In an era of Instagram-perfect weddings and engagement photos, sometimes the hardest parts of love and marriage don’t get enough attention.
OWN TV network’s “Black Love” docu-series features intimate conversations with married couples who open up about their love journeys from the seats of their couches.
The celebrity couples include actors Tia Mowry and Cory Hardrict, gospel artist Erica Campbell and music producer husband Warryn Campbell, Hollywood duo Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin, and Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis and actor husband Julius Tennon.
The docu-series is produced by Codie and Tommy Oliver, black filmmakers who have been married since 2015. The couple tries to answer the question, “What does it take to make love work?”
In Episode 1 the featured couples share stories of how they met each other and later fell in love.
Tia Mowry talks about how she met Cory on a movie set and remembers hating his ugly shoes. DeVon Franklin admits to not wanting to date an actress and putting blinders on when first meeting now-wife Meagan Good. Viola Davis says her husband Julius called her multiple times the same night after their first date just to tell her she was beautiful and check on her after an earthquake.
(Tia and Cory talk marriage and partnership)
These are the type of stories that make “Black Love” funny and heartwarming to watch.
The overall lesson here? Not every true love relationship comes in the package we expect.
Episode 2 delves deeper into the rocky patches that come as relationships progress and couples decide whether to stay (or not stay together). The couples also open up about the experience of raising children, trying to get pregnant or not having children and the impact of these decisions on a relationship.
Episode 3 takes it a step further by highlighting raw and painful stories of infidelity, loss, celibacy and even imprisonment, along with the joy of growing in the trenches together.
In an upcoming episode clip, actress Viola Davis says marriage is deeper than the superficial fantasies people sometimes dream up:
“Marriage is the everyday. People don’t always marry the everyday. People marry the kinda now, kinda wow and then it gets to the every single day. The going to bed, the waking up. Getting the groceries, taking out the garbage. And loving each other through that…
Your marriage doesn’t start when you say I do. Your marriage starts when you look over at your partner and you want to kill them. You’re looking at them going…I cannot believe I married this human being, they are driving me crazy. And the next minute you say, ‘I love them more than anything and I’m sticking with it.”
“Black Love” is the talk we all need to hear firsthand from couples who’ve lived through things you may assume nobody can survive.
The docuseries explores themes of forgiveness, friendship and communication, which matter for all types of relationships, whether you’re dating or living single.
While the focus is mainly on black love, the docu-series also features an interracial couple who addresses how they struggled with lack of acceptance from family members and falling in love when they least expected it.
In a society where about 40-50 percent of marriages end in divorce, it’s the kind of honesty and vulnerability we could use more of when telling people what true love looks like and what makes it last.
“Black Love” debuted with record-high ratings, making it the most-watched unscripted series debut in OWN history. Now the network is ordering more episodes featuring everyone’s favorite adopted mom Tina Knowles-Lawson and husband Richard Lawson, along with basketball All-star Grant Hill and Grammy-nominated singer Tamia, Rev Run and wife Justine Simmons, gospel singer Kirk Franklin and wife Tammy, and radio-host comedian D.L. Hughley and wife LaDonna, to name a few.
The “Black Love” series finale is this Saturday, September 16th at 9pm ET.