An Open Marriage… don’t even think about it?

BY: - 25 Jan '08 | Home

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After a long Career at age 83,  Ruby Dee has finally been nominated for an Oscar Nomination  for her role in American Gangster.   I am so happy for her and I wish that her late husband Ossie Davis could be here to share this with her.

They just seemed like the perfect couple to me which is why I thought of doing some research on them for black history month… for something like..famous African American Couples  in History.   Well it did not take long for me to find out that they had an open marriage.   This was old news..but it was new news to me.

Ossie Davis has been quoted as saying:

“It occurred to us, from observation and reasoning, that extramarital sex was not what really destroyed marriages, but rather the lies and deception that invariably accompanied it — that was the culprit. So we decided to give ourselves permission to sleep with other partners if we wished — as long as what we did was honest as well as private, and that neither of us exposed the family to scandal or disease. We had to be discreet and, if the word can be apt, honorable in our behavior, both to ourselves, to whomever else might be involved, and most of all, to the family. And for the most part, we were.”
Source: Joint biography, page 317

 They said this arrangement freed them.   They also said they would not recommend an open marriage for all couples.   This revelation about them disappointed me.   My idea of a successfully married couple is one that was able to get through the difficult times while still remaining faithful to each other.     Actually, I take that back because I know some older couples that are still married after one of them was unfaithful..but they somehow worked through it and now have good marriages.   But they did not give each other permission to cheat.   (By the way Hubby…if you are reading does not mean I would automatically take you back if you don’t get excited 🙂 )

When I heard that they had an open marriage it made me feel so disappointed.   It made me feel the same way when I found out Marion Jones was on steroids when she won all of those metals. It was like  her accomplishment did not mean anything…she cheated.

I guess by now you have figured it out.   I am   not down with the open marriage.   Sorry hubby..but don’t even think about it.    We took vows before God and I know they did not include inviting other people into our bedrooms.   It’s still adultery..even if you both agree to do it..right?   Plus, for me personally I don’t think I could handle it…but maybe others can.   Please let me know your position on open marriages.  

About the author

Ronnie Tyler wrote 522 articles on this blog.

Ronnie Tyler is the co-creator of and co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing. The proud mom of 4 has been selected by Parenting Magazine as a Must-Read Mom and is one of Babble's Top 100 Mom Bloggers.


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101 WordPress comments on “An Open Marriage… don’t even think about it?

  1. AJ

    I have to say that I truly do NOT believe in an Open Marriage. I personally do not understand how anyone can share something so personal with someone else. To the Real Mz Johnson I am a military spouse (for 11 years now) and my husband is gone at the moment but not once have I gone out looking for someone to take his place. Please don’t lump all military spouses together. There are always a few rotten apples out there to turn us all into a stereotype. My marriage and my husband are far too important for me to even consider such an act. My children are also too important to risk tearing their lives apart because of lust for someone else. It is still adultry no matter how you look at it. If you want to sleep with other people you should not be married.
    And like other people have stated STD’s are real but so is Baby Mama Drama!!!

  2. Veronica

    Of course it’s not for everyone, but I won’t condemn a couple who chooses open marriage. It’s interesting that so many people have an automatic, negative, knee-jerk reaction to the very prospect of it. Who are we to judge what decisions a couple chooses to make within their relationship? I feel like, if they’re both genuinely cool with it, then rock on. Now, it could very well be a Pandora’s Box opened when they let other people (and emotions) into their relationship. But if they know how to properly overcome & deal with that while moving forward with their decision, these couples could very well outlast the ones who are like, “Open marriages are disgusting and a sin!” and headed for divorce court, lol.

    At the end of the day, I got enough to focus on re. making my OWN marriage work–so what two grown, consenting people in a marriage choose to do is their business, point blank. I ain’t the one to throw stones on this one.

  3. Anthony

    Marriage is a construct created by man to legitimize children and to ensure the smooth passage of property and estates to heirs. Also, different religions have their own definition of what marriage is. It stands to follow that people can define what marriage means to them. All relationships are defined by the individuals involved. They set the parameters and the boundaries of what is and isn’t acceptable and expected. If a person wants an open marriage then he or she should find someone who wants the same thing. Relationships are fluid. What works for some couples may not work for all. That includes openness, experimentation, and even wanting to be parents.

    Anthonys last blog post..Echo? Black Panther?

  4. chrystal martin

    I agree completely with greg, dean, and veronica. Every person’s marriage is different and to try and say one type of relationship is the “model” relationship is insane. To say or think that you will only have eyes for your loved one would be calling half of the people in this discussion a liar for the simple fact that most of you would give your right eye to sleep with denzel or don cheadle same for the men who love them some trya banks or janet. We are sexual beings by nature.

    Me and my husband are not only honest with our desires for other people, but we listen and don’t make the other feel bad for having said desires. We have discussed the issues of open marriage and thought about a swinger lifestyle, but at this time we just want to focuse on us before we bring others into our relationship. For us it’s not the sex, but the lying and sneaking around that hurts the marriage. But that is OUR marriage. For me, it made me love ozzie and ruby more. It made them human, not some super black couple who give unrealistic advice on love and marriage that most will never obtain.

    One thing many may not know is that couples who do have open or swinger relationships tend to have a better grip on marriage and our safer ( they get tested regularly) that those in “closed” marriage. Now please don’t think i’m trying to convert people lol but for me that tells me that honesty is the most important thing in a marriage.

  5. LaKeysha

    @ Dean and friends
    I find it hard to understand how someone who says they are a christian can adopt a viewpoint that is against the word of God. (actually we do it all the time but the point is that its wrong).

