There were many victories in the latest episode “Vegas, Baby”. Kevin resists the temptation to drink, Toby connects with the Pearson brothers, Beth lets her heart make a decision, and Kate and Randall have a good heart to heart. The dynamic that stood out the most to me was Beth and Randall’s fight. Their relationship is one of my favorites on the show. Beth’s sass keeps Randall in line and Randall’s compassion draws Beth into forgiveness. Our idea of a desirable and ideal relationship might have less fights than Beth and Randall’s but their relationship actually models something very healthy. It has been proven that couples who fight more report more happiness in their relationship. This may seem backwards, but the concept of having “short accounts” benefits relationships. It’s the difference between having a long laundry list of things that are bothering you about your partner in the back of your mind and sharing with your partner when something bothers you. Think about it. Beth and Randall have been quick to bring up William staying at the house, the idea of adoption, Randall’s anxiety, Randall staying home and going back to work, and now the drama with Deja. They didn’t let these things fester and grow into something much bigger than they actually are. They confronted each situation head on. Now, it’s not always butterflies and daisies. They hurt each other’s feelings for sure. I can remember seeing the hurt on Randall’s face whenever Beth told him it was time to go back to work. But, not hurting each other’s feelings should not be the goal of a relationship. Don’t get me wrong, the goal is not to hurt each other’s feelings either! When we bring these things up we should do so with caution and gentleness. But, the unity and closeness that Beth and Randall share far out weighs not hurting each other’s feelings. Usually when we opt out of bringing issues up we store these things away in our brain. We stuff the emotions that follow the situation down inside of ourselves. This doesn’t make them go away. And then at the most inopportune time, like a volcano erupting, it all comes to the surface, most likely in a way that feels out of control. This kind of conversation rarely ends well. Let’s learn from Beth and Randall. Go ahead and hash it out. Have the courage to bring up that thing that’s been bothering you. Give your partner the chance to respond well to a concern you have.
Some things to consider:
1. Do you tend to keep a laundry list of things that are bothering you in your relationships? How might you work up the courage to share with those you are close with about those concerns?
2. Have you allowed things fester in the past and then let your frustrations explode without warning? It might be helpful to think through the impacts of this behavior so that change is worth it to you.
3. Or maybe, you never really fight with your partner. Would you consider your relationship to be connected and close like Beth and Randall’s? How might you be more open and honest with your partner to create that closeness?