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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Jennifer's Gems > Open Marriages

by Jennifer Brown Banks

The Paradox of "Open Marriages"
And Other Observations

I was watching the Oprah Winfrey Show, the other day, when an interview question floored me! In dialoguing with comedian “Monique”, Oprah asked for confirmation about something she had read.

“Is it true that you and your husband have an open marriage?” She asked.

Monique responded, “Let’s put it this way, sex with another person wouldn’t be a deal breaker!”  She stated that she and her husband had been friends since they were 14, and they’re open about everything.

Which begs the question…if you want to have multiple partners, why get married?  Marriage by mere definition calls for exclusivity!  Wouldn’t you agree?  Why make a mockery of it? I’m not sitting in judgment of any one, but where’s the sense?

Over 50% of all marriages in the U.S. end in divorce --- a sobering statistic. Before you walk down that aisle, you should ask what would make your marriage any different? How will you be best prepared to meet the challenges of a new spouse, in-laws, career demands, and the daily rigors of your relationship?  Have you done some
much-needed soul searching before searching for a soul mate?  Do you have realistic expectations?  These are a few things to consider before embarking upon your life-long journey.

1. Recognize that love does not “conquer all.”  So many couples enter into marriage believing that love and a little chemistry will keep them together.  A successful relationship is a good blend of equal yoking, compromise, commitment and hard work.  There are no shortcuts.

2. Have the “money talk”.  Studies show that money is one of the leading contributing factors to divorce.  And now that many households have two wage earners, things can get a bit complicated.  Will you have a joint account to pay bills?  A prenuptial agreement to protect your assets?  The more dialogue that occurs early on, the greater the chances for a harmonious relationship.

3. Have a spiritual foundation.  Keeping the “creator” in your union will help you to endure hard times, have a moral compass, and maintain your “divine roles”. 

4. Remember that words have weight!  Speak words of kindness and support to your partner.  It’s a small gesture that has great impact.

5. Never forget to date your mate!  Keep the romance alive by taking time to celebrate your union not just on your anniversary, but everyday! Kindness, by far, is the best aphrodisiac.   Remember to keep your appearance up, as well as your spirits.

6. A legal document won’t change who the person is once you’re married.  You get what you got!

Other Observations:

When it comes to relationships, too many women are settling for morsels instead of the whole meal.  I’m not sure if it’s the man shortage scare, or sheer madness. Here are some examples: women who finance the romance, those who participate in love triangles, and females that allow themselves to be subjected to emotional and physical abuse. Perhaps it’s you.  Here’s how to tell the distinct difference:

Full Meal Factors

1. You’re getting the full meal if he introduces you to his family and/or friends.

2. He puts you first in important matters.

3. He spends quality time with you.

4. He can be counted on in a crunch.

5. He makes you feel valued

6. You can trust him.

7. He considers you his best friend and lover... and it shows.


1. He fits you in when it's convenient.

2. His work receives more attention than the relationship.

3. He makes light of your feelings.

4. You do most of the work in the relationship.

5. He's always trying to change you.

6. He's stingy with his money and his time.

f after reviewing this list you find that you’ve been settling for Chicken Mcnuggets rather than filet mignon, it’s time to say “SUPER SIZE ME!”


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Jennifer's Gems is a weekly column written by award-winning poet and writer, Jennifer Brown Banks. It is published every Wednesday. Click here to read her welcome letter.

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