    I realize that you say that we should not expect those who are not believers to adopt the principles of said faith but that does not mean that we as believers tell them its ok.

    If you have accepted Jesus as your lord and savior and the Bible as Gods divine word then you have accepted that what HE says is right is right and what HE says is wrong is wrong.

    God is crystal clear on marriage, leave father and mother and cleave to wife and the two shall become one.

    He also is clear on labeling adultery a sin. We cannot legitimize what God has clearly called a sin. (I understand that Christians disagree all the time about interpretation but these passages leave no room for deviation). As a matter of fact the word says that the lust of adultery begins in the mind, and is a sin even if you haven’t acted on it.

    You cannot laud the virtues of honesty in marriage while negating fidelity. (Simply because I confessed to stealing does not make it right.)

    So how, as a christian, can you condone going against the word and will of God?

    I know that God is the judge but he has told us to be the salt and the light of the earth. That means to adopt his principles and live our lives in a way that preserves his word and effects everyone around us in a positive way. Loving all, but not condoning sin. (Don’t tell a sinner that its ok for them to sin.)

    With that said…
    Love is committment. It is easy to be selfish but marriage requires that we put someone before ourselves.

    When people have open marriages they are not fully committing themselves to their partners. They are holding back that 100% trust and vulnerability.

    And on another note,
    who in their right mind would want another person being intimate with their spouse?!? I mean really, how does that work? “Honey, I had sex with XYZ last night.” “Oh really, how was it? are you going to see them again?” or “Oh sweetie, not tonight, xyz wore me out earlier” or “mommy where are you going?” -wheres the “honesty” then?

    1. Anonymous

      I totally agree with what you wrote. The subject boggled my mind how infidelity can be discussed as if we are discussing , do you want chicken or steak for dinner. God says NO, but many people who profess that they are Christians are actually churchgoers or not. They do not have a relationship with Jesus, therefore they are never convicted of their sins.

  6. Unmarried Young Chick

    Wow! I’m young and haven’t even thought of marriage yet, but i feel that this “open marriage” thing is just a lazy man/woman’s excuse at playing house. Seriously when you get married you have to give up certains aspects of your past self, in this case the “free spirit”, and commit to your spouse. Having an open marriage is an excuse for people who were not mature enough for this type of sacrfice to try their hand at it.

  7. Mrs. Woodley

    I caught this discussion late, but I’m totally baffled by those of you who consider yourselves to be christians can be so judgemental. There are so many contradictions in the bible as well as your statements. I do not necessarily “believe” in open marriage. I simply accept that it’s the way that some people have chosen to live their lives. I’m sure there are just about as many successful open marriages as there are unsuccessful ones. I just find it very difficult to judge someone else’s choices in living their lives because it’s “their” life based on their own personal journey which could never be duplicated by anyone else. How dare we do or say anything, especially bringing the bible into this, when it clearly according to many of you says not to judge. I say we recognize the existence of “open marriage” and keep it moving. I personally met Ozzie and Ruby D at a restaurant in NYC a couple of years before he passed away and their energy and spirits were so peaceful and in tuned. At the time, I had no idea about their arrangement, but I’m sure it was something that occurred during their younger years that worked for them at the time, but allowed them to maintain their friendship and unity in marriage. Let’s keep it totally real. Most people that I know who are christians who go to church regularly are such hypocrites in one way or the other. I grew up in church–it was the same when I was a kid and probably even worse now. As a spouse, we should want honesty. I would prefer my husband or myself to be able to share our true feelings about everything (sex is the least of concerns) and to discuss them openly. If Kirk Franklin had a fetish for porn to the extent that he did–no disrespect to he and Tammie’s marriage–how much of an honest relationship could they have had? Honesty and respect are the most important in my opinion. The bible is just way too complicated and full of contradictions as well as the instruction not to judge others for anyone to be down playing anything just because “you” personally don’t like or wouldn’t do something.

  8. Harriet

    @ Mrs. Woodley,

    This is probably something for another topic, but–no surprise here–I’m going to say it anyway. You definitely speak the truth in that many who proclaim to be saved have the tendency to be hypocritical, but unfortunately, those kinds of attitudes are relegated mainly to Christians in the United States and Europe, where freedom of religion is taken for granted.

    As far as the Bible is concerned, it is not as complicated as it seems. If we’ll be real about it, anyone can take the Bible and make it say whatever they want it to say. That’s abuse of scripture that’s as old as the Bible itself.

    But if we take each concept the Bible entails and run it from Genesis to Revelation, we’ll understand the whole counsel of God, including its guidance on marriage. I suspect some simply repeat what they’ve heard their pastors say about certain topics, but others have their own personal relationship with Christ, not with the church they happen to go to.

    As far as judgment is concerned, the definition of the word you’re talking about is “to form an estimate or evaluation of; especially a negative opinion of.” You’re right, that is not the place of a Christian.

    Neither are we called to sit in on people’s eternal home (another definition). As long as someone is still breathing, then a Christian really shouldn’t be playing with running a person away that is still eligible (via life and breath) to accept the will of God.

    However, we are called to weigh certain issues prior to taking any kind of action. We are called to (definition #3) “formulate an opinion about through careful weighing of evidene and testing of premises.” What we, as Christians use as the standard of truth, honesty and integrity is the Word of God…the Bible.

    Now, granted, many people’s actions don’t line up. You made mention of Kirk Franklin as an example. But I posit that the fact that he was able to admit it, even on such a public stage, means he’s willing to submit to the whole world as holding him accountable to remaining free from such an addiction.

