“Perfect” couples: I’m on to you. You may think you’re fooling me with your dozens of Facebook pictures showing you and your significant other smiling and the “I love you” messages you send not-so-privately to each other via social media, but you’re not fooling this lady!
You see, I’m married – so I know that relationships take work.
Lots and lots of work.
Even within the first year.
And sometimes I feel like the Husband and I are the only couple in the world that struggle with simple things like, “Why the heck can’t you just clean the dishes instead of leaving them in the sink?!” and other such conversations.
I mean, clearly we’re not the only couple like this. Right?!
Perfect picture to put on Facebook! We’re smiling, we managed to dress ourselves that day, I put on a bit of makeup, we are happy, darnit! You can even see our rings, so you can tell we’re committed forever and ever.
There are so many studies out there that survey couples’ happiness and we know that not everyone is at a 10/10 their entire relationship (no matter what perception they’re portraying to the masses).
But I understand why acquaintances wouldn’t necessarily want to air their relationship drama to the world/social media – I mean, I would never recommend that, even though it would entertain me. What I fail to understand is when close friends or even family members decide not to tell the truth about relationships, or at least leave out all negative details from conversations.
Now, I totally understand not throwing your spouse under the bus. I wouldn’t like to attend a gathering that turns into male-bashing or anything like that – because I would basically be mortified if the Husband went out for guys’ night and they spent the entire time complaining about the wives.
But, I do appreciate couples and women who have a way of just telling it like it is. I find that the Husband and I have grown way closer to couples we can relate to – and sorry, we just can’t relate to people who don’t seem to have any problems. I’m not saying we necessarily want to hear about petty arguments and complaints (although, those are fine, too), but I love getting into the bigger stuff. It makes me feel like our relationship is (dare I say) ‘normal’.
This is an example of what I would not post on social media… because weddings are supposed to be happy and I wouldn’t dare post an unhappy wedding picture on there in case someone might get the idea that my wedding wasn’t happy! (Or something like that). Well, that and this isn’t the most flattering pic I have of this lovely group of people! But you get the idea.
I feel the same way about individual people. I definitely have friends who refuse to share anything negative about their lives. And that’s fine, it’s their prerogative! But, I find it hard to connect to those people.
I’m an open book (for better or for worse) and I’m actually working on sharing less about myself to others, but I really love when I’m struggling with something and a friend confides that they are struggling/have struggled with something similar. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, but sometimes it is. For instance, when I lost my job I didn’t think I had any close friends who had been laid off, so I wasn’t sure who would understand my situation. But, then a friend told me she had something similar happen to her a while ago, and she was able to get through it and come out on the other side even happier than she had been at her previous job.
Of course, I was thrilled that I wasn’t alone in this! Obviously, upon getting laid off, the first thing I felt was shame, but it seems so much less shameful when a close friend (who I really respect) had a similar thing happen to her. But then, of course, I wished she had confided in me years ago when this was actually happening, because I wish I could have supported her through it!
I get it, some people are introverts. Some people are just more private. Some people just only share things with 1-2 close friends. Some people are afraid of vulnerability. Some people (like me) are far too open and should probably not share quite so much.
However, I think that by not sharing the truth with our close friends (not everyone, but at least our close friends) we are missing out on opportunities to connect with each other, support each other, mentor each other, and give each other advice that perhaps no one else could offer.
See, you can’t tell that we were all worried about something just minutes before, now we’re all happy at sunset and life is good! This is definitely worthy of presentation to the masses (my Facebook friends).
Thankfully, the Husband and I are part of small group comprised of couples from our church, so that’s where we’re really able to open up about our marriage/relationships/ourselves. I’m also in a women’s group at church, in which I can share the things that are honestly on my mind/heart. Plus, I have some great friends who I know I can call and be honest with. However, it’s by having these amazing friendships that make me realize how valuable they are, and I wonder if everyone has such a supportive and honest network. Seriously, where would I be without people who really just get me!?
Lately, I’ve been distancing myself from friends who act like their worlds are all rainbows and butterflies while any drama I have is crazy/an overreaction/abnormal/etc. It’s not that they aren’t fun to hang out with, I just can’t relate on a level I want to be able to relate on. We’ll definitely remain friends, but we’ll probably never be super-close.
Transparency… I like it. That’s why I prefer reading blogs to reading Facebook: I actually want to know what’s going on in people’s lives and not just see a few pictures of smiling faces.
Cheers to great and valuable friendships, in all of their forms!