February 2, 2010

Just Don't Suggest an Open Marriage

Mike and I are getting unsolicited marriage advice all over the place in these final months leading up to the wedding. My boss told me to never get married in the first place (recently divorced), our caterer says to always communicate (divorced twice) and a mutual friend said never go to bed angry (still married as of the time of this writing). I find it sweet and kind of funny that everyone shares their nuggets of wisdom. It comes from a good place. Even my boss' lovely tidbit.

The advice is welcomed. I watched my parents' marriage dissolve over years of terrible, if any, communication. Any arguments that I caught wind of were always accusatory, one sided and never reached a conclusion let alone an understanding. It was always just so terrible. Perhaps that's why I used to avoid conflicts like I avoid wearing shorts- it never ends prettily. But after being in a long term relationship I realized that avoidance doesn't work. So I now address what's bothering me when it's bothering me. I don't do it with with reckless abandon. It's not like I start screaming about the empty jar of peanut butter on the counter and expect that to never happen again. Instead I patiently ask for its removal. Over and over again.

Mike and I have totally different conflict-resolving skills, he runs hotter to the touch than I do, so we have to do a lot of communicating. Sometimes we have to sleep on it. That's why I don't really believe that going to bed angry is really all that terrible. I'm sure it depends on the caliber of the fight and what's exactly going on but whenever I've slept on it the morning brings a fresh perspective and usually a calmer sparring partner.

It's not like anyone really has the answer- I'm not saying I do. I'm sure people who've been married for sixty years still have arguments and pet peeves. I welcome this advice because I have a lot of learning to do. I'll probably welcome advice even when I've been married for decades. I'm sure at that point I'll take any advice I can get. Whether or not I'll use it is another story.


Meg said...

Wowza. Well first off, I have to disclose that I found this post almost immediately after getting over a tiff with my bf that centered around our inability to effectively communicate (both of us have issues with that} Secondly, I have to say that said boyfriend is my first "real" relationship. I've had a ton of boyfriends but no one I really wanted to work on these things with.

My parents also had a similar relationship - I always say that I lack a proper relationship role model. Examining the pieces of their broken marriage, I believe that had they communicated better they may still {happily} be together.

I think that communication is a beautiful thing - it's so hard to do sometimes because {for me at least} sometimes I don't KNOW what I'm upset about. I can say that it's kind of cool to learn how to communicate properly and act in a mature, unselfish way.

Anyway, thanks so much for your post - sorry for the rambling nature of my comment. And by the way, I blogged about something similar: http://bit.ly/9CXgWw

xo meg

belleshpgrl said...

You never have to apologize for rambling! I am a queen rambler.

It is really hard to be a good communicator. It is so easy to get lazy and start becoming accusatory. The trick is to keep yourself from slipping into hurtful language.

It's great to hear you're with someone who will work with you on these things! :)

Meg said...

Heh, who was it that said for a successful relationship, keep the fights clean and the sex dirty? :}