Aug 15, 2006

Communicating, or AFGO

It’s been two weeks since I blogged about my wedding. Maybe because it’s been two weeks since the last planning meeting, and I’ve been on Overwhelm since then. Buying stuff for favors, getting table covers. Return table covers that didn’t fit. Finding out what sizes do fit. Try ironing dress. Buy spray starch. Wow, that mini ironing board I’ve been using doesn’t work on a dress, does it? Okay so go buy an ironing board. Considering taking dress to dry cleaners to have them iron it. Remembering Larry’s cotton shirt coming back from dry cleaners a different shade than it went in.

Try to write. Too exhausted to write.

The good news is, we found a place. This was after the “other” place strung us along for ten days before they said “no,” because their planner couldn’t do it. Then the planner called and said, “you really want to get married on a Tuesday?” We’d moved on from then.

But there were other stresses. Larry had wanted a barbecue. Back when we were going to have the wedding and reception in a friend’s back yard, that seemed like a good idea. But then it got to 119 degrees at that friend’s house one weekend, our guest list ballooned above the amount you could fit in anyone but Aaron Spelling’s back yard. And then I booked a movie that started four days before the wedding. They’d give me two days off to get married but I’d be back on the movie set the day after the wedding. So we’d modified our plans to do the wedding, a reception, and barbecue for the die-hard partiers. And I was going to get up the next morning to go back to the movie set.

What are we thinking? What kind of wedding night is that? I did not wait all these months to consummate Larry’s and my relationship with a two-minute drill, thank you very much.

So I emailed Larry about it. Actually, I lifted the steamiest verses from Song of Solomon and said, “in order to get to THAT part of the evening” we needed to do something about the barbecue.

Larry was definitely all for getting to the Song of Solomon interactive evening, but what about his barbecue? That’s the one thing he’s wanted: a time to hang out with close friends, marvel at what God has done, and eat pork chops.

SO I came up with a few ideas:

1) Make everything shorter: wedding, reception and BBQ. Upside: we to do everything. Downside: we do everything poorly cause it’s rushed.
2) Have the barbecue Sunday night
3) have the barbecue Friday night as the rehearsal dinner.

Larry agreed #1 was a bad idea. #2 was bad because his best man would already have left down. But he didn’t like #3 either. “No way” were his friends going to trek to Woodland Hills for the barbecue. “It’s not what I envisioned. It’ll be fun but it’s not a good substitute for what I hoped for.”

“Not what I envisioned? … Not a good substitute?” I counted to ten, and emailed him back. “Do you have a vision for a good substitute for what you’d hoped for?”

He didn’t reply to me, but instead emailed our entire planning group that he was relinquishing the barbecue. He was convinced people wouldn’t drive to Woodland Hills on Friday. And two. “I really wanted the bbq/community thing to happen. It was really important to me. But I'm prepared to give it up. I have to protect and honor Susan's vision for the wedding.

I was feeling a sensation I’d never yet felt toward Larry: Pissed off. He made it sound like his only wish was for a beautiful intimate moment of community, but Susan wants a wedding instead. Like I want some vapid alienating dead ritual?

I emailed everyone back. 1) It isn’t Susan’s Wedding vs. Larry’s Barbecue. 2) Woodland Hills is the same distance on Friday as it is Saturday. And 3) My vision of the wedding happens to be a community thing as well.

Anger is tricky. You can’t avoid it, but you can’t let it spew either. Larry said his family was the denial variety. Mine was the spew variety. At least my dad spewed. He blew acid rain on us daily, any thing from the Russians to the Democrats to “you’ll never amount to anything!” I hated his anger. I hated my anger for hating his. The ONLY bit of parental advice my mother gave me was: “if you’re angry people won’t like you.” SO I was screwed.

And here I was feeling the emotion I dreaded the most, toward the man I loved the most. Maybe because I trusted him the most that I could feel it.

A therapist once told me to use “I Feel” statements. That’s where you take responsibility for your own emotional reactions instead of blaming the other person for them.
“When you do _______, it makes me feel ___.
Such as: “When you __steal my wallet__ it makes me feel ripped off.”

Or when you say you’re giving up your dream of a deep and meaningful flesh roast so I can have a shallow, meaningless wedding instead, it makes me feel condescended to like you think I’m a shallow meaningless bitc… I mean, bride.”

I didn’t use either of the above. But I did let him know that what he wrote made me angry, that I felt condescended to. I said it all in a calm, quiet voice. Not like Al Pacino in the Godfather or anything. I mean, I really was calm and adult about it. Though I think I added a “don’t do me any favors.”

I know my feelings caught Larry off-guard. He reassured me the wedding was important to him as well, but that he’s an introvert and he connects better at smaller gatherings. And after talking to Doug, Debbie and Anna, he realized the Friday BBQ idea was a good one. In other words, my idea of the Friday barbecue was worthless until everyone else liked it? I think I found the I feel Statement for that one too. Something like, “when you totally dismiss my idea” it makes me feel “dismissed.”

Seriously, though. Larry explained he just needed to talk to the people who’d be traveling the longest distance to Woodland Hills.

Okay so we got through that one, learning how to communicate.

But then Larry went and blogged about his hair.

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