Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pick your battles: Family get togethers

In the early stages of our relationship, my husband (then boyfriend) and I used to get into nasty little spats when it came time to go out to family get togethers. I'm quite close with my family, and we generally gather for everything from mother's day to anniversaries, birthdays and Christmas. My husband's family gets together every once in a while, and not necessarily on the exact day of the occasion. He truly values his free time and weekends to relax and unwind, however I have always seen weekends as a valuable 'get things done' period of the week. So naturally our two ways of seeing didn't really jive and he would get really cranky about having his weekend interrupted by constant events going on in my family, and I was upset about having a grumpy boyfriend hating me for dragging him to things he didn't always want to go to.

The light bulb moment

That's when it occurred to me that we were both miserable in these circumstances and even though he was only going to make me happy, I still wasn't because he was miserable. So I decided to see what happened if he didn't always come to every single event. I started telling him about what we were invited to together, and asked him if he wanted to go or not. The first three or four times (as I expected) he stayed home. I forced myself to not make a big deal about it, and to just go ahead and to have fun. Eventually I didn't even really mind, because I was happier to go on my own and come back home to a happy boyfriend rather than a miserable one that would dissapear to his man cave.

The happy medium

The funny thing is that after a few events he stayed home from, he started suddenly wanting to come along. Call it reverse psychology if you want, but it seemed that because he now wasn't expected or forced to attend, he didn't mind it as much. I learned even before becoming a married couple that just because we are together and live together, doesn't mean we have to do everything together. I hadn't understood until then that the 'keep your own lives' alive I had heard about relationships also applied to events and attendance.

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