Once again, I was indulging in reality TV and watching the Real Housewives of Atlanta. Typically I’m folding laundry while watching said show, but not last night. I was lying back with a bowl of popcorn in my lap – and getting my junk TV fix. (In my defense – I had been to the water park earlier in the day with my multigenerational gang – so this was my time out.)
Hubby (yes, he was watching, too) and I were thrilled to see Sheree and Damon bonding and working together to plan for a Sheree’s daughter, Tierra, to become engaged to Damon. I was particularly impressed with Damon’s openness about his feelings toward Tierra, how he needed help in planning a proposal to remember, and how he was trying to make sure he and Sheree were in good standing. Damon even mentioned speaking with Tierra’s stepfather – which in my multigenerational and blended family world gets all the “works for me” check boxes marked off.
Through my lens as a coach, wife, and daughter-in-law – I was thinking Damon was setting a great foundation for:
- Great in-law dynamics
- Open communication to nurture a positive in-law relationship
- Creating space to have an in-law relationship supported by the future spouse
- Authenticity in including in-laws in important life decisions (as appropriate)
Just when I was having a mental multigenerational lovefest while watching this show, Sheree’s comments about Damon working overtime to buy an engagement ring Tierra deserves threw a mental monkey wrench in the initial positivity I observed. I could see Sheree instantly tearing down the in-law foundation Damon was trying to build.
Many couples become engaged and talking about finances is often shoved to the side because they want this time to be euphoric, happy, and carefree. The engaged couple wants to focus on their love and fun – and that’s all good and dandy – until the reality of the “this is so awesome” phase fades.
Sheree, in my opinion, missed the perfect opportunity to step-up and nurture this soon-to-be engaged couple. I would have hoped Sheree would have talked with Damon and said something along the lines of:
- It’s great you have a set budget for the ring.
- I agree these rings are expensive. Let me use my stylish eye to help you find a ring that is beautiful and fits your budget.
- It’s important that Tierra and you don’t acquire more debt as a couple – considering you (Damon) have to pay back your 40K in your college investment.
- No, it does not matter how large my engagement ring was when I was previously married.
- I appreciate, greatly, being included in this process. I hope you (Damon) and I will continue to build our relationship.
- I also hope to be a positive advocate and nurturer for your relationship with Tierra.
Now, I’m not saying Sheree needed to have the prefect words – but she needed to not be so self-absorbed. She should have focused on her daughter and Damon – not how the size of the ring should look to outsiders.
I’m giving Sheree 2 multigenerational stars. There is work to be done!
Hey Sheree! Feel free to give me a call. I have some coaching slots, on in-law dynamics, open.
(At the end of the 3.25.12 episode of the Real Housewives of Atlanta , Damon decided not to propose to Tierra. Hmmm…)