    Now, Dean made some outstanding points about the fact that every couple is not getting married through the auspices of Christianity. Very true. Nevertheless, because a person makes a judgement (definition #3) call about how an open marriage looks through the eyes of God doesn’t mean that the person has formulated a negative opinion. It simply means that they agree with what God as said about THAT particular issue.

    But the God that Christians serve is principle driven. If the principles on marriage are utilized for a saved couple or an unsaved couple (things like honesty, integrity, communication…all the things you said), He is going to bless it, whether He gets the glory and credit for it or not. I think it’s unfortunate that couples who do not acknowledge God are showing couples who are saved how to be married and work the principles God set aside for marriage even better than saved couples (hence the fact that saved couples’ divorce rate are 2-5% higher than unsaved couples).

    Nevertheless, what hangs in the balance for all of us is eternity and where we’ll spend it. I said it once in another forum, but it begs to be stated again: I want to have heaven on earth AND in heaven.

    I agree with pretty much everything you said…I just think that your opinion about Christians as a whole was a little skewed based on the behavior of many in the United States. Therea are Christians around the world who are losing their lives because they believe so strongly that Christ is the Son of the living God. What we take for granted in the United States is the fact that we haven’t yet hit the tip of the iceberg of the persecution that Christians in Sudan, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Russia, China, North Korea, etc go through daily. Yet they still serve, they still love, they don’t complain.

    I could go on and on. I just can’t have you talking bad about my brothers and sisters like that. Not when in the time it took me to type this message, a home church was probably invaded and 5-10 Christians (statistically) were killed for their faith.

  9. nonbelieversimpleton

    @ the thread.

    life is not about differences and judging others, for if it were fighting and war would be the answer to all problems. most of this thread speaks to judging others and imposing the “will of god” on the institution of marriage. open marriage is about acceptance, integrity, respect, and above all love.

    i would propose that the people will believe what they want to believe. i would further suggest that all people have the free will to decide how to live their lives and maintain their relationships.

    much of the vibe on this thread is about fear of judgement and sin. i would advocate that instead of preaching morals and values, most religions and belief systems advocate for acceptance and understanding. how is it that many participants on this thread are so worried about whether people in an open marriage will “burn in hell” or not? if there is a god or gods, why wouldn’t you leave the judging to him/her or them?

    open relationships are about reducing the possessiveness of relationships. they minimize the likelihood of partners taking one another for granted and they can revitalize the relationship with new energy. these relationships are about the people involved in them not what you or i think of them.

    openness and acceptance are the keys to life. these are positive energy ideas. judging, hate and discrimination are negative ideas. life is what we make it…not what society or religion tells us to be. open relationships are about people trying to be happy nothing more, nothing less.

  10. LaKeysha

    Just a point to be made

    judging: to condemn someone to hell or heaven

    When the Bible speaks of not judging it is telling us not to condemn each other to hell. Meaning not deciding that someone is unredeemable beacuse of their actions. God is the one who will decide whose actions have sent them to heaven or to hell, not us.

    So saying that something that God has labled a sin is a sin, is not judging.

    And just to be fair, if one is going to use a principle from the Bible as a standard then you must accept all of Gods principles in the Bible, not just pick and choose those that suit you in the moment. So if you quote that I should not judge anyone you are also saying that I should believe that infidelity and hence, an open marriage, is a sin, as the Bible says.

    I also want to note that this is an open forum that asked for opinions on the topic. We have all decided what we think is right and what is wrong and we live our lives according to those principles. I would not go up to a stranger and tell them whats wrong with their lives. But if asked my opinion I would not decline to answer.
    But understand that it is the goal of a Christain to introduce others to Jesus Christ spreading the “good news” of the gospel. For us to know a Perfect and Holy God and keep him to ourselves is the epitome of selfishness, not acceptance.

  11. nonbelieversimpleton


    Thank you for explaining your religious beliefs. As a non-christian, I understand, accept and even respect you and your viewpoints.

    However your response seems to assume that everyone either is (or should be) Christian.

    Suggesting that because someone advocates for a principle (non-judgment and acceptance) that they are “picking and choosing” principles from the Bible is a flawed assumption. No religion can lay claim to general principles (such as kindness, acceptance, understanding, compassion, love, etc.). These principles are fairly universal to most religions and numerous philosophies.

    The topic of discussion is open marriages. I realize that for many marriages are religiously based. For others marriages are just a legal partnership and for some marriages aren’t even an option in many states. Many of the laws in modern America are indeed based on religious beliefs…that doesn’t mean all Americans are religious (or Christians for that matter).



  12. blackrose

    i think that having an open marriage is not good at all, because like someone said on the top what if that other person gets feels.i belive that if you want something open dont even give marriage a bad name just stay free.

  13. LaKeysha

    @ nonbelieversimpleton

    If I am to adhere fully to belief in God and my Christianity then I can indeed say that my God is the author of all of the aforementioned characteristics (kindness, compassion etc). And while my religion advocates for all of those “general principles” my point is that it also advocates for living within certain parameters and boundaries. If I did not commit to living out all of those standards then I would be a hypocrite.

    I hope that my comments were taken as they were intended, with love and respect. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and Lord knows I enjoy a good debate. I don’t expect that those who are not Christians will embrace a Christian viewpoint nor lifestyle but that does not mean that I do not think that they should.

