If you’re like me, you immediately became a fan of Splitting Up Together just for the simple fact that you would be able to reconnect with Pam Beesly from “The Office.” In this sitcom, Pam is all grown up as actress Jenna Fischer stars opposite Oliver Hudson (yes, that’s Kate Hudson’s brother), who is equally as hilariously charming as Jim Halpert. Fischer and Hudson (who play Lena and Martin) have a palpable onscreen chemistry that’ll keep you engaged as an audience.
You want to fight for the success of this couple mainly because you’re able to look at their obstacles and disagreements from all angles. From this omniscient perspective, we’re able to come up with solutions, even if the character can’t hear us. Through the ups and downs of splitting up, this show is able to showcase the common mistakes couples make in marriages that tear them apart in the first place. I’ve decided to dissect a few that stand out, as I believe couples both in and outside of marriage can benefit from them.
1. Take care of yourself before your relationship and/or children
In the show, Lena shuts out Martin after he isn’t able to meet her impossible standards. She takes on all of the work herself, by choice, as Martin creates distance from his marriage and family.
No, you’re not selfish to make yourself a priority after getting married and/or having children. Self-care doesn’t mean that you care about your relationship or kids any less. Taking care of yourself means that you care even more about the foundation for these relationships. Taking care of yourself trickles strength and support down to the people around you.
A lot of times within a marriage, if you’re not taking the time you both want and need separately, your partnership will suffer. Exhaustion can lead to resentment after allocating all of your energy into your relationships without saving any for yourself. If your primary focus is on being the perfect partner or perfect parent, it often turns into begrudging who is absorbing all of your energy, even if they don’t know it. To prevent this, you need to continually be communicating.
2. Communicate before blowing a fuse
Lena withholds her true feelings from the very start, and then she creates more distance within her relationship with Martin, while Martin craves the intimacy and connection that started their relationship. He feels unwanted and undesirable to Lena. If you’re feeling isolated within your marriage, it’s up to you to communicate that. Taking care of each other is essential: emotionally, physically, and mentally. It’s up to you to get on the same page if that’s where you want to be.
If frustration is what you’re feeling, convey this message in a non-combative tone. Ignoring something that might not seem like a big deal will latch onto the next not-so-big deal thing until it is a big dealbreaker. Don’t let your ego get in the way.
3. Don’t be too stubborn to admit a mistake
Lena is often too stubborn to realize she’s wrong, which leads to a building annoyance within her marriage to Martin. Too focused on being right, she’s blind to the fact that the vulnerability of admitting a mistake opens communication for Martin, as he doesn’t feel as insubordinate as Lena typically labels him.
In and outside of marriage, relationships are sustained with equality. Everyone is going to make mistakes. Don’t get wrapped up into a senseless competition that’ll ultimately defeat your relationship. Admit mistakes so the other person can admit mistakes, and then maybe, just maybe, there won’t be as many rift-causing gaffes between the two of you.