A Marriage Like Velcro: Compliment or Criticism

BY: - 4 Apr '13 | Black Celebrity Marriages

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Has a statement about marriage ever rubbed you the wrong way? Maybe you could tell that outsiders looking in just didn’t “get it.” This is how I felt while watching a recent episode of “The Braxton Family Values.” Of course, it wasn’t my marriage that was under scrutiny but Tamar’s (who is married to music executive Vince Herbert).

In one particular scene, the sisters, minus Tamar, were vacationing in Italy when the conservation turned to Tamar and Vince’s marriage. It appeared that the other Braxton sisters had nicknamed the couple “velcro” because, as they explained, the two are always together, as opposed to Tamar spending more time with her sisters. One could say the sisters were speaking from their hurt, frustration, and even love for Tamar. They genuinely missed her. But, the spirit of the conversation turned sour for me when they began to bash Tamar’s marriage.

Because this is reality television, we don’t get to see everything that happens, only what is edited for the viewing audience. So maybe Tamar and Vince know the sisters call them velcro. Maybe it’s a family joke that everyone chuckles about during family gatherings. Maybe Tamar and Vince came up with the name themselves. Tamar is known for her flamboyant ways of describing things. After doing a little research, I came across an interview published on The Huffington Post in September where Tamar describes some of the negatives of doing reality television.

The only con is a lot of people might not agree how Vince and I conduct our relationship. We work together every single day, we’re together all the time. We’re pretty much velcro. And he manages me, so it’s a lot. The way we decide to communicate and what works for us, a lot of people won’t agree with that.

This interview does put some of my dismay to rest but not all of it. Even if Tamar describes her own marriage as velcro, the spirit of the sisters’ conversation was not right. It was full of condescension, criticism, and some might say, envy.

As the only daughter in my family, I remember praying for sisters. I imagined having a life-long friend with whom to share secrets and grow into womanhood. Maybe I’m naive, but shouldn’t sisters want your marriage to be strong? Shouldn’t they admire the togetherness and love you display with your husband? Shouldn’t they encourage you to spend time together? Shouldn’t they respect your covenant, not just in their hearts but with their mouths?

I understand the Braxton sisters wanting to spend time together, and I actually agree that sister-time away from the menfolk is important. Who can argue with a girls’ vacation? But what happens to the married woman after the vacay, after the sisters’ shopping trip, after the girls’ night out? I’ll tell you what happens: she goes home to a husband who is supposed to be second in her life, only after God. And he needs to feel like he’s second. He needs to know that his wife has made him a priority in her life. The same is true for the wife.

When you marry, you have to cut some (not all) of the cords that you had with family and friends. Even though you may have been a sister before you were a wife, after marriage you are a wife first. Relationships with sisters, brothers, friends, and even parents are important, but not as important as your relationship with your spouse. Ask yourself:

With whom did I stand before God and make a vow until death?

With whom did I exchange rings?

With whom does my life become one?

Get this: children shouldn’t even take the place of a spouse. I’m not talking about a boyfriend/girlfriend but a spouse in a healthy, nonviolent relationship. At some point, children are supposed to leave their father and mother and cleave to their own husband or wife. Who is left then? Hopefully, Mr. or Mrs. Velcro, the one who sticks closer than a brother or a sister.

In my opinion, the conversation wasn’t an attractive moment for the sisters. Instead of criticizing Tamar and Vince, they actually gave them a compliment. It reminds me of something a woman told me about my marriage that confirmed for me that my husband and I are on the right track. When I couldn’t show up for a couple’s meeting but my husband could, she said, “That’s okay. I know you all operate as a team.”

Yes! . . . Isn’t that what people need to see? Teamwork. Togetherness. Closeness. Oneness.

In real-life and on reality television, there will be people who, for whatever reason, criticize the bond you and your spouse have. Don’t sweat it. The key is to see it for what it really is: a compliment.

BMWK family, let’s have some fun. What other words can be used to describe strong, happy marriages?

About the author

Dr. Michelle Johnson wrote 75 articles on this blog.

Dr. Michelle Johnson is the founder of Alabaster Woman Ministries, an online international women's ministry. She is a wife, mother, writer, speaker, teacher. Through her daily blog, online radio show, and video Bible studies, Dr. Michelle encourages women and married couples to make God the center of their lives.


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15 WordPress comments on “A Marriage Like Velcro: Compliment or Criticism

  1. Precious

    I agree with you-what works for some might not work for others. If you and your husband are ok with however you run your relationship, then it is no one’s business. I, for one, am all for sister time but also for my Husband time. It is important to be all for him and your children. But you cannot do this if you are out having girls night all the time. It takes strong balances to make this work.

  2. Aja

    I think all the Braxtons criticize each others’ marriages and Tamar is usually the main one doing it. I think the closeness of their relationships makes them feel like they can overstep the marriage boundaries, which is no good for any of them. One thing I will say in all of their situations, but particularly this season, is that I get the sense that the the sisters know a lot more about the ins and outs of the behind-the-scenes of the relationship, but that reality isn’t shared on TV, so that their feelings and conversation that gets displayed on TV might have to do with things that the audience isn’t seeing, so I can’t completely doubt that they may have a valid concern. In any case, they should learn to express their concerns in a more productive way.