    Many people adopt a pluralistic outlook of society where there exist multiple views, not just one right one. In contrast, Chrisitanity is built on Absolutes. Truth is not relative. The Bible is our foundation for knowing what’s wrong and what’s wrong. There are core principles in the Bible that are not negotiable. The sanctity and fidelity of marriage between 1 man and 1 woman is one of those principles.

    So as a Christian you understand that everyone has a right to their opinions but it goes against the very core of our beliefs to allow the possibility that a principle established by God may be trumped by a personal preference. This applys whether a person is a Christian or not, because neither God nor his principles become invalid because you choose not to accept them.

    Even our society allows everyone to have an opinion and express it but not always to live it. Meaning we have laws against practices that we believe to be wrong no matter what your personal preferance(i.e. polygamy, pedophilia etc.).So yes, people do marry for all kinds of reasons but marriage was the first institution that God created between people, even before the Church, and peoples (mis)treatment of it does not invalidate its sanctity.

    And yes, I do assume that everyone either is or should be Christian. If I do not adopt that stance then I make my God out to be a liar because he said that He Alone is God and that we should have no other before Him. And I also make the sacrifice of Jesus Christ invalid because then I am saying that not everyone needed redemption (i.e. they could get it some other way with some other religion).

    Forgive the rambling, hope it wasn’t too confusing, just remember this; No matter what your opinion or view I still have love for you and hope that I would never be so ungodly as to treat you with disrespect or contempt because of what you believe.


  14. Anthony

    Let me begin by saying that I too and a Christian, and believe that God is above all and that Jesus died in sacrifice for our sins. That being said, I pray that you, Lakeysha, do not in fact let the Bible dictate your life. The Bible is a guide filled with basic fundamental beliefs that all people regardless of religion should follow. Many of these beliefs are in the teachings of Jesus. Let he without sin cast the first stone. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, are just a couple of what I consider to be “The fundamental core principles” in the Bible. However, I would caution you that one thing people should be aware of is that one should probably not mix the New Testament and Old Testament principles.

    The fact that the Council of Nicea basically allowed the Catholic church to pick and chose what Christians could and could not believe, and the fact that the Catholic church excluded certain books from the bible, and that King James basically created his own version of the bible to get a divorce, the fact that monks who transcribed the bible through the early generations and riddled with their own individual doctrines, the fact that Christians don’t acknowledge the Dead Sea Scrolls as part of the bible, all make me believe that the Bible is not the end all be all of religious doctrine, especially Christian beliefs. Any document translated over and over again by less than perfect men with their own agenda, and institutions with their own agendas make me hesitant to believe any more than what I believe is right and wrong in my heart, and even more hesitant to impose that same document on others.

    Basically, the Bible is a guide. Read it for yourself and if you believe in God absolutely, then He will guide your heart.

    As I said before, people in relationships should decide for themselves the parameters of their own relationship. And as a Christian, I pass no judgment on their choices; that’s for God to decide.

  15. LaKeysha

    I’m not sure why you suggest that we should not mix old and new testament principles. We were given the original law in the old testament which Jesus told us not to neglect because he did not come to do away with it but to fulfil the law (MAtthew 5: 17-10). The old testament is the foundation upon which the new testament stands. The very acceptance of Jesus as the messiah is based on the fulfilled prophecies of the old testament.

    But of course that is a whole other subject that would take more than a few lines to debate. As is the acceptance of the BIble as the divinely inspired word of God.

    But even based on what you are saying an open marriage is wrong because Jesus Christ said it. Jesus refrences the old testament when he talks about marriage being between one man and one women and not to divorce exept in cases of adultery. So along with loving one another and not casting the first stone, he talked about the fidelity of marriage.

  16. The Dissenting Voice

    I think an open marriage is the only way to go. I am black, married with 2 children. I had a relationship outside of my marriage that my husband did not know about. However, when that outside relationship ended, I found myself in yet another secret relationship.

    Many people think that an open marriage means you run off and sex with every Tom, Dick and Harry. For me that was not the case. I had serious soul fulfilling relationships with men outside of my marriage that did not involve that much sex. Even though sex did occur, it was not the basis of the relationship.

    After many, many, many conversations with my husband about different relationship scenarios, we moved to an open marriage. I think we are happier in all aspects of our life. My husband has no interest in the minutia of my career; I share that with someone else. I have no interest in sports; he shares that with someone else. We always protect ourselves if sex is involved, and we are always upfront with the other person about our marital status.

    I think too many people are hooked on the “happily ever after” and don’t realize that humans are multidimensional. You build a foundation with your spouse. Your house still needs plumbing, HVAC, window, etc. I think less people would get hurt, if everyone was honest about their individual needs, and not hiding behind religion to justify an empty marriage that could be okay if you sought solace elsewhere on occasion.

    1. Anonymous

      really its not about running a d hVavng sex.who r u kidding? What if u fell in love with someone else.i just dont get it how can u be in love with a person and totally be okay with this.

  17. Wildfire

    First, I want to say thank you for all your comments. I was searching the web tonight needing to hear some things about relationships. I was somehow guided to this page. Thank you.

    I think we are all trying to sort out the difference between the REALITY of relationships and the FANTASY of relationships. All the comments here could easily fit into both categories. The hard facts are that most of us lack the amount of wisdom necessary to maintain a marital relationship when we embark on getting married. As we mature, we learn and experience much more about this life. Inevitably, our needs change. Marriage doesn’t guarantee that our needs will change together or that we are able to meet our spouses’ changing needs no matter what we try.

