Moore, Ph.D., LMFT, is a licensed marriage and family therapist and an assistant professor in marriage and family therapy at a University in Georgia. He works with individuals, couples, and families regarding mental health and relationship concerns. His research, teaching and clinical interests include general mental health, obesity, weight loss, eating disorders and addictions, within couple and family relationships, with an emphasis in working with men, African-American families, and marginalized populations. Moore is a north Minneapolis native and obtained his bachelor's degree in African American Studies from the University of Minnesota, his master's degree in marriage and family therapy from Valdosta State University, and his Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy from Virginia Tech.