When Caryn Ward Ross and Craig Ross, Jr. got married in 2011 they had no idea that seven years later, they'd develop and deliver a series to challenge the traditional boundaries and limitations of marriage.
But that's exactly what Urban Movie Channel's new scripted drama Craig Ross Jr.’s Monogamy does. The series follows four married couples who agree to participate in an unconventional form of relationship therapy with the hopes of reviving their failing relationships. The cast includes Girlfriends alum Jill Marie Jones, Brian J. White (Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds), Family Matters star Darius McCrary, Vanessa Simmons and more.
Ross Jr. talked to ESSENCE about the how the show was born and why they chose to make the premise of the show about couples taking a more non-conventional approach to the idea of fighting for their marriage.
"Caryn and I sorta came up with [the show] together," he said. "We have constant conversations about our own relationship really, and we like to really just be honest about where we are and what's happening. So we talk about what we need from each other and I think that, at some point, our conversations were about what our perfect partner looked like and how we could, you know, what we expected in the relationship, and so that's kind of how, that was sort of the genesis of this project was it kind of emanated out of those conversations that my wife and I were having about our relationship."
Craig Ross Jr.’s Monogamy follows four couples from around the country who travel for a counseling treatment called "Swap Therapy" in a desperate attempt to repair their broken marriages. Throughout the experience, participants began to heal and walk away with a better understanding of how to manage short-term desires while maintaining long-term commitments.
Ward Ross, who also stars in the series, shared that along with the ups and downs of marriage, adding children to the mix changes everything--and thus adds another layer to how couples resolve problems within their relationship.
"We got married, we had kids and the kids changed the dynamic of the relationship completely, then the dynamics change. It becomes difficult. People don't talk about that. Two becomes three, and although there's beauty and blessings abound in a new baby, there are challenges in terms of expectations being met and saying, "well, I need this now; maybe in the past, I didn't need it, but this is what I need." And that goes across the board. So we really wanted to try and take this idea of monogamy and shake it up a bit because I think Western culture as a whole, has this fantasy that one person can meet every expectation in love all the time, and although we hold that ideal, infidelity and cheating are one of the biggest reasons for divorce and breakups so somewhere there's a disconnect, and we wanted to explore that."
Craig Ross Jr.’s Monogamy premieres on the Urban Movie Channel (UMC) on Friday, May 4th.