    Back to REALITY – the reality is that many of us are in a marriage that is NOT fulfilling in more ways than it is fulfilling. I truly believe many of us make attempts at identifying what is wrong and try to fix it by a number of different tactics (open marriages, infidelity/adultery, therapy, religion, medication, alcohol, drugs, avoidance, etc, etc). I also believe that at some point, we all know when the relationship has run it’s course and unable to fulfill each other’s needs. (As it is said, all things are for a season. )

    I believe that the largest underlying issue crippling relationships today (and all other ills of society) is FEAR. Fear of everything. Fear of being alone, fear of not fitting in, fear of not embracing societal norms, fear of ridicule and criticism from family and friends, fear of God, fear of one’s inner desires, fear of losing (someone, something), fear of honesty, fear of being hurt and on and on.

    I believe Ozzie and Ruby Dee in their own intimate way attempted to conquer the fear of losing their marriage by opening it up. And in doing so, may have indeed saved their marriage. We tend to forget that we are instinctual animals, moved by some basic tendencies. Many times we can use our intellect and morals to contain those desires; however, inevitably more fail than succeed. We all want to live and feel alive and experience this life, yet we imprison ourselves by what we think and feel we are “supposed” to do and be. Most tend to follow the beaten path even when we know where that path goes and how that path ends. Those brave enough, try something different to get a different result. I commend those willing to try something different to get a different result.

  18. blackrose

    i dont think nobody want to touch it because so many people have so many buts about it. open come on now im like peter thats new for swingers. and thats it i dont belive that people of God,would agree with this so called open marriage thing it crap to me when you can again be free and date who you please with no strings if you want it like that.but if there is anybody out that thinking are doing this please but clear and honest with you spouce, and like B.E. T say rap it up and lady protect you self.

  19. nicole

    Your excerpt from Ruby Dee omits something important. This is a quote from Ruby Dee concerning their foray into open marriage territory and the end result:

    “Ossie wanting an open marriage was part of our 52 years,” recalled Ruby. “That period there – I don’t know – I guess all couples go through some period of disenchantment or believing that the grass is greener. And it may not be crab grass on the other side. It may be beautiful. But you come to the conclusion that it’s one of these elements in life where you decide if what you have is really is what you want.

    “The complications of being involved with other human beings – and the world is full of marvelous human beings. You could find one maybe every week or every year or something. And, it would be such a topsy turvy affair – in terms of family, property and all kind of things.

    “But, we both came to realize that we were very fortunate that, in all of the deep profound, fundamental ways, we really, really only wanted each other.

    “It was like a rediscovery of something from the beginning. It’s not something that you’d recommend to everybody. But often Ossie has said – and I’ve though too – the best way to have somebody is to let it go. If it doesn’t come back you are free in another kind of sense – in that you find the strength to let go and wish somebody well.

    “So, we thought an open marriage was appropriate for us but it turned out not to be. But then that’s what we’re all about,” she said thoughtfully. “We are moving from one position to another in the process of trying to unravel this thing call life.”,2001.html

  20. SingLikeSassy

    I’ve seen up close how this didn’t work for one couple. My old roommate — who is Quebecois and agnostic — was with her partner for 10 years before they got married. They had discussed having an open relationship/marriage early on and she had always had affairs, but he didn’t know about them. I did, however, and I can remember us arguing about it and her telling me that some bonds are stronger than marriage licenses and that as long as emotions weren’t involved and there was discretion, there was no problem. I decided to leave it alone. Not my business.

    They decide to get married and she has an affair with someone they know. She’s always lusted after this person and there was an opportunity so she acted on it. Her husband finds out, is hurt (he thought it was just a discussion not something they were actually DOING) and decided well, hell, it’s my turn now. He has an affair. Drama ensues. Their marriage falls apart. They were married for less than 2 years and together for almost 12 years. All that, gone.

    She now says she would never do that again.

    I think there are enough potential problems in marriages that we don’t have to go looking for problems by introducing other people and their issues into it. This would not work for me.

  21. Carl

    Open marriage is STUPID….it defeats the whole purpose.

    I mean why get married if your going to have sex with other people,
    for that you might as well NOT be married and if you feel like you have to go out and look else where for exciment and full fillment than you need to question what was the purpose behind you getting married to begin with.

    If you marry someone its for a reason, you saw something in that person that made you consider spending a life time with them.
    therefore everything you look for in another mate should ALREADY be in the one you married.

    otherwise DONT GET MARRIED.



    People evolve, therefore marraiges evolve. As evident by the fact that people find sexual relationships outside of marriage, it’s too simplistic to say don’t get married if you’re going to have sex outside the marriage. I seriously doubt that anyone planning a wedding goes into it with the intentions of destroying it by having an extramarital affair. Does that make sense to you? Please, think.

    The sex act is not the problem. Disonnection is the problem. When you lose that connection with your spouse, (I think some have used the term communication, but I prefer connection because you can communicate without being connected), when you lose it you feel DISCONNECTED, and we all have a need to feel connected.

    Once you become disengaged from your spouse, you’re going to find it somewhere else or in something else, I don’t care how ugly you are, or how much money you don’t have, there’s someone for everybody, or something for everyone to find a purpose in – for – around.

    So, IMO, it’s neccesary to keep the connection with your spouse in order to maintain a healthy relationship.

    For those of you that need the bible to tell you how to live, 1 Corinthians Chapter 7 speaks on this subject:

    3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

    4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

    5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

    6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

    The whole chapter goes into more detail so check it out. However, I’m under the impression that it’s better to get a divorce than to remain in a marriage where a third party is involved. To be quite frank, one woman is enough almost too much, I don’t see how any man in his right mind can deal with the mental stress of having more than one. Sex changes everything and once that connection is made with another woman the bond is difficult to break because for most women SEX=Commitment, for most men SEX=SEX (and a good nights sleep).

