Real talk- I am literally writing this article post-mini-argument with my boo over wedding plans. Not a knock-down, drag-out fight by any means but there were tears. (Mine.) And then I visibly shut down and turned toward my laptop and started writing, sans resolution to said mini-argument.
If I’m being honest, I shifted attention to my computer in… protest? Defiance? Passive aggressive brat moment? I’m still not sure. But alas here I am, sharing my thoughts invulnerability, hoping that someone reading this might relate. I can attest to you first hand that fighting sucks, wedding planning is hard, and conflict feels icky.
Yes, I realize this isn’t a shocking revelation.
I think one of the aspects of fighting over what honestly boils down to STUPID WEDDING SHIT that brings me down is that- especially as someone who writes and teaches about relationships and communication for a living- I should be better at this.I’ve read so many tips on negotiating conflict and communicating effectively; I’ve heard from and have spoken directly to experts in maintaining healthy, satisfying relationships. I literally consume myself most days with soaking up knowledge that is supposed to help me navigate, and advise others on how to navigate, these squicky situations.
And yet, I often still feel incompetent.
When I am feeling hella disconnected from my fiancé (how on earth can it be so hard for us to see some things eye-to-eye?), beyond sad that we’re fighting during what is supposed to be a “blissful time,” and disheartened by my inability to practice what I professionally preach, I admit that I start to spiral. I consider what my inability to have (what should be) a simple conversation about freaking appetizers without crying or defensiveness means for my ability to be a good wife. I think about how many stupid spats like this we can have before my handsome boy has had enough. I wonder if our incapability to calmly discuss shrimp cocktail reveals our incompatibility. (Y’all, I’ve got daddy issues, though.)
I’m writing this on a very public forum because I think it’s important that we don’t expect perfection. And duh, of course, that perfection doesn’t exist. Even the so-called “experts” are human people with emotions and biases and context and baggage. Icky feels are a perfectly normal, perfectly functional, perfectly natural part of not only life but relationships. EVEN HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS, and even healthy, satisfying, fulfilling marriages.
Just keep trying, my friends.
And I will too. That’s really all we can ask for. All we can expect, even! Guilting and shaming ourselves for not being perfect at relationship-ing does absolutely zero to help the situation. What matters MORE in a relationship (yup, according to research) is that you – and your partner – are trying to improve, trying to get better, trying to evolve. It’s not about how “evolved” you are, but whether or not you’re putting forth the effort to be a good spouse.
P.S. The boo and I are holding hands as I type this one-handed…