  3. Ronnie Tyler

    Great article Dr. Michelle…you have a great way of stating what we all are thinking! I also felt some kind of way every time they said velcro. (But I also realize that Tamar was hating on their relationships too.) Bottom line, sisters need to be supportive of each other.

    1. DrMichelle

      That’s so true. They have all been each other’s business a little too much for me. I wondered if that’s the norm for sisters or what. Tamar and Vince seem to be the most stable. I wish them well, as well as all the sisters. Just not a good look at all.

  4. bookie

    Its understandable that Tamar and Vince are together all the time, because they work together. Also Vince’s illness may have played a big part. Sometimes a major tragedy like his illness can bring people closer or tear them apart. Yes Tamar has been critical of the other marriages, however they chose to be open about what was going on with them so I think Tamar felt that she could share her views. Though I know that the others are saying they are not Jealous, it appears to be some jealousy going on somewhere in the midst of this family. I agree with Aja that there is probably a lot going on behind the scenes that we don’t see, but still I sense jealousy. I Love this family bond and I hope reality TV does not do permanent damage to their relationship. Material things should never separate a family.

  5. MrsQuarles

    Great post Dr. Michelle! Let me first say, all of the prevalent envy amongst the Braxton Sisters is ridiculous. Yes, Tamar has spoken against the other marriages but I only feel she spoke it in truth! Lets just be honest…their marriages appear to be on the brinks, dysfunctional, all the above & clearly Tamar has called them on it. Vince on the other hand appears to be the ONLY “Husband” who takes on the role that God created for the husband & the man of the house. I’m not saying that Tamar criticizing their marriages is right but seriously…marriage should be taken more seriously than just to say “I’sa Married Now”!

    Honestly, I think they are jealous of Tamar’s marriage along with her burst of success within her career. Toni is probably the LEAST jealous…she may feel a little salty becuz she’s always been the one in the lime light but I think she’s actually happy for Tamar. The other girl…need to focus on growing their OWN wings & blossoming from within & stop waiting on the Tracy train to come scoop them up.

    Everyone seems to have forgotten the first episode when Tamar & the girl were basically begging Toni to work with them. Well, Tamar was the one who always took it so serious becuz she was the only one chasing after her own ambition, success, dreams & goals. And now that Tamar, grasped the strength to pick up the pieces & run alone to I’d her way…they are constantly finding blame in her. Yes, she has somethings that she can work on but the way they treat her is not fair. Reminds me so much of my family. *shrugs*

  6. Monique

    I actually didn’t like that comment either. It sounded like jealousy in my opinion. As the years roll on, it’s a wonderful thing if you and your husband are still best friends–not many people can say that. Velcro is a material used for a strong connection so I hope that nickname sticks.

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What Do You Think of Jada’s Response to Open Marriage Rumors?

BY: - 5 Apr '13 | Black Celebrity Marriages

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In a recent interview with HuffPost , Jada Pinkett Smith addressed the constant rumor that she and Will have an open relationship. In much prettier language she said “yes” after taking a 15-mile trip to get there.

The fact that as humans we are going to make our own decisions is a given. I agree with Jada to the extent that trying to control your spouse’s every action is a recipe for failure. You need to have a certain level of trust that the one you chose is good enough to make decisions on his or her own without you standing over a shoulder and monitoring every move.

On the other hand, “you can do what you want” is the part that seems a little bit different to me. As a woman, I hold myself accountable to God and accountable to myself, and my husband does the same. But I also feel that I need to hold myself accountable to my husband and vice versa. Just because I can wake up and feel completely okay with a decision doesn’t mean my husband does. Operating from the standpoint of “I’m okay with this, so its okay” doesn’t quite have a place in a marriage to me.

For me, when we chose to stand at the altar and become one, the thinking that the only person I needed to answer to was me went out the window. As opposed to “married” this sounds like “single but together” in a way that I don’t quite understand, and I know this thinking isn’t exclusive to the rich and famous. I’ve heard on more than one occasion women who live with the adage that as long as you don’t bring back a disease or a baby, I’m fine with whatever you do.

At the end of the day, though, the only people who know or need to be okay with what goes on behind closed doors in the Smith’s household is the Smiths. But she chose to speak on it, so I’m adding my two cents.

What do you think of Jada’s statement? Do you think it confirmed their open marriage? Do you agree with her thought “you can do what you want to do as long as you’re okay with it?”

Check out the interview here:

Follow Aja Jackson at Making Love in the Microwave  on Facebook  and Twitter.

About the author

Aja Dorsey Jackson wrote 207 articles on this blog.

Aja Dorsey Jackson is a freelance writer and marriage educator in Baltimore, Maryland and author of the blog and book, Making Love in the Microwave.


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