Tag Archives: conflict

better or worse

What is the purpose of a wedding anyway?

As a girl, I envisioned the fanciness, the awe-inspiring grandeur as the movies make it out to be.  More so… when I thought of my wedding, it was really about the PEOPLE you love and the HAPPINESS that came along with it.  I saw the wedding as a ridiculously overpriced party with tons of food, smiling, laughing, dancing, a gorgeous dress, a fabulous husband, and a large crowd of supportive friends and family.  At 26 years old, engaged, and about to be married, I still want those things.  Yet, I didn’t see myself struggling so hard to get there.

Now that this “Big Day” is approaching for me, I’m left with several conflicting feelings of dread, stress, disappointment, nostalgia, and during rare moments, excitement.  It feels like a lonely place to be because I don’t seem to find my issues reflected in the glossy wedding magazines, colorful Knot website, or dream wedding shows.  When people ask me “How’s wedding planning?”, I feel like a freak for not being more giddy in my response.  Sometimes I completely fake it.  The only place of solace are through conversations with other real-life brides.  It’s like meeting another wounded soldier who survived the same battle that I’m about to face.  An instant connection is formed – one based on encouragement & empathy.

The biggest shock for me in getting engaged and beginning the wedding planning was how it drastically changed (or perhaps unveiled?) the relationships in my life.  It forced me to evaluate who were the most important people in my life.  Who to include in this whole planning process.  Who will truly be by my side for such a significant occasion in my life?  Who will truly support me in my decisions?  Who will be consistent?  For better or for worse isn’t just for your life partner; it applies just as much to your other loved ones.  It was a test of some sorts for many of my relationships – both friendships and family.

For the sake of some confidentiality, I won’t list names, but I will say with great disappointment that some of those relationships failed me.  There was a great deal of emotional conflict that arose in the first month of my engagement – family loyalty, selfishness, old history, lost friendships, etc.  In hindsight, I believe that a majority of those issues arose because other people had selfishly harbored issues of their own and decided to use the engagement as a catalyst to bring those issues to the surface.  Funny enough, life was just fine prior to when J asked the question.  So, was it REALLY about me?  Or was it about them?  Sadly enough, no one ever warns you that a wedding could potentially be destructive to your relationships… or to your mental health for that matter.

In the past few months, J & I had some major talks and decisions to make.  How much of our own happiness are we willing to sacrifice for the sake of others’ happiness?  And how much of it is ours to claim?  We’ve realized, with much disappointment and sadness, that it will not be given to us easily.  As much as these people say they care and love us, they love themselves – be it their pride, ego, or traditions – more.

Honestly, I’m pretty tired of walking on eggshells around others’ feelings, especially for an event that’s intended to be mine & J’s.  Compromising is one thing, but losing perspective is another.  I know the difference between support and selfishness, and as much as I hate to say this about people whom I love – it’s downright selfish.

If happiness is our goal, then I’m determined to make sure that’s what J & I deserve and demand.  For better or for worse.

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Filed under Bridal blues & bliss, relationships

love and friendship: do they go together?

I confess.  I spent a good chunk of my evening sprawled on the couch watching ABC’s “The Bachelor” with my mother.  At one point, my brother tuned in for the first hour and left us to go watch “Heroes” in another room.  All three of us were hoping that Jason, this season’s single father hottie, would choose fun, smart, and down to earth Jillian.

Alas, that was not the case this evening.  Despite the two of them getting along exceptionally well, him taking a liking to her warm and welcoming family, and her admirable strong-will and upbeat perspective – Jillian was sent home.  What was it that ultimately led to her final dismissal?  On their date in New Zealand, where they sat on a picnic spread overlooking the gorgeous mountaintops and sky, (okay, hold the exasperation for a second here), Jillian revealed to Jason her true philosophy on love and marriage.

Jillian [paraphrased]: I want to be with someone who’s also my best friend.  You know, at the end of the day, it’s having that friendship that makes it all work.  Someone to share things with, have fun with, and to also love.  I want to be with my best friend.

Jason: [awkward smile]  Okay.

To make a long 2 hour episode short, Jason was not looking for a best friend in his future wife.  Ouch.  It makes me wonder if most guys consider “friendship” an important aspect of a relationship.

I absolutely agree with Jillian’s perspective and I couldn’t help but think of J as I watched this episode.  We started off as friends and eventually became something more, like an upgrade of a basic model.  Is it a bonus?  Yes!  Two functions in one person!  But, sometimes not the easiest thing to accomplish…

I noticed that early on in our relationship, he struggled constantly between “friendship” mode and “boyfriend” mode.  During our first year together in Davis, I remember venting to him on how much I wanted to study abroad before I graduated.  A friend of mine had gone to Spain and I was already envisioning myself taking a quarter hiatus to Europe, learning the language, exploring the cities. J wasn’t happy.  “I’m not sure what to tell you, ” he says cautiously.  “As your friend, I probably would be just as excited and encourage you to go for it.  BUT, as your boyfriend, all I can think about is you being far away and me worrying about you in some strange country.”

Thus, the very first seeds of a dichotomous dilemma began.  Does a friendship enhance a relationship?  Or hinder it?  Are you always comparing the person you fell in love with “as friends” versus the person your friend has become as “the significant other?”  Which persona wins out in the end?  And which do you prefer?  Or does it depend?

to be continued

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Filed under relationships

miscommunication

I’ve come to realize that over half of my issues stem from the lurking source of miscommunication. Or lack of communication in its entirety. Or conflicting messages.

And it’s not just my issue; it seems to be an issue of several of my friends, J, family members, colleagues, and acquaintances as well.

We underestimate how easy it sounds to understand another person. And how easy it is to move past it and resolve the issue.

Well, it’s not.  At all.

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Filed under epiphany, relationships