Some movies have strong life, marriage, and family themes that mirror the daily struggles several couples face. One of such movies is Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor. In the movie, Brice was a hard worker with the intention of creating a secure future for him and his wife but unknown to him, his marriage was on the verge of disintegration. Brice spent most of his time at work ensuring that inventory was up to date and attending to the needs of customers. His motivation stemmed from the fact that he wanted to buy the pharmacy from its owner at some point to better his family. Although Brice put in a lot of effort at work, unknown to him, his relationship with his wife was suffering. Judith and Brice where childhood sweethearts who have been married for six years and living in Washington, D.C., where Brice works as a pharmacist in a little family drugstore. Judith works as an in-house therapist for a high-end matchmaking firm. She was raised a Christian and had never been with another man except Brice, her husband. However, things began to take a different turn when Harley, a social media billionaire who apparently came to invest in the matchmaking firm makes a proposition to get Judith into his whims. With his billions, he promises to set up a private marriage counseling practice for Judith since she always dreamt of owning one. From the moment he slips into Judith’s office, he heaves compliments at her like; how beautiful she is, how intelligent she is, how lucky her husband is. Although Judith has been entirely happy with her marriage, she begins to question how happy she really is.
When the recommendation to watch a particular movie is made to couples, the purpose is to see if they will identify with some premise, concern, or individual character in the movie. If a correlation is made, it can create an avenue for discussion during coaching sessions or between couples. Furthermore, the movie could serve as homework for the couple, in order to obtain a new viewpoint on some life issue. Sometimes pondering on another person’s tussles can open up an avenue for us to handle our own related issues. The scene where Brice forgets Judith’s birthday for the second year in a row will be relatable to a couple who feels neglected. However, Brice makes an attempt at connection to his wife by apologizing, promising to be more attentive, and wielding a guitar as he sings a silly song to woo his wife all in attempt to right the wrong he inflicted on his wife. Although his attempt at connection worked that night, Judith’s heart was beginning to yearn for the man who sent her some rose flowers on her birthday. This scene will remind husbands and wives to always treasure each other. It will also show couples how easy it is for the heart to drift towards something else.
Melinda, became Brice’s go to person because she was always available to listen and empathic to his concerns. It was her genuiness and past hurtful experience that trapped Brice’s hurting heart, thus encouraging him to control his emotions. This is evident in the scene where Melinda comforts Brice when he feels as though he has lost Judith for good and Brice quickly looks for different type of comfort from her, she obviously pushes him away. She lets him know that they were not attracted to each other rather he was being driven by his hurting emotions. Melinda encouraged Brice to take control of his emotions. Brice quickly apologized and took heed of her advice. The new situation Brice found himself created a new kind of relationship between them. It was through Melinda’s coaching and conversations that led Brice to fight to save his wife’s life on two separate occasions.
Angry tirades create problems in relationships. In the scene where Sarah, Judith’s mother confronted Judith over her affair with Harley which resulted in a slap by Sarah shows that they felt the problem was the other person’s fault. Judith wanted to portray her mother as a hypocrite while Sarah tried to portray Judith as becoming wayward and in need of repentance. Judith and Sarah failed to look at their personal behaviors; however they focused on the shortcomings of each other.
As God’s children we are called to pray for each other. The scene where Judith eventually leaves Brice but comes back to their apartment to pick up her laptop, and finds her mother and other women praying fervently for her also stood out to me. The fact that Sarah chose to pray for her child even though they left on a bad note during her last visit says a lot about her. Judith’s mother showed empathy in this instance because she understood her daughter’s plight.
I really connected with this movie on a personal level. I have learned not to take my spouse for granted. I have also learned to treasure, value, and remain content with what we have while nurturing and enriching our union. This movie shows that one can indeed have good intentions but the approach becomes problematic. A subtle problem is worse than an obvious ticking time bomb. Similar to Kirk Cameron’s Fireproof movie, Brice was a hard worker with the intention of creating a secure future for him and his wife, however while he worked hard, his home was equally filled with gas fumes that ended up burning the relationship down. Harley infected Judith with the HIV virus and Brice ended up marrying someone else with whom he had children with. It is always easy to point accusing fingers in the face of conflict. However, for any marriage to stand the test of time, hard work is required. Marriage vows must be taken seriously, couples must be in constant prayer, couples must understand their individual weaknesses and avoid occasions that may compromise them, and couples must learn to rebuke the devil as soon as he raises his ugly head, thus “submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7, KJV). There is always room to flee when we are tempted, however, the body is often weak while the spirit is willing (Matthew 26:41, NIV).
I use this information personally to nurture my marriage. I also utilize it professionally as a homework tool. It gives couples insights on issues that pertain to them. Sometimes pondering on another person’s problems can open up an avenue for us to handle our own related issues.
Every scene in this movie has a lesson to teach. The scene where old Judith walks into the pharmacy to pick up her medications and Brice’s new wife walks in with their children on Judith’s way out teaches a lot. The scene shows that while God is loving, full of mercy and grace, our defiant choices come at a heavy price. However, I would have loved to see Brice sticking with Judith after saving her from Harley. Our human nature makes it difficult for Brice to remain married to Judith after the infidelity and HIV infection. It would have demonstrated the true meaning of sacrificial love, the kind of love that abides by the marriage vows’ call to remain as one union in good and in bad, sickness and health, richer or poorer, and until death separates. Furthermore, I strongly agree with the opening scene where the therapist (Judith) narrates this story to her client and at the end it helped the client decide to value her marriage and work towards keeping it as a single indivisible union.
This movie calls for balance in every aspect of life. It shows the disastrous effect of infidelity. Accordingly, it calls for the nurture and treasure of things that we believe are of immense value to us. It is a must watch for every couple.