On communication

The transition from considering that you may want to spend the rest of your life with someone to deciding you are actually going to do it is an interesting one. Disagreements suddenly bear more weight, but at the same time there is an eagerness to resolve them – and quickly – as each occurrence proves a chance to show you’ve got this whole marriage thing in the bag. Granted my perspective is still as one who is embarking on marriage, and not quite there yet. I’m interested in seeing how it will change in 8 months and 18 days (not that anyone’s counting.)

Yesterday evening we experienced one of those occurrences. It was date night. Brian and I both have a tendency to get a bit hangry, and it was probably ill advised for us to venture out into the world without a plan for where we would be consuming our next meal. We thought we’d wing it. While driving along we saw a new addition to our neighborhood was ‘bumping’. Bakersfield, a new take on gourmet Mexican which overtook the short-lived Longboards, gave off a vibe of trendy popularity. With the warm lighting, windows open to the inviting fall air, and thrum of conversation – we wanted in. After circling the area for several minutes trying to find parking and being met with signs saying quite clearly ‘NO PARKING FOR BAKERSFIELD’ we found our enthusiasm dimming and our hangriness increasing exponentially. We luckily nabbed a street spot – some of our excitement restored – and ventured in. 45 minutes. Nope, no way were our stomachs going to endure. There were several other dining options in close proximity, so we ventured. I didn’t want bar food. Brian wasn’t that into the fancy dining scene.

Hunger and tension were mounting as we couldn’t agree on where to eat. What we didn’t know was that the type of cuisine wasn’t the issue at all. We were both feeling the financial pressures of saving for a wedding while still wanting to get out and live a little. Yes, we wanted date night, but no we didn’t really want to spend $150 on it. We were both feeling the exact same way, but we just weren’t communicating. Brian didn’t want to appear cheap. I didn’t want to bring up the dreaded ‘M’ word as I’d felt I’d been focusing on it way too much lately. I’d been analyzing spending trends, encouraging us to cut back on some of the things we loved and were dearly missing – can anyone say monthly massage? No way I wanted to be the one to suggest we needed to forego eating out. It is perhaps our single favorite activity.

In short we learned two valuable lessons. The first being that refraining from saying what’s on our minds gets us nowhere. I knew Brian well enough to know it wasn’t that he ‘just wasn’t that hungry,’ and he knew me well enough to know I didn’t really want to pitch a fit and leave. We stuck it out, talked it out, and ended up at Pio Pio where we enjoyed a cheap and delicious Peruvian rotisserie chicken dinner. As we’ve found is helpful with most things, we are turning date night into a competition. Now we’ll be trying to beat each other at coming up with fun (and cheap) dates each week. The second lesson was simpler, but just as valuable. We now know to always have a plan for where we are eating before we reach unbearable levels of hangry.

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