  23. Harriet

    Gregg, Gregg, Gregg…

    first of all, where have you been, lone ranger? my husband read your commentary about vulnerability (or friendship…i forgot which one), and almost fell out of the bed laughing because of the similarity in you all’s mindset towards the topic of friendships and vulnerability.

    but i digress…

    you’ll have to correct me if i’m wrong, but the way i’m reading your last statement, it seems like you’re contradicting yourself and advocating two things that are mutually exclusive.

    in one breath you say, “Once you become disengaged from your spouse, youre going to find it somewhere else or in something else”

    then in the next breath, you say, “For those of you that need the bible to tell you how to live, 1 Corinthians Chapter 7 speaks on this subject:”

  24. Harriet

    @ Gregg,

    those two viewpoints were the direct antitheses of one another! IMO, you can’t take a mindset contrary to the ways of God and then use the Word of God to justify it.

    from a biblical standpoint, if a disconnection has occured, then you work and persevere in prayer and corresponding action until a re-connection takes place. you don’t just up and go find a connection somewhere else.

    yes, it is better for two people to divorce than remain married with all kinds of drama, abuse and contention taking place; however, divorce is not the topic at hand…an open marriage is.

    since you took it to the Bible, let’s dissect it for a minute: Jesus is symbolic of a groom, and the church, or the Body of Christ is symbolic of His bride. now if JESUS, perfection personified, can wait and wait and wait for His Bride to make her mind up that She wants to commit to Him, THAT’S the standard we need to look at in our marriages.

    if Jesus, deity in diapers, can give His Bride His Name and watch as She misrepresents and drags it through the mud, yet be patient in knowing that She will eventually see what kind of Man He is,then THAT’S the standard we need to follow!

    if Jesus, the epitome of excellence, can still be faithful to His Bride, even though She uses Him for what He can do as opposed to loving Him for Who He is, then surely, we, who are imperfect, can attempt to do the same, no matter how disconnected our marriages are. check the record and read Hosea if you don’t think i’m on the right track.

    bottom line is this: beyond abuse and life threatening situations, disconnection is no excuse to defile and dishonor the origial premise God set aside for marriage. an open marriage is an insult to God, and an insult to any spouse that takes his or her relationship seriously.

    i give ruby dee and ossie davis props in determining that this was not the route they wanted their relationship to go. i hate they had to learn it from experience, but all of us have to learn lessons the hard way sometimes.


    Harriet, Harriet, Harriet!

    I been around. Had to break it off for a minute to do some work. I’m on a photography assignment, taking classes to become a level 3 Spinning instructor, and in my spare time recording my music. I’m waking up with music in my head, so I got to record it. ANYWAY!!!—

    Disconnection – I’m referring to people that are disconnected within their marriage. Personally, I’d rather get a divorce than live under the roof with someone I’ve lost connection with. If I’m in a marriage that is not satisfying, I hope to God I don’t find someone that interest me before I relieve my present situation, because I’d probably have an affair with her. I’m just being real. I’m not Jesus, whom btw had the brains NOT to get married (but that’s a different story). SO…

    I referred to the biblical scripture (since they seem to be tossed around quite a bit) as an explaination as to why married couples should strive to remain connected, mentally, spiritually, and physically. According to the passage, Paul took into consideration our sexual appetite (incontinency) realizing that Satan will use our sexual appetite (incontinency) to lead us away from our spouse. He goes further to explain in the chapter the reality and difficulty of living a celibate life. It’s HARD.

    That’s the ‘connection’ I was trying to make between the two statements, but who knows, I’m known for going off on tangents, and I’m about to go on one now. Ready, Set…

    I have to disagree with you on one point you made. Jesus could possibly be “the epitome of excellence”, but we certainly are not, and I for one do not strive to be this perception we have of Jesus. Attempting to be like Jesus is like completely ludicrous. I’m 100% sure you’re not, and although most Americans are christian in their imagination, I’m 100% sure their actions prove otherwise, especially since we are “imperfect” as you rightly stated.

    The difficulty of marriage speaks volumes to the love that the Bridegroom (Christ), has for his Bride (the Church), because I’m not putting up with some hardharded, stiffnecked, rebellous woman, I don’t care what Jesus did (who btw, had the brains not to get married). Contrary to what some may believe, everything in the bible was not meant to be taken literally, and the Bridegroom/Bride example is one that should not be taken literally. It’s a symbol of Christ and His Church, and Sunday morning hooping, hollering, and praise ya Lords won’t make you a member.

    Furthermore, (and believe me I’m trying to stop because I have stuff to do) some cultures, which may or may not believe in Jesus or claim Christianity allow for multiple partners. For example, in New Guinea, and in some parts of Africa, woman are allowed to have more than one husband AND they take on girlfriends, and if you don’t believe me, google it. Is everybody in the world going to Hell except American Protestants? I certainly hope not because if these self righteous hypocrites that call themselves christian are allowed in heaven, I hope God has an open door policy because we’re going to have to have a one-on-one, because I don’t want to spend any more time around them than I have to here on Earth.

  26. JustLooking

    I had looked at this because I am thinking about it. I have been married for over 20 years and have needs that are not being met anymore. I am wondering if this is a possibility because I don’t think I should just be unhappy in certain area’s of Marriage just because I said I do. Yes… we have mortgage, bills, kids and I don’t want to walk out on this which would make it worse if I needed to find my own place and add more bills to this.

