Watch just about any romantic comedy TV show and there will be one thing in common: Something happens that throws a kink in their relationship and makes one or both of them question whether they are really right for each other. It’s the critical ingredient of all sit-coms, really – if there wasn’t a conflict (misunderstanding, mistaken identity, etc.) the show would be over in 10 minutes.
So why am I writing about a TV show in a blog about marriage and parenting? Because those shows are a cautionary tale for romantic relationships with a warning that should be heeded: If you don’t communicate with your honey in an open, honest, timely and forthright way, trouble will ensue. Only there won’t be a laugh track to make it feel better.
Thomas and I are as guilty of not being great communicators as any sitcom. In fact, some of the situations we’ve run into in our real life could make for a great sit-com – or intense dramas… bordering on murder mysteries.
Couples get caught up in the mistake of thinking the other person should just know or understand them completely. Nope. Since we are all wired differently as individuals and certainly in our genders, we are going through life on parallel lines, occasionally bumping into each other. The secret then, I think, is to acknowledge that we’re never going to really understand each other or approach life the way the other person does and vice versa. But if we try really hard to be considerate of each other and communicate better, we can at least eliminate a good portion of those conflicts and, hopefully, get on with our happily ever after. At least for the next 30 minutes.
I agree with Courtney, although even communicating is no “cure all.” There are plenty of times where we communicate, but still come to a disagreement. Compromise and “agreeing to disagree” are equally important relationship skills. Still, a lot of negative feelings and frustration can be eliminated in relationships if people communicate directly and politely. Not doing so creates a lot of drama that no one needs. And, because the kiddos are always observing and absorbing, demonstrating good communication is an important example we adults should always be setting.
This topic has gotten me thinking… The sitcom that best represents our love life (Courtney and me)? I’d have to go with a mash-up of The Odd Couple and All In The Family (if you’re too young to remember these shows, look them up.) As for a sitcom that best represents our family? Gilligan’s Island. That group of oddballs fight and disagree with each other all the time. But despite all their differences and quirks, they care for each other and always somehow overcome the challenges of being marooned.
I wish we were more like The Brady Bunch or The Waltons, but I’m good with our own unique family sitcom!