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While scarfing down fruit snacks earlier and watching Divorce Court on my couch today, I saw one of the most interesting but ratchet of couples make their way into the courtroom. The two individuals weren’t married, but had been together for years and thought it was time to get married. Therefore, they sought out Divorce Court for a “Before the Vows” counseling session.

The fiancée in the picture, though seemingly sweet at first glance, had a fiery temper and allowed her relationship, as the judge said, to go in the wrong order: she had birthed two babies with a guy all before the age of 23 and before finally getting him to consider settling down with her. Her fiancé was an equal hot mess, a twin brother who would tell his fraternal sister (who stood by him as his witness in court) the many mishaps of the relationship, and who brought his sister and family into his business to fight both verbally and physically with his fiancee when he felt she did him wrong. If she treated him badly, including being physically abusive to him, he would go running to his family and let them know how little sense she had. Before his fiancée knew it, the man’s family despised her and could barely get along.

At the end of the episode, the hilarious Judge Lynn Toler broke down for the viewer the major issue with their relationship: aside from anger management problems on the woman’s side, the fiancé in the relationship was doing what many people do, which is revealing all the problems with your relationship to your family and friends, but only giving them one side of the story. This gives those people you blabbed to reason not to like the person you’re in a relationship with, and therefore, this brings added drama to said relationship. Yikes! How many times have you run to a girlfriend and said, “GIRL, you will not believe what ___ did!” and left their place knowing you and your situation left a bad taste in their mouth and a negative impression in their mind?

I found that statement by the judge to be a profoundly honest one, because I know many people who have done that exact same thing in their relationships–including myself. You open up to those who are shoulders to cry on about all the arguments you had the other night, the hurtful comments made by him, how inconsiderate he can be, but you never tell your girls or your family the positives of your relationship. Better yet, you might not even really open up about or acknowledge the things you do that can be hurtful to your union or that might have actually started said argument. We probably don’t recognize that by only giving one side, we’re giving our girlfriends and sisters and more reason to talk smack and give our boyfriends crap even when they’re doing right.

I’m sure you’ve heard about or had that friend who didn’t like their best friend’s man and used the excuse, “Because I was there when she was crying about all the bad things you do!” as their fuel. We all know that if it wasn’t for your testimonies about your “trifling” man, they wouldn’t know very much about him at all. And when a man believes you run and share business that should only be between the two of you to your friends, that can sometimes make him resentful towards your girlfriend and family, who he might deem as troublemakers. Whether you realize it or not, professing only negativity or one side of a story is planting a dangerous seed. And it’s actually kind of crazy, especially if after all that badmouthing, you keep going back…I know we all like to have someone to vent to, but this might be a good enough reason to consider just going back to your man with your problem, you know?

In the end, if you were wondering, Judge Toler decided not to grant the couple their marriage certificate (thank goodness!!!), and instead, ripped that sucker up in front of their faces. She recommended that the two not get married–whatsoever. It was clear that they needed to stop involving everyone else in their relationship, stop getting angry so easily, start focusing more on doing right and acting right for their children, and most importantly, start handling their own business. And by own business, meaning, start working on talking about their problems together rather than talking to everyone else about them. And that might be advice we can all use for the betterment of our own relationships. I’m just saying.

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