Image via My Queendom Come
Do you have the overwhelming urge to match the precise color of pink (let’s take the color heliotrope, for example) that’s in your wedding invitation to your shoes? Have you ever awakened in a cