Sunday, January 9, 2011

Where do you as a couple have the most conflict?

Given that we've spent the last month almost constantly around family, Isaac and I have had a few conversations about how we do as a couple when we're with other people. Going into this past month we'd talked about really trying to give each other grace in the midst of the stress of a new baby, lack of sleep, and being with in-laws.

All things considered, we did pretty well! Still, I think there are some couples that really love to socialize as a couple. They probably got to know each other in social situations and love who each others' public persona. Often one or both of them are big extroverts. They tend to have more conflict when they're alone, and sometimes I think marriage can be a shock when they begin spending most of their time just with each other.

We are not that couple. We are the opposite. We thrive when we're alone. We tease, we talk baby talk, we affirm each other. Isaac is sweet, I'm talkative... all things that rarely happen in public! When we spend a lot of time together we usually come away feeling so connected and really enjoying all the small things we do together.

On the other hand, we struggle when we're in public and in groups a lot. Isaac is brash and sarcastic, and as a people pleaser (on the negative side) and someone that just cares about how people feel (on the good side), sometimes his insensitivity drives me crazy, and vice versa. We have to work to communicate well when we're around other people a lot.

Interesting. I'm sure some people do equally well alone and in private, but I know some fall distinctly on one side or the other.

5 comments:

Alida said...

I remember when it was painful for us to socialize as a couple. We were only 18 when we got married. And so often I just wanted to hide in a corner because of some of the things that came out of Tom's mouth. My being painfully shy didn't help me much.

Over the years we have learned how to socialize with others as a couple in a way that is much like how we are when we are alone.

We have learned a lot along the way from observing how other couples interact and talking about later. I can remember both of us getting very upset over how a husband constantly treated his wife like a child and telling her what she could and could not say. I think they are one of the reasons we made a concentrated effort to work this issue out for ourselves.

This Heavenly Life said...

Interesting -- I think my husband and I relate more honestly when we're alone, but...we get along really well in public, too. There's some confident, enigmatic, serious side of my husband that comes out when we're in groups, and I'm really drawn to those qualities in him. But alone, or with a few close friends or relatives, he's more soft and silly, thoughtful and open, sometimes unsure or questioning -- which is very real and comforting.

I'll have to ask him, though, what he thinks about my public versus private persona...

Jaimie said...

This is one of those things that makes me so glad to be single. I can just BE.

Rae said...

I wouldn't say that we relate poorly in public, but we don't really relate as much. When I am around his family I do my best to sensor my thoughts (and talk a lot less) and he does the same around my family. And we both suppress ourselves at least a little around friends unless they are extremely close.

Thanks for posting this! It lead to a great discussion as I asked Josh what his answer would be. He said that sometimes I am annoyingly (my term) deferential when we're around others. Ha! So apparently what I think of as suppressing myself a bit means he feels like he is forced into making decisions that we would normally make together.

Kacie said...

Jaimie, it's true, I think singles often take for granted that aspect of singleness!

Yeah, I'd say I love my husband's ability to socialize with ease, especially when we're in a new situation and I wish I could hide in a corner. His presence puts me at ease. But other times when he says something that I would debate in private, when we're in public I feel like I can't debate or contradict him because people would take it as disrespect since most people don't at all understand our kind of discussion...