A few weeks ago, I got a weekend call from my girlfriend who was a few weeks away from getting married. Once we got passed the “How are yous,” she launched into it. She’d had a big fight with her fiancé over a seemingly minor thing (losing the car key… and leaving the car unlocked, so now it was sitting around… unlocked).
And as she let off steam, I said, “I get it. It’s not this, exactly. It’s wondering WHO THE FUCK AM I EVEN MARRYING.”
She took a breath and said, “OH MY GOD EXACTLY. Like does he even have respect for property? Does he know how hard I worked for that car when I was single and broke? What does this even mean. I’m gonna kill him.”
She’d called the right friend, since it just so happened I’d had a very similar blowout argument with David one week before the wedding. I still remember standing on the foggy August streets of the Outer Richmond in San Francisco, screaming at him in front of my favorite Mexican place, with tears and snot streaming down my face. It turned out that he’d been… not so frugal with his money… in the past two years of law school, while I had been working sixty hours a week at a soul-crushing job that I hated, saving every penny. And now we were going to combine finances, and WHO WAS I EVEN MARRYING? Was he going to be financially responsible or not? I only had a week, and was I hitching myself to the wrong wagon?
(Spoilers: I wasn’t. He got more financially responsible. I got a little more financially relaxed, and thus far we’ve done just fine.)
But I didn’t know the spoilers on the sidewalk that night. And I also didn’t know that I was far from alone, having a Dark Night Of The Soul fight in the weeks leading up to the wedding. And frankly, knowing that I was behaving in a perfectly normal way might have done more to sooth my soul than knowing we wouldn’t have spent every last penny we had within the year.
And as I chatted with my friend on the phone, I remembered that this time last year we’d done a poll on just this topic. We asked how many of you had blowout fights before your weddings. But I’d never checked the results of that poll. So I pulled them up, and behold:
Those Dark Night Of The Soul fights were right on schedule.
In fact, I might argue that having a moment of serious consideration about who exactly you’re making a huge legal commitment to isn’t just normal, it’s probably wise. And in some small percentage of cases it might lead to calling the whole thing off, but for most of us, it’s just a thing we have to work through.
So I wanted to open it up to you. It’s the worst to feel like you’re the only one who’s ever had a sobbing ugly-cry fight with your partner, right when you’re supposed to be the happiest.
Did you have a dark night of the soul fight leading up to the wedding? Did you have one after the wedding? In your world, what do those dark nights of the soul look like?