The 2013 romantic drama ‘Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor’ explores the facets of a marriage that has become boring and monotonous for a wife while her husband has no idea. With the star cast comprising Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Lance Gross, Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Williams, Robbie Jones, and Brandy Norwood, the movie is directed by Tyler Perry, who is known for dabbling into themes of infidelity and marriage issues in his previous works as well. The feature film is adapted from a stage play also penned by Perry. With so many themes and subplots packed into one movie, you must be wondering what happened to the protagonists at the end of ‘Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor’. Let’s straighten out the facts for you. SPOILERS AHEAD!
Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor Plot Synopsis
The film opens in a marriage counselor’s office as a couple – Bradley and Lisa, discuss their issues with the counselor. As the counselor deduces that Lisa has met someone else who can offer more than her husband ever gave her, she decides to tell her a story. She narrates the tale of her sister Judith, who fell in love with Brice when she was very young.
Their love story was as innocent and pure as one can be. Judith’s mother disapproved at first, but she could not even deny what was meant to be. Soon after, at the tender age of 19, the couple gets married with their friends and family present. They move away shortly after to start a life together. Six years into their marriage, Brice works at a pharmacy like he always wanted. Judith is working at a matchmaking service as an in-house therapist to get exposure and some experience before she accomplishes her dream of having her own practice.
Soon after, a dashing young entrepreneur Harley Madison comes into the picture as he is looking to invest in Judith’s boss Janice’s business. Intrigued by Judith and her work, Harley starts spending more and more time with her. Harley makes no effort to conceal his attraction toward Judith and constantly flirts with her. Despite knowing she is married, he keeps making flirtatious advances and asking her how happy she is in her marriage.
Parallelly, we see Melinda bag a job at Brice’s pharmacy. She seems shifty and on edge at first. When she hears a man’s voice in the pharmacy, she gets alerted and resolves that she has to quit. We later get to know that she has moved here from someplace else. She is running from her ex-boyfriend, who was abusive, controlling, and a nightmare. She even changed her name to be safe in the town. The pharmacy owner and Brice make her feel safe and promise to protect her.
Boredom and monotony in their marriage contribute to the growing distance between the once inseparable childhood soulmates. Judith’s relationship with Harley takes a turn for the worse when they board his private jet to go for a meeting. She resists for a moment but gives in to the temptation of power, money, and a better life. Judith regrets what she did but soon finds herself drawn to Harley and is surprised. This leads to her making one bad decision after another, ultimately ruining her life, her marriage, and everyone involved.
Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor Ending Explained: Do Judith And Brice Get A Divorce?
Brice forgets Judith’s birthday twice a row, which upsets her. She perceives it as inattentiveness and a lack of effort from Brice’s end. Let alone buy a gift, Brice even forgets to wish her. When she receives a bouquet of flowers at her workplace, she thinks it’s from her husband, but it turns out to be from Harley instead.
One night as they walk home from dinner, a few guys catcall Judith, and when she retaliates, Brice forces her into the car and walks away. That night, Judith expresses that she does not feel safe, which becomes one of the major reasons Judith strays away from her relationship. Moreover, their sex life also runs its course. After Harley turns her on with more wild and animal-like sex talk, she runs home to experience that with Brice. He lets her down gently and says that they will do it the right way, which translates to doing it the same old boring way for Judith. She discovers that she wants passion and more adventure in her life, which Brice cannot offer. Harley shows her everything she has been missing and tempts her to cheat on her husband.
Not just in love or sex, Harley presents a chance to succeed in life and have everything Judith ever wanted. He lures her with the promise of helping her open her own practice, which Brice never encourages her for. He is a practical man who believes things take time. Brice always asks Judith to gain some experience first and then dive into such a big commitment.
An array of complicated situations and emotions lead to the ultimate demise of Judith and Brice’s relationship. Judith gives in to the temptation of everything Harley represents. She goes in head-first into the nightmare and begins her own downfall. She gets involved in drugs and alcohol, which she never did earlier. Harley gets her to indulge in all the demons Judith never knew of. He makes her discover a part of her that she didn’t know existed.
Brice tries to get her back and even promises to make things right. But Judith says she is happy where she is and asks him to leave. Under the influence of drugs and alcohol, Harley slaps and beats Judith unconscious. Judith realizes her errors, but it gets too late by then. She contracts HIV, and as we see in the end, she lives life alone with only her medicines keeping her company. Brice moves on with someone else and even has a child.
Judith and Brice’s marriage comments on how people get lured by something more tempting and exciting than what they have. It is the biggest reflection of people always perceiving greener pastures on the other side of the fence. Things would have turned out differently if Judith had talked to Brice and communicated her needs. It takes immense effort and hard work to make a relationship successful.
Does Judith Get HIV?
Karma works in a twisted way. We can either see it as punishment for her wrongdoings that almost seem poetic given Judith and Brice’s devout Christian beliefs. The woman who does not believe in sex before marriage indulges in an extramarital affair that destroys her life and her marriage. She answers the door when temptation knocks and lets it into her life with almost no resistance.
Melinda confides in Brice as he asks her about finding love. She also confesses that she has HIV, which she contracted from her ex, who used to sleep around a lot. He used to cheat and abuse Melinda repeatedly. As Brice learns that Melinda’s abusive ex-boyfriend is Harley, he runs over to save Judith and bring her back. He finds her in a bathtub, inebriated with a bruised face. Consequently, despite promising to make things work, Judith and Brice part ways in the end.
Harley personifies the desires that Judith always tucked away – a successful counseling practice, a wealthy lifestyle, and a passionate love life. Harley offers her everything, and Judith accepts. But she does not know that, with all the wonderful things, Harley is emotionally unstable and has HIV. A deadly disease, as seen in 2013, was not something to be reckoned with. People saw HIV-positive people with judgment in their eyes. Judith is left alone to repent for her actions as she collects her medicine from Brice at the pharmacy and witnesses a glimpse of the life she could have had. We believe this was karmic retribution for all Judith did to hurt her mother and Brice.
Is The Marriage Counselor Judith?
The counselor in the movie’s opening scene sets up a pretext to narrate the story of her sister. She describes all the events in precise detail. The events, the emotions, and the complications feel very real in her narration. The motive behind her storytelling is to make Lisa recognize what’s right in front of her. She expresses the consequences of temptation and how it can ruin multiple lives at once.
Judith could not resist and hence faced the outcome of her actions. But the counselor has the power to make Lisa see where her chosen path will lead as Lisa finds an exciting connection with another man. After the story, Lisa questions what happened to Judith and if she is okay. The counselor claims that the story is still being written. In the next scene, we see the counselor visit a pharmacy. There, she meets Brice and collects her medicine for HIV treatment. And as Brice greets her, we get to know that she is, in fact, Judith.