It’s bright and sunny with a gentle breeze washing through Guhåhan...you know what that means: beach day! While the kids splash around in the water pretending to be Sirena, hubby and I are chilling on the white sands admiring the view. Positive vibes are strong and I’m feeling like we’re hitting all of our #relationshipgoals right now. Cozied up to each other with Matua Sablan’s rendition of “Nobia Neni” jamming in the background, sparks between the two of us are flying. It’s a closeness that is so comfortable and warm that I have no other choice but to nuzzle into his chest and say, “I love you.” All is right with the world in that moment. The spat over the indecisiveness over dinner last night has faded. The stress of meeting multiple deadlines from the week has disappeared. All that was left was love.
So inspired by the mood and the “stress level” (insert cute Instagram story sticker here) gone, I pull out my phone for that perfect snap. I lift my phone in that angle that never lets me down, lean into the hubs and snap! Ok, maybe not. Hubby’s 5 o’clock shadow was itchy and my smile is off. Next shot, this time I make him stand. Adjusting my angle to make it appear as if I have “thigh gap,” I lift the phone and, snap! Ugh still no! Deep breaths...the positive vibes are starting to fade. Alright last try, more of the beautiful turquoise beach, less of our faces, but keeping that beautiful smile. Here we go, hair is right, background is stunning, hubby is well, he’s just hot! Here we go...snap.
I scroll through the pictures, using iPhoto burst I should have plenty of options. I need that perfect picture for my Instagram account. I haven’t posted in a while so let’s do this! Scrolling....scrolling...nothing (insert cute emoji girl here with her hand smacking her forehead).
I turn to the hubby, a gentle, kind and patient man and say, “Maybe a boomerang instead?” He’s over it. Good vibes gone; #relationshipfail; the buzzkill is real.
If so much of life is lived on social media, why can’t we curate our lives like we curate our pictures? Shot after shot of perfect people in perfect relationships clutter my newsfeed. Every like of a post that centers on how someone’s partner is their “everything”, leads to another post about how the next couple is killing their #relationshipgoals. Being inundated with these images, we use them as a measuring stick to our own. Why can’t I get that perfect picture of my perfect life on my perfectly curated page? The truth is that #relationshipgoals aren’t accurately represented on our newsfeeds, snaps, stories, or pages. And the more we aspire to curate our relationship, the shorter we fall of feeling good about being in relationships that are real.
Relationship reality is raw. It gets gritty. It’s messy AF. We fight. We bicker. We cry. We hurt. And it is by overcoming these types of adversities that we thrive.
The intersection of social media and relationships has been the focus of lots of research...and for good reason. According to an article published by Psychology today, "One study found that when people displayed their relationship status as “in a relationship” and posted disclosing statuses and pictures of themselves with their partners, they reported higher satisfaction." However experts warn to use caution when interpreting these findings, as PsychCentral states, "It is often difficult, if not impossible, on social media to reveal the qualities that define deep, intimate relationships." What all this means is that while couples who express their affection on social media tend to have high relationship satisfaction, it does not mean that those who do not--aren't in healthy, satisfying relationships.
Reflecting back on that beach day I have to ask myself: why was I trying so hard? It was a glorious day, a glorious moment and I nearly killed it to get a shot. Oh and for the record there were many shots that day, yet none of them made it to my IG. I ask myself, if I’m only willing to share the perfect moments of my life with others, am I perpetuating the problem of perfection? If all I portray is that picture perfect shot, does that mean I am living a lie?
Putting your “stuff” (insert adult S word here) out there is scary. The truth is most people get turned off by too much of it. But being real about relationships and the not so perfect moments can change the lens for our own relationship and that of others. Instead of striving for perfection, let us work toward being healthy. Let’s be honest about the tough times and become an example of how to get through them. Let’s show people that love can shine right through the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Great relationships are messy and beautiful all at the same time. Embrace the fact that #realtionshiprealities aren’t perfectly curated. Showcase instead that love in front of the lens is artfully created.