You may not have the 24/7 schedules or the non-stop press scrutiny that the royals do, but every couple gets to the point when the stress and tension of everyday life turn those funny quips turn into sharp barbs that hook under the skin. It may be during one of those endless work weeks everyone has, or perhaps when family and friends descend during the holidays. Don't worry, it happens to everyone -- yes, even to Kate Middleton and Prince William.
It's not a sign that your relationship or friendship is going south. It certainly in not for Kate and William. It's just a reminder that we all need a breather every now and then to redraw the lines.
It often starts off as a friendly back and forth. But when the stress and strain of everyday life pushes too hard, they can quickly escalate from a friendly exchange to a hurtful back and forth. Even when done with a smile.
When the usually lighthearted quips between Kate and William start to get an edge, the world notices. Believe it or not the same thing happens to you just on a much more private level. Either way, it's a signal to stop and remind each other why you're together in the first place, and redraw the boundaries a bit. For the royals the stress of their travel turns their usually adorable quips into humor that is a a bit more pointed.
William made a few asides about Kate's outfit, calling one "too bright" and another "banana"-esque. They were nothing overtly harsh and were still in the realm of joking humor, but still not the nicest assessment of an outfit. Kate came back later on when a tour guide showed the couple a tuft of alpaca wool that was vaguely the color of Prince William's hair, with a comment and a toupee reference.
Again, neither comment was overtly bitter and each could be taken with a shrug and a chuckle, but the truth is, each probably struck just a little too close to home to be truly funny.
They are the kind of comments that after time can erode even the healthiest of relationships. Instead of doing one's marital duty" and shrugging it off, use these barbs as a signal to stop, to slow down, to breathe air into whatever is going on. This doesn't have to lead to some deep discussion. Instead, do what we do in modern meditation.
When your partner or friend makes a comment that is little too sharp, stop. Take a few deep breathes to reduce the immediate anger you might be feeling. Acknowledge whatever it is that was just said. Let it go.
All you have to say is, "Ouch, that was a little sharp," or "Honey, that wasn't nice," or "That didn't make me feel good." If they come back and try to laugh it off with a comment like "Oh, relax," or "Don't take it so seriously," or some other lighthearted comment designed to reduce the tension while still remaining on top, let them know it's not okay. Or, as Ellen DeGeneres once said, ""You don't know how to kid properly. Because we should both be laughing."
Instead of allowing these barbs take hold and fester deep inside, use them as a way to strengthen your relationship. Use them as a way to remind each other to stay above it all and to not sink into that morass that even the most loving relationships can unknowingly drop into.
Life is too short to allow these little barbs to undermine it. So stop yourself from playing the game of who can keep it light but hurtful the best. Let the other person know that even the toughest soldier can be a little sensitive at times.
Yes, it may be a little embarrassing when you first let the other person know you're not as hard as a rock. But if you can't be sensitive with the people you love, who can you be sensitive with? Besides, knowing each other's soft spots can actually take your relationship to the next level - whether you're just friends or growing something larger.
As for Kate and William, they're fine. They're just on one heck of a journey.
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