Screaming, yelling, breaking furniture, soul-sucking jobs, mental illness, infidelity: Revolutionary Road is not your typical holiday season movie. Don't be fooled by the Kate-Winslet-and-Leonardo-Di-Caprio pairing -- this is not Titantic. Frank and April Wheeler are two bright young things in 1950s New York City who fall in love, get pregnant and move out to suburbia with stars in their eyes. But seven or so years later, the daily commute and absurd office nonsense is doing Frank in. Back home, April feels bored and stifled by domestic life, aching over both of their unmet potential. As she energizes Frank and they start to claw their way out, real life sets in and throws every single roadblock imaginable in their way. There's many Mad Men parallels in the analyses of post-war life, but ultimately, Revolutionary Road is just a portrait of a straining marriage: it's about the capacity that two people who are in love have to be cruel to each other.
Fighting sucks, but it happens in almost every relationship, so for healthy coupledom you have to know how to deal with arguments and anger. According to a study at U Mich, the best solution for processing negative feelings is to step back from the emotions and try to evaluate what happened from a distance. It sounds like common sense—you've probably heard, or said, "I need a second to calm down," or "let's think about this rationally"—but there are subtle differences in the way you think about the experience and your emotions that can help or hinder your ability to effectively deal with adversity.
When is a fight worth it and when is it time to let go? Parenthood.com explains that it is sometimes better for your relationship with your spouse to just it go: "I want my relationship to work more than I want to be right. This time around, the big picture is clear. I love my husband. I don't want to hurt him. We're compatible, and it feels awful when we don't get along. I want our marriage to thrive, and I want to grow - which means learning how to lose on occasion. At this precipice, I'm learning to take a deep breath and peer at things from my partner's perspective. I know he's as sure of being right as I am, which makes me curious about where he's coming from. I trust him and our relationship enough to accept that the truth probably lies somewhere in the unfamiliar middle."
I’ve been on a bit of a blog-writing-hiatus. Switching jobs, training my replacement, and helping my dad promote the book he just wrote (see www.beyondfossilfools.com to hear the podcast we made, and search Beyond Fossil Fools at YouTube to see the video) has kept my brain too occupied and full to write. Then, on the 5th we left for a road-trip to Canada’s mountains-majesty to attend a destination wedding. We just got home a few days ago. Much more on this later. Today, I want to write about something I’ve been thinking about for a few weeks. A relationship-revelation sort of deal.
Carrie and I hadn't even been on the highway for an hour when the fighting started. We were in my little Honda Civic hatchback, puttering along I-76 East, en route to Baltimore. She'd been giving me a stone-faced version of the silent treatment, and even though I'd tried everything to get her to open up – begging, pleading, cajoling – I wasn't having any luck whatsoever. Occasionally I would get a sarcastic comment in response, or a mean-spirited laugh. I almost blame myself for what happened at the rest stop. I was opening the Honda's hatch to look for a sweater, and as I leaned deep inside the car, Carrie caught a quick glimpse of my boxers – specifically the elastic waistband that was peeking out from underneath my jeans.
Raucous, dramatic fights—me yelling, threatening to end things, and disappearing while he waited for me to simmer down—raged weekly in our early relationship. But as guests in sport coats and tea length dresses cheered our first kiss as man and wife, I realized our fights would have to change. How could I threaten to leave him when I had promised to stay with him forever? By the end of our wedding day, I had already shushed my inner drama queen once—the first step toward learning how to fight like a wife.
In addition to green tea and pilates, you can now add a good fight with your spouse to your list of ways to stay healthy. Seriously. According to a new study from the University of Michigan which looked at 192 couples over 17 years, holding your tongue when you are pissed off—could prove fatal.
Ever notice how when you're feeling down so is your body? Emotional hangovers from stressful episodes; such as spats with our bosses, friends, family or lovers, can bring heartache to the extent of heartburn, palpitations or chest pressure. The key to maintaining your physical health in such times is to recognize that you're emotions affect your biochemistry and taking steps to counteract it. There are a few simple remedies to keep yourself emotionally healthy.