After building up to what led to them demolishing how their relationship worked, Will and Jada now go into what allows it to function, and flourish, presently.
As established in part 1, Will has put all of his efforts into making this life he planned at 5 years old coming true. So for approximately 45 years, of which Jada has been part of almost half, he has essentially used her to make this fantasy become reality. Which, for her, became too much when he decided to bring the public persona he put out into the world into the home.
One could fathom when Will decided to make a spectacle of Jada’s birthday, which included Mary J. Blige performing, and Will having personal tapes of Jada’s grandmother talking, tapes she never heard, part of the event, those were some of the final straws. Then, him deciding, outright, to take over her birthday was it. Leading to, from about 37 to around 40, a time of upheaval.
But, for Will, it seemed it wasn’t until he realized how his vision was starting to effect Willow did he truly wake up. Not in the form of learning she was harming herself, but when he tried to force her to commit to whatever promise or contract was made with Jay-Z. Her protesting by shaving her head was probably the biggest wakeup call.
For, lest we forget, since Jada met Will, she has kind of been on auto-pilot. She has immersed herself in his world and allowed him to set the rules, expectations and while she has input, she seemed more willing to bend than he did – from the outside looking in. Willow, on the other hand, was a child. So, Willow seemingly did what Jada perhaps didn’t do as much – express her displeasure and really put her foot down by shaving her head.
Thus forcing Will to take notice of something because, maybe the mental and emotional change of Jada, even with the tears, didn’t really hit hard. Maybe he just saw that as a rough patch. Willow making it clear it isn’t just Will’s relationship with Jada, but his whole family, might have ultimately been the thing which made him realize that picture, now over 40 years old, could not act as a blueprint anymore.
I truly do love the story of Will and Jada’s marriage and I hope, since they’ve come to the point of talking about it, maybe they’ll take another whack at making a show about it. A scripted show that is, following their program All of Us
which was on UPN. For whether a show or movie, I think one of the main reasons people never got them as a couple is because we don’t see what they have. Romance is made to be winner take all and thus is treated as something which should be consuming. A feeling that, despite how overwhelming it is, should fill you up so much that it gets you through the worse of times.
If not, as Will notes, something which should be seen as transactional. I give you love so you should reciprocate it or else I’m going to divest and look elsewhere. Which isn’t to say I myself am romanticizing what they’ve been through to reach this point. More so, as Adrienne notes, we all come up with this fantasy when we are kids based off what we do and don’t see. Fantasies which we chase our whole lives from either being rich, having a family, being this big time so and so, or whatever we think would mean being happy.
Yet, one thing Jada and Will had to learn is that you can only expect so much of another person who is part of your life. They can only work so hard to help you craft your dreams before you’re eventually expecting them to forget their own. Give up who they are to fit this mold, this unrealistic expectation that you made before you really knew anything about anything. Leading to how they rebuilt their relationship.
The Rebuild: Will, Jada, Willow
Neither one ever saw divorce as an option. After his first marriage’s dissolution, Will was fearful that Jada could divorce him, but at that point, she was too invested. Beyond having kids, and a 20+ year relationship, their families had combined in such a way that divorce was unnecessary. Was there a fundamental issue in their relationship? Yes.
However, let us not forget that the issue was Will too focused on outward appearances, and buying Jada’s love, in a way, combined with Jada letting Will get away with a lot since, by most measures, he was a good man. Yet, him being a good man created a sort of trap. For how can she complain when even her mother thinks this man is the best thing to happen to her?
So, as they did before they were married, they decided to have a meeting of the minds. It’s just, this time, Jada made sure to come to the table without a lot of her baggage. Because of issues with her father, among other things, one could argue Will was able to get almost everything he wanted when they had one of their first negotiations. After all, his first marriage prepped him for knowing what he needed. Jada, on the other hand, was coming into their relationship with just what she thought she needed, likely based on other people’s words or imagery she consumed.
Now she understood, in their life partnership, she needed room to re-find herself and be herself. Hence why we sometimes see them doing completely separate things in the world. Sometimes even Will going from place to place while Jada is at home – chilling. For, as Willow puts it, Will’s journey is exterior. He likes to consume what is out there, like a bird, and then bring it home. Jada, on the other hand, is about her internal journey. She digs through the treasures within her to bring out to share.
New Normal: Jada, Will
Which ultimately led to their new normal. In this, there is a recognition of them being two different people and, because of that, there will be different expectations than which formerly existed. No longer are they bound by the perception of marriage because, in my mind, the marriage is more so a legal document more than what represents their bond. What their bond is made of is love, respect, and healthy dependency. Meaning, they can rely on one another but aren’t in desperate need of the other to make them happy, to validate them, or be in control of their life.
Leaving us ultimately with certain facts. The first being, their lifestyle, which doesn’t include swinging, was made so both people could be independently happy and share said happiness with the other. Second, while both spiritual, and well read, Scientology is not what is a guiding force in their life. Both believe in a higher power and also that they are blessed.
Most of all, what both recognize is that the person they found is irreplaceable beyond the wealth they built, the family they made and combined, but because there may likely be no one else out there like them. For whether ordained by a higher power or pure luck, they both found someone special who, if either left, they’ll likely be comparing the next one, and one after that, until the end of their time.
Though part of the whole point of this conversation, beyond dispelling rumors, is keep your expectations in check when dealing with human beings, it is hard to not put these two on a pedestal. Hence the aforementioned idea of seeing a love story like theirs in a scripted format. Because, this hour, combining parts 1 and 2, feels transformative in a way. It presents a thought process behind marriage you don’t often get because most are so rooted in tradition that things not working out are treated as a sign that it is time to leave. Find happiness with someone who presents an easier time.
Yet, because of these two, you’re reminded that just like the early years of life are easy, they get hard once the veil is lifted, and then there is a time you don’t know what the f*** you’re doing. But, thinking long game, it’s all about growth. Your growth as a person, your understanding of what truly works for you and not the dysfunction you saw which led you to believe, in theory, that or this is what you want.
Much less, taking note that you can’t use someone to do a damn thing for you really. Can they help? Yes. However, you can’t rely on them to validate you, make you happy, or any of that. Being a couple, or married, doesn’t mean you stop being an individual. It just means you are committed to sharing your individual journey with someone who has proven themselves to be beyond a best friend but what can really only be described as a life partner.