In case you missed it, Will Smith discussed details about his marriage to Jada Smith in a recent interview with GQ. The second you reveal intimate details about your relationships, your marriage, your children, anything to the public, you open yourself up to criticism from that same public. I state that for the feel-good numbskulls in the back who want people to like them, so they cast judgement on those of us passing judgement on public figures. Consider this your one acknowledgement.
There are plenty of public figures who keep their relationships private. That's the best course of action if you don't want opinionated bossy-flossys like myself opining. When I read that Will and Jada Smith had an "open" relationship, that they'd cheated on each other, and had spouts of deep unhappiness, my first thought was: an open marriage is by definition, not a marriage. It's right up there with "transwomen are women." Marriage is a union between a man and a woman. Not multiple men with a woman or multiple women with a man.
"Jada never believed in conventional marriage.… Jada had family members that had an unconventional relationship. So she grew up in a way that was very different than how I grew up. There were significant endless discussions about, what is relational perfection? What is the perfect way to interact as a couple? And for the large part of our relationship, monogamy was what we chose, not thinking of monogamy as the only relational perfection," Smith told me. "We have given each other trust and freedom, with the belief that everybody has to find their own way. And marriage for us can't be a prison. And I don't suggest our road for anybody. I don't suggest this road for anybody. But the experiences that the freedoms that we've given one another and the unconditional support, to me, is the highest definition of love."
The terms of marriage were, for a very long time, quite clear. The terms are called vows, and they're spoken by each person followed by "I do" or "I will." Among the vows are being faithful to each other. This means not being unfaithful. Which means not cheating on your spouse sexually or emotionally. If you can't keep your vows, or you don't want to take the vow of faithfulness, then it's really not a marriage and by the way, entering into a union is a choice you don't have to make if the vows of marriage are unappealing to you.
Ah heck, expressions like "conventional marriage" shouldn't exist. In my opinion. It either is a marriage or it isn't. Terms like "relational perfection" shouldn't be included in discussions of marriage either. You can be in a relationship with a person outside of marriage, you know. And if one person isn't interested in monogamy, fine. Then don't enter into an institution where monogamy is baked in like yeast into bread.
Furthermore, a relationship can never be perfect because people are not perfect. It is therefore insane to chase "relational perfection." It's a mirage which will never quench a thirst.
That's why I believe Will and Jada Smith's tale is a cautionary one. You do not have to get married. If you find someone you love, you can marry them. Or not. Monogamy isn't a prison, because prison is a punishment. Monogamy is a choice. Marriage is a choice. Marriage is a choice for people who chose monogamy with one person for the rest of their lives. Which should be freedom from the hellish landscape of dating.
Words mean things, people. When we change marriage to mean whatever we want it to mean, it ceases to be marriage at all. When marriage ceases to be what it was meant to be, and people make up the rules as they go, it seems like unhappiness is sure to follow.