    A very touchy subjet indeed.

  27. Snip

    You know we are always trying to follow the advice of fools. God gave us laws, we break them, I break them too. However, when you just say to hell with Laws of behavior you lose the Self Accusing spirit that is needed when we do break them. this spirit allows us to find our way back to the right actions. But if you just say it is ok to do what you want…..then you are really playing russian roulette. These people are not examples for our people. they are tools for the devil to fulfill his evil existence. People of susbstance will never even consider this as a way to keep a good marriage. Marriage takes work, everything we have to make it work and some of us still don’t get it right (Me included). But I will never consider this foolishness just to test this theory. Again if you are unfaithful in your marriage, that is one thing, but to say we are going to allow this to save our marriage is worse. Like giving your 13 year old daughter BC pills. If you believe in the institution of marriage, you will not follow this craziness.
    We as Black people have lost our minds following an evil way of life. The Black woman is the queen of the universe and don’t deserve to be treated this way. Hell have a just grip on a lot of people. God is angry at this world for the evil is spreading far and wide.
    Ossie and Ruby are actors along with Will and Jada not working for God, but for the devil. Then our magazines like Jet and Ebony put them on the cover of magazines like they are the perfect couple. We are some silly people to follow this madness.
    Oh I am not judging anyone, that is for God to do. I am not perfect, never will be, however in our doing wrong, we can’t just say to hell with the RIGHT way to do things. No, just say we are weak and ask for strength and mercy. Why our young people are crazy as hell, serious disconnect from God and Truth!

  28. 3mcclaingirls_Mom


    I was so shocked and very disappointed and your analogy about Marion really drove your point home. My husband and I are in entertainment and I am STUNNED with the number of high profile couples are swinging. And the most shocking part is that this is going on during a time of the AIDS epidemic. Don’t even offer up the ‘safe sex’ argument and condoms, hell that’s how my second daughter ended up here so how safe are condoms really?!

    I honestly believe my husband and I are like dinosaurs in the year 3000. This is really out of the question for us. Maybe because the idea of sharing one another is utterly insane. If we wanted to be with other people, we would divorce and date. According to the rules, a person should never say never but I can say just that about at least two things. I would never be down with an open married and I would never smoke crack.

    Shontell McClain
    Wife and Mother of 4

  29. Stacy

    It’s not of God because the commitment to fidelity is from God and not from man, so not even your parter has the right to allow you to be with another. Your bodies are not even your own, they belong to God and it’s a part of a covenant not just between you and your spouse but between both spouses and God. God doesn’t approve of the breaking of the marriage covenant, just because the two people approve.
    At some point jealousy and all other sorts of things will come into play.

  30. Jann

    I met a guy online who I talked to for 6 months before meeting because he said he wanted a relationship with someone who was available.

    I later learned he was still seeing the married woman who claimed their relationship was more like friends. Which of course was not true. I asked him why don’t you just be with her if you love her deeply. He said she and her husband had a long marriage and he didn’t want disrespect that. I asked him why this married woman knew nothing of me but I knew everything about her and he said that she would be very hurt. This was very insulting to me because he apparently didn’t think I had feelings. He held her feelings in high regard which later made sense.

    After a year of torture I called her husband and asked if he would he want to know if his wife has been having an affair for 3 years and he arrogantly and coldly replied no. I asked again to make sure I was hearing correctly he said no. My jealousy dissolved and I actually felt sorry for this woman. Her husband didn’t seem care or have any interest in her affair. Her boyfriend who was supposedly in love with her continued to cheat on her with me. In her delusional world she had a rich husband and a boyfriend who loved her. Neither were loyal to her. In my delusional world I discovered I was jealous of someone who seemed to be living a sad shallow existence and in the end her husband and boyfriend really didn’t care of her feelings after all.
    What I learned open marriages are really not that open after all. Someone is a secret and their emotions will be trampled on. Open marriages suit selfish people who are in the need to control others. My boyfriend was telling me he didn’t love me but couldn’t resist me and needed me but he didn’t want me to see others and he wanted to keep seeing the married woman because they had a deep love. She the married woman told my boyfriend she didn’t want him to see others yet he was supposed to accept her situation being married. Her husband could see who he wanted so her seeing another man suited him fine and her seeing someone else kept his guilt and selfishness intact. These arrogant people have shammed themselves into believing that they are being honest and sophisticated meanwhile others hearts are being trampled on as if they have no value. Don’t let someone pull you into their web of bullshit. Open marriage is plain and simple bullshit.

  31. Vee

    Jann, not for nothing it just sounds like you let yourself get caught up with this dude who was already dealing with a married woman, and he let you know this from jump–so why are you taking your frustrations out on a woman whom you don’t know and are only connected with through your friend? Sounds like things weren’t working out between you & homeboy (a whole YEAR of “torture?” Why’d you even let it go on that long?), so you go and call her husband, trying to expose her? And then got mad when he didn’t react the way you wanted? Come on–grow up. You can feel however you want about open marriages, but don’t be so quick to throw stones when YOU were knowingly involved with someone who was involved with this other person as well. IMO you had just as much to do with this so-called “web of bullshit,” as you put it. Own up to it, chalk it up & move on.

