A scenario: two couples are going out for dinner
together. As each couple is getting ready they have a typical marital fight. It escalates on the drive to meet the other couple
at the lovely restaurant they're going to. When they arrive, they each angrily slam the door on the car and storm into the
restaurant. Upon seeing the other couple, happy faces appear, and they end up having a nice evening.
After the dinner, the following dialogue takes place in each car of the two
couples. Reverse the husband or wife, since it makes no difference because this is not a gender-based concept/idea:
Wife (aka DU): Well, that was a nice evening. Husband (aka BJ) (grumbling): Yeah. Wife: Did you see how Hank treated Susie? Husband (not paying attention): Huh? Wife: He treated her like a goddess! Why can't
you be more like him? Husband (finally waking up): I'll be like him when you look at me the way Susie
looks at Hank, with love and respect. Wife (grumbling): Harumpf...
Recognize yourself somewhere in this scenario? My simple question is what would happen
if these two couples actually shared the problems and/or arguments they were having with the other couple friends? Might there
be a scene like this:
Hey, it's great to see you guys! How are you, BJ and DU? DU: Good to see you, too Hank (as she kisses
Susie on the cheek). Susie: I miss you two. How are things with the kids? BJ: Well,
since you asked we've been struggling a bit lately. Hank: Really, so have we. What's going on? DU:
Well, I think BJ favors the boys over me and is spoiling them rotten. Susie: WOW, we just argued
about exactly that on the way here! (Everyone laughs...a bit in discomfort). Hank: It's hard in
a blended family to choose whom to support when everyone seems to want a piece of me! DU: I think the
spouse should come first. After all, the kids are going to leave...then what? Susie: I agree with DU
(gives a look at Hank). BJ: C'mon Susie, it's not easy or simple. Susie: I suppose you're right
(takes Hank's hand in a conciliatory gesture). DU (looking at BJ): I know you try, honey, I just feel
left out some of the time. BJ: I'm sorry darling, but you know how much I Iove you, and the teen years
are a bear!
Get it? Wouldn't both couples
feel better? I don't care what the problem is. If we actually open up and stop pretending all is well and good, everyone will
learn and benefit. The hot-button topics for most couples are the kids, money, and sex. I'd add a fourth: time spent together
or one spouse working too much. Those two are really one thing as they obviously relate.
Let's say, as unusual as it may be, that you and your spouse haven't had sex in a while
- imagine that? Wouldn't you take some comfort knowing that you're not alone? We all know that many couples go through ups
and downs with their intimacy. Maybe a hint or just commiseration with another couple would help? It won't hurt and THAT is
my main point!
If the problem is money, one
couple may actually have concrete advice to offer. On any problem with kids, experience is always a great tool and the couple
with older kids may have already gone through the problem that the other couple is currently experiencing.
Putting on a happy face has its place. Ironically, I think that
the most important time for that - for couples and just for you - is when one is in a foul mood for no particular reason.
People do not like being around grumps. So, put on a happy face and when your mood has passed, you'll be better for it and
not have subjected your spouse or anyone around you to that sour puss!
Why do we feel the need to keep our real lives secret from our friends? I heard a saying from Rabbi
Joseph Telushkin, who quotes his mother as expressing that, "the only happy people I know are people I don't know very
well." I love that quote and I think it's so very true. Most of us would not trade our problems with anyone else's. To
keep going on with the sayings, I remember another where it's said something to the effect that if people all throw their
troubles into a big pile, they'd look them over, and take back their own ones.
That is why there is such value if friends open up to one another and couples do the
same. Being a bit sexist, I would assert that women tend to open up more easily to other women than men to each other. But,
couples are another thing altogether and I believe we'd all help each other a ton by just expressing the truth of our lives.
The good, too since no one wants to go out and spend an evening whining...
Why not try it? Please let me know what happens...