Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin’s marriage is understandably enviable. They’re both attractive and successful. They seem to be extraordinarily happy. They have what so many people — both in Hollywood and elsewhere — spend most of their lives searching for. With their new book, The Wait, the couple talks about how they were able to forge that relationship through trust, discipline and focusing on each other. They famously declared that they were celibate prior to their 2012 marriage, and making it public drew praise and criticism in equal measure. For Good in particular, skeptics couldn’t seem to accept that an extremely desirable woman with an undeniably sexy image could ever be truly celibate. But she is clear: She made the decision because it was the best decision for her. And it became a cornerstone of she and her soon-to-be-husband’s lives. She wanted to share that experience in a book because she thinks there are a lot of women who can relate to what she’s been through.
“I think the experience [waiting to have sex] was really life-changing for both of us,” she explains. “And for me personally, that struggle is a crazy one. All of the damage and baggage we accumulate and to be able to come on this side of it and experience it in a totally different way was life-changing for me. When people were interested in the story and what we did and all that, it was exciting to be able to share with them. I want that for other women. For me, the whole thing was that healing process, as well. It not only changed our love life, but every other area of our life. My career has completely changed; everything — just from that discipline.”
After my last relationship, I was in a place where I was just like, ‘Why do I keep running into walls?’ I got tired of it and decided that I was going to do it all your [God’s] way. Not half your way. I’m going to do all of it and it really changed everything. -Meagan Good
“It was very organic,” Franklin explains. “We got married in 2012, started dating about a year before that. As we started talking about our story individually during press for our various projects, all of a sudden people started asking, ‘Hey, you guys waited? What?’ It was a topic of conversation. As we were talking about it and sharing our testimony, there were a lot of people who really got blessed by it, and they just really were like, ‘How did it work?’ or ‘How did it help you?’ and because of that we thought writing a book would be a good way to help. It’s personal. We wanted to share something that was personal and share what worked for us in a nonjudgmental, non-preachy way. But we wanted to put something together that was positive about love, relationships and dating, to really help this generation hopefully have a manual for another way to do it that will lead to success.”
Franklin is a minister and Hollywood executive, and he had committed himself to celibacy for a while prior to he and Good’s relationship.
“My choice was because I was preaching and out there ministering, in addition to making films,” he explains. “I was tired of living a lie. Doing one thing [outside] of the pulpit and doing another thing in the pulpit. I really wanted to align my spiritual life with my personal life. Making the decision was super empowering for me, because one of the benefits I realized was that it gave me a whole lot more discipline, specifically in this area, which helped me in every other area.”
“I always felt that I should be celibate and like I should wait for marriage,” Good adds. “Most of us don’t. You turn 19, you find your first love and there you have it. In relationships before, I’d tried to be celibate and it didn’t work out because I felt like if I don’t sleep with him then he’ll cheat on me or leave me for someone else — all of these things we think of when we even consider being celibate in relationships. And being in relationships, you date someone, you’re with them for X amount of time and because you’re so wrapped up in them physically you’re thinking isn’t as clear. You put up with certain things that maybe you wouldn’t had you not been physical with that person. You don’t realize things about that person because you make whatever excuses in your head until you’re two, three years down the line — sometimes even when you’re married. So for me, it was really about wanting to make a different decision to get a different result and realizing that I was only giving God the majority of my life, but I was picking and choosing what areas I was going to allow him to work. After my last relationship, I was in a place where I was just like, ‘Why do I keep running into walls?’ I got tired of it and decided that I was going to do it all your [God’s] way. Not half your way. I’m going to do all of it and it really changed everything.”
I was tired of living a lie. Doing one thing [outside] of the pulpit and doing another thing in the pulpit. I really wanted to align my spiritual life with my personal life. -DeVon Franklin
Franklin admits that he went through his “player” years, but came to realize that celibacy helped make his entire life better — not just his love life. If Good thinks that celibacy can help women find some clarity in relationships, Franklin believes it can help men be better to their women and to themselves.
“I believe that as men, we overlook the issue of dating,” he says. “There were times when I was dating more than one woman, and thinking selfishly about what I want: my needs and my desires. And not ever, in that moment, thinking about her and what she’s going through and how my selfish actions are impacting her. All of this time and energy I was putting into all of these women at once, it was taking time and energy into all of these different women at once. It was taking time away from who I wanted to be and taking time and energy away from where I wanted to go. Don’t be afraid to commit! Because it takes more power to commit. It takes more discipline to commit. When you focus on one woman, you begin to see your whole life align. You want to move further in your career, you want to make more money, you want to have more peace — it starts with clearing up your dating life. Dating two and three and four? I promise you that’s not going to lead you to success. Here’s the truth: you might say, ‘All right — I hear what you’re saying but that’s not where I am right now.’ I would ask you to be honest with everyone you’re dating right now. Let them know where you are and give them the option to participate. Don’t be a ‘player’ under the guise of being honest.
“Real love is going to unlock every single thing in your life and I’m praying this is the year for real love for you as a man.”
These two found each other without really looking. Franklin wasn’t keen on dating actresses and Good wasn’t all that enamored with the studio exec after their initial meeting. But they both understand now that in order to find love, you have to truly be open to allowing it to find you.
“You have no idea how God is going to bring the person to you,” Franklin believes. “So be open to every avenue. Matchmaking sites — why not? I know people who are happily married right now [who used matchmaking sites]. There’s a stigma sometimes — especially in the Black community.”
“You know where you want to go; you know what you want — why not connect with like-minded people who are there for the same reason?” adds Good.
“Don’t put how love has to come to you in a box,” says Franklin. “What if love comes to you but doesn’t look like what you were looking for but is exactly what you need?”
I think the experience [waiting to have sex] was really life-changing for both of us. -Meagan Good
“We met in a general meeting in his office, almost seven years before [we worked together on] Jumping the Broom,” Good recalls. “I thought he was a guy who gives you a job — he was cute — but that was it. Over the years, we’d see each other at different industry functions, church functions, and then it wasn’t until Jumping the Broom. But even on that movie, it was nine months later before he asked me out!”
Allowing themselves to actually find each other, and believing that discipline and compassion for each other could strengthen their bond, those are the tenets on which this Franklin marriage was built. The movie star and her studio husband may be the envy of many, but they could have missed it all by being closed-minded and careless. And that’s something they hope to advise others against.
“My No. 1 rule was I won’t date an actress,” Franklin remembers with a grin. “I said, ‘Never date an actress — they’re crazy!’ But when God brought her to me, I had a choice: ‘Do I reject her because the love I need is in a different package — because the wrapping is different?’ I was like, ‘God, I told you I’m not dating an actress!’
“And he was like, ‘OK — but you’re going to miss out on the love of your life.’ ”