  32. Gregg


    If I were you, I wouldn’t consider looking for satisfaction outside your marriage, not just because of HIV/AIDS, but all the other diseases out there. What if you get herpes? 1 out of 4 women are infected and 1 out of 5 men are infected. Read these stats:

    The thing about it, at least with AIDS you are aware of your inevitable death, and the way you will die, but with herpes you have it, can’t get rid of it, and may eventually pass it on to someone else like your husband if you two ever have sex again. I was really surprised at the stats. What it means is that a lot of the people reading this right now have herpes, not to mention the other VD’s. If your husband is not pleasing you, I would suggest masterbation. You’re more likely to do a better job pleasing yourself masterbating than taking a chance on some unknown scumbag. It’s safe, it don’t cost anything, and you’re done in like 15 – 20 minutes. You can get on with your day not thinking about sex again for a while, which means you can get some work done. You don’t have to plan an escape route from your lover after sex (escape routes are best planned beforehand), you don’t have to lie to your husband (he may get suspicious of you going out of town every weekend), and you won’t catch anything from your fingers or hand. The only virus/infections you might get from masterbating will be from downloading porno to your computer and you can always clean it by reinstalling your operating system (which should be done at least once a year anyway).

    People will lie to you about not having herepes then the next thing you know there’s a nasty ugly little sore inside your cute little vagina screaming “I’m here, I’m here!” Or, you wake up in the morning, look at your face in the mirror, and there’s a nasty ugly little sore on your pretty little mouth screaming for all the world to see “Look at me, Look at me!” You pretend it’s not there, or call it a “cold sore”, but really, everyone is looking at it and trying not to get too close to you.

    Are you frightened yet? You should be. Hope this helps.

  33. Straightandwide

    Wrong wrong wrong wrong. Masturbation is not a cure all. That's like saying you can live off of ice cream. Variety is the spice of life so what the hell are you supposed to do when your spouse has no sex drive and can't come up with anything new or original and is quite content to either skip the whole thing or just lay there while you do all the work, her 3 orgasms to your 1!!!

    I've always thought monogamy was right because I had the idea and principle droned into my brain when I was young. I got the house, the wife, the kids, the dog and now I realize the only reason I got all that is because I was told that's what I wanted. So now what? Masturbate until I die? Why do I need the headache of a family and a dog crap laden yard to whack my smack stick?

    As far as the bible, I bet you already violated one of the older laws in Leviticus and should be put to death but you don't see me running at you with a knife. That's the same section that gets quoted about men lying with men and women lying with women. Also, if these kinds of things were really that important to Christ he would have brought it up when he was alive. He speaks of divorce but never answers specific questions. Probably because the intricacies we get caught up in are not what we should be focusing on.

    Joy, peace, love. Theses are things that can be experienced in bed with one or many people.

  34. Kjhhawk

    After reading all the comments posted and understanding the complexity of the questions or behavior about open marriage. I have couple of things to say about the conversation. The Lord God is not mocked nor will He be made a fool of by human beings. The Lord said that He will indeed repay His enemies to their face and then they will understand the righteous judgments by the Living God. Also, the Lord said that a person will reap what they have sown. If they sow to their flesh, they will indeed reap corruption and destruction.

    To my fellow brothers and sisters in the Christian faith and those who fear the name of the Living God and trust in His Holy Word. Never argue or debate with a fool because if you do, it will only make you a even a bigger fool than them. Also,, remember the parable that Jesus spoke about, the farmer who had planted good seeds into his ground and went to take a nap and the next morning the devil came and planted these weeds into the farmers field. The farmer servant said to the farmer the next morning, who planted these weeds into your field? Do you want me to go and pull these weeds out of the field? The famer relied no, let them grow up together and at the time of harvest, I will take up the wheat and burn those weeds. Jesus said at the end of time, He will separate the sheep and the goat, and the righteous and the unrighteous.

    Never my brothers and sister argue with foolish people, just watch and wait on the judgments of God. The Word said that God hates the deeds of the wicked but the righteous and those who fear His name His guide their steps. Not everyone who say they are Christian or Christian but those who do the will of God said Jesus. Finally, the Lord said that God knows who belongs to Him so we dont have to worry about what people do behind closed doors. Let them enjoy there fleshly pleasures and if they want to swing or have many partners. Let then alone! Remember, at the end of time when their lives are ruin and when calamity has overtaken them. Then they will seek the Lord but the Lord will disregard their plea for help because they chose not to fear the Lord and rejected His corrections and disciplines. Finally, they will say to themselves, that the Lord is not mocked nor will He allow mankind to discredit His Holy Name. Love your Christian Brother

  35. Nathan

    Although I don’t agree with an open marriage people are going to do what they do regardless. God is the judge, not any of us mere mortals. He gave us all a choice as to how we are to live our lives. I don’t support it as it is a bond between a man and a woman but once they are married it is ultimately up to them with what they want to with their marriage.

  36. Anonymous

    Amen-can’t anything touch this! The truth is the truth is the truth.
    I’ve been in many relationships and not one man would keep me if I told him that I wanted both him and others, vice versa.
    It is not natural, but neither is homosexuality, but we have those who fight for the right to have same sex partners.
    I am speaking on behalf of those of us who confess Christianity. Christians accept God’s Word as the gospel. So if you are in favor of these types of relationships, that’s okay for whatever floats your boat, but just don’t claim Christianity too. And if you do, you’d better go and study God’s word and ask Him to show you the truth.

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Videos We Love – James Brown and Luciano Pavarotti

BY: - 27 Jan '08 | Home

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James Brown and Luciano Pavarotti – It’s a man’s world!
Stubmled upon this on youtube. One of the best duets I’ve seen ever in my opinion. What do you think?

About the author

Lamar Tyler wrote 2229 articles on this blog.

Lamar Tyler is co-creator He also is the co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing.


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