Why Did I Get Married?
Whether you've been married 5 months or 50 years, Oprah thinks this is something husbands and wives should sit down and discuss. "I bet there are so many people who are married, and they never even thought about why they got married," she says.
Oprah Show producers bring couples—both newlyweds and second-timers—together to talk about the realities of marriage and what this question means to them.
"We found out I was pregnant right out of college. We decided that we were in love, and that we were going to get married and do what we thought was right," Julie says. "It just happened a little sooner than we had planned."
The couple says the first few years of their marriage were more stressful than they imagined. "I didn't really know what to expect," Jim says. "At 23 we were in love, but we were doing what we were supposed to because we had a child on the way."
Before the wedding, Julie says she thought marriage would be easy and that the romance would never fade...she was wrong. "The marriage, it was very, very difficult," she says. "I had this dream of beauty, and [I thought] it was going to be wonderful. But in the real world, it doesn't happen like that."
With kids, work and household chores pulling them in different directions, Jim and Julie say they've come up with a creative way to keep the spark alive—hotel sex. "Twelve years and three kids later, sometimes it's important for us to get away," Julie says. "We're somewhere else, and it's just about Jim and I concentrating on what makes us happy."
"I really wanted to be married. I wanted the companionship," she says. "I wanted the fulfillment. I wanted another warm body in the bed with me at night."
Then, she met Steve. The couple married five years ago, and they say the second time's a charm! "This is the easiest marriage," Bernice says. "Marriage is supposed to be easy, and with Steve, everything is so easy."
After years of being single, Steve says he had become selfish, but Bernice has helped him change his ways. "I was pretty self-centered," Steve says. "I'm still learning that I have to begin to die to myself. Die to what's important to me and esteem to what's important to her, above myself."
Bernice also had to get past personal issues before saying "I do" for the second time. "The pitfalls for me coming into a marriage were thinking I would have to change myself, but Steve accepts who I am," she says. "By the time I got married this time around, I knew who I was and I like who I am, so I wasn't waiting for someone to change me."
"I knew intrinsically what the reasons were, but I wasn't sure I had the right answer for it," he says. "Every time I've been asked that question in the past five days, I've had a different answer to it."
Oprah says there's no right answer to this question...there's only your answer.
When they were in their early 40s, David says he and Sally decided it was time to settle down and have a family. "I think when you're younger you have these expectations where you're going to have that puppy love thing and it's going to last forever," he says. "Our expectations were a little more realistic."
David was married once before, but this is Sally's first marriage. Why did she decide to make it official? "I got married because I was tired of being alone," she says. "I wanted to have companionship and just be together with David."
The couple now has a 10-month-old baby together, and though Sally says marriage is a lot of work, it's worth the effort. "I see how our family comes together as a unit," she says. "That kind of reminds me as to this is why I got married, besides loving my husband."
"We started dating, and I had just all these incredible strong feelings of, 'I want to be married to you. I want to have babies with you,'" he says. "I couldn't believe it because I was just not at that point in my life, and yet, those feelings never went away."
Jackie and Tom tied the knot nine years ago, but Tom admits marriage isn't what he thought it would be. "I thought it was going to be maybe like dating, only legal," he says. "I had no idea...it was like kind of becoming part of something bigger than myself for the first time."
Over the years, Tom and Jackie say they've gone from being two 20-somethings in love to the parents of two children. "It's been amazing to me how we've been able to accommodate each other's growth at different times and on different levels," Tom says.
When Jackie was considering marriage, she says she looked to her parents for inspiration. "My parents were great role models," she says. "They fought and they laughed and they cuddled and they did all of that stuff."
Now, Jackie says she's learned for herself what it takes to have a healthy marriage. "I think a lot of marriage is understanding the other person," she says. "Not just communicating, but actually understanding what he's saying."
You won't see Tyler dressed in knee-highs and bad wigs in this film—he left his famous alter-ego, Madea, at home during the shoot. Instead, Tyler got an all-star cast together to take an honest—and hilarious—look at the realities of marriage.
The story, which was adapted from one of Tyler's stage plays, is told through the eyes of four couples who get together every year for a weeklong vacation. When an unexpected guest arrives, the mood takes a serious turn. One by one, the couples' marriages begin to unravel.
Tyler stars as Terry, a husband who's battling his wife about the demands of her high-powered job. Singing sensation Jill Scott plays Sheila, a woman whose husband is unhappy with her weight. Superstar Janet Jackson also stars in the film as Patricia, a psychologist whose marriage seems perfect...but it isn't.
More than anything, Tyler says this film is about family and forgiveness. "Right now in my life, family is so important," he says. "Marriages are falling apart. All of these things are happening for no reason, and I think it's because so many of us don't have a spiritual connection. ... We don't know when to forgive when our partner makes a mistake. We don't know what to do to move on."
Though he's enjoying the single life now, Tyler says he'd like to tie the knot someday—when the time is right. "I think I'd be a great husband," he says. "I'm in no hurry."
Despite the serious nature of the film, Janet says acting with Tyler, Jill and the rest of the cast was the most fun she ever had working on a movie. "We got along like we had known each other forever."
Even though Janet's music brought her fame and success, she says acting is her true first love. "This is what I started doing first, acting," she says. "But it's more of a challenge for me. Music comes much, much easier for me. I really enjoyed this."
"I didn't say a thing, and she was very upset at me for it," Janet says. "But I felt it wasn't my responsibility, my job to. I would want him to man up and come to her. And because of [my decision], we are no longer friends."
Even after portraying a similar situation onscreen, Janet says she would make the same decision again. "If it were happening to me, I would want [him] to come to me and let me know," she says.
Jill also drew inspiration from her personal life. At the same time of filming, she was going through her own real-life divorce. "It just seems as if everything falls in place as it should," Jill says. "I'm getting a divorce. It hurts. And now I have to play a character that is in the worst pain of her life. So I just tapped into that and let it happen. Let it be. Let it flow."
What started out as a fun evening turned into a nightmare for Tyler—he accidentally spilled red wine all over Janet's white silk Valentino gown!
"My dress was sticking to my thighs," Janet says. But she wasn't angry—she took the loss of the dress in stride. "It was an accident," she says. "When it happened, he was so apologetic.... He didn't mean to do it."
For Tyler, the incident was "scarring!" So to put it to rest, he has a little surprise in store for Ms. Jackson....
With the help of the audience, Janet picks a floor-length, white gown from Valentino complete with dark gray beading. "It's beautiful. Beautiful," Janet says.
Now, a weight has finally been lifted from Tyler's mind! "I feel better," he says.