What do you get when you mix three long-term, in-love couples with a batch of eligible suitors looking to snag a compatible mate? A whole hour-long, front-row seat to some spicy commentary and telling reveals. And if that's something that sounds right up your alley, then look no further than the new Will Packer series Put A Ring On It. This show centers around these couples as they embark on the ultimate journey to discover if they're truly meant to be together--by dating other people.
So if you ever wondered whether or not the grass was truly greener on the other side in your relationship, allow this show to be the social experiment you need to answer all your questions. Friday night's series premiere was a DOOZY to say the least, so let's get all the way into it. Starting with…
The 'Put A Ring On It' Couples
Ashley and Hollywood, 'Put A Ring On It'
Courtesy of OWN
Let's start with these two lovebirds, Ashley and Hollywood. They're arguably my favorite couple but I may be biased because I'm in love with any and all Southern accents (they're both from New Orleans). They've been together for nine years and according to Hollywood, should have already been married by now. But as it's revealed in the initial sit down with resident relationship coach Dr. Nicole LaBeach, Ashley isn't quite sure if she's ready to head down that road just yet.
"I'm not afraid of marriage at all, I'm afraid of marriage with the wrong person. I'm scared to allow myself to be completely vulnerable with him, I'm scared to allow myself to get to that next level."
Now what you have left to be scared of after a nine-year-long relationship is beyond me, but as the conversation continues--we learn a very interesting fact. Hollywood had previously proposed to Ashley some years back but his cold feet and fear caused him to go back and forth on their engagement. Thus giving Ashley more than enough ammo to be doubtful of his ability to fully commit now. Hmph. Y'know, Maya Angelou always said, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."
Che' & Michael, 'Put A Ring On It'
Courtesy of OWN
OK, so this beautiful brown couple threw me for a loop and I'll tell you why. They've known each other for about six years, but have only been dating for two. Che' says they're soulmates and Michael truly believes that she is his best friend. So where's the disconnect, sis? Well, I'm glad you ask. At the heart of it, the two of them don't really agree on what a marriage truly is or is about. She feels that it's a natural evolution for two people in love, while he feels it's "two people who sign a contract to be together by force." And he may have a good reason for feeling that way.
You see, somewhere in between Che' and his relationship, Che' came to the conclusion that she actually still had feelings for her ex and broke things off. And so Michael did what any other single person would after being dumped-- dated other people. But not only did he date another woman, he moved to DC with said woman AND asked for her hand in marriage. And as luck (or karma if you wanna argue) would have it, the engagement only exacerbated issues between the two. So after coming to his senses, he moved back to ATL and back into Che's life emotionally scarred from a failed engagement. Thus making Michael hesitant to bring matrimonial havoc into his happy home.
"I don't think marriage is necessary because we wake up and choose to be with each other right now. We're in such a good place, I don't wanna ruin things."
I guess, chile.
Mi-Mi & Eyuless, 'Put A Ring On It'
Courtesy of OWN
This brings us to our final lovey dovey couple and we honestly meet them at a crossroads. These two met on a video shoot and let Eyuless tell it--it was love at first sight. (Even though Mimi admits to making a move on him first on their first date during their confessional.) They seem to mesh very well and balance each other out, according to Mi-Mi. But in the sit down with Dr. Nicole, we learned that everything isn't exactly what it seems to be on the surface. See the thing is, Eyuless WANTS to marry Mi-Mi, but previous relationship discretions, aka cheating, are keeping doubts at the front of Mi-Mi's mind.
It's not that she doesn't love him--she absolutely does. She just doesn't know if she wants to stay in this relationship or move forward. Plus, there are other hindrances that play a major role too like poor communication, insecurity, and lack of accountability. At the heart of it all, Mi-Mi just wants to be sure that it's going to last because she DOES NOT want a divorce, as we learn in her confessional. This marriage has to be the one. And if Eyuless isn't prepared to address and change some things, she's not so sure if this is a path she needs to continue down. This can arguably be true for all the couples in the group.
But Dr. Nicole has just what they need to help make sense of everything, which brings me to…
Now listen, I'm not sure if these couples were fully aware that this was part of the deal but when Dr. Nicole lets it be known that the couples would be dating other people as a means to ascertain their true feelings towards one another-- it was met with mixed emotions. And while most of the men expressed their slight disdain and confusion, back at home the real feelings began to show. Michael was a bit nonchalant towards Che', which caused her to feel as if Michael has become a bit too comfortable in their relationship. Meanwhile, Hollywood's initial playfully cautionary reaction turns a bit more serious and testy when Ashley's date arrives at their apartment. This leads Ashley to believe that Hollywood is somewhat intimidated, not by her new date per se, but what it represents: a potentially better future WITHOUT him.
And at Eyuless' crib, he and Mi-Mi get in a heated conversation resulting in him storming off at the thought of Mi-Mi having to experience another man for her to realize he's the only one that can "do for her the way he can." At any rate, Ashley and Che' go on their respective dates with men who bring a new energy into both of their lives. But Mi-Mi, having gotten an unexpected phone call concerning her father's illness, doesn't go and turns to Eyuless for comfort and assurance. This was honestly heartbreaking and touching to see them go through but I guess things can't always be "blue skies and rainbows." (It'll hit you on the ride home later.)
When all three couples return for another sit down with Dr. Nicole, both Ashley and Che' admit to having a good time and being "refreshed" after coming in contact with two good men who have exceptional qualities that directly contrast that of their own lovers. But it's not until Mimi admits what went down in her household that they all learn a valuable lesson: marriage in and of itself won't change a damn thing.
"Marriage doesn't have any power, you do. You define it, you make the rules, you make the boundaries."
In essence, all a marriage license will do is amplify whatever work, happiness, and issues a couple is already experiencing. And if these couples don't get it together right now, then a ring and walk down the aisle won't solve anything or assuage their feelings. Truer words have never been said and that's word to Dr. Nicole. Next week, it's the men's turn to go on their dates and I'm already knowing this is about to be some mess. (That dap Hollywood and Michael gave each other, uh-uh.) I honestly hope these couples can find their way to a happy resolve, whatever that may be but regardless--I can already tell this season is about to get reaaaaaaaal interesting.
Put A Ring On It airs every Friday night at 10pm ET only on the OWN Network. Keep up with the conversation online by following @owntv.
Featured image courtesy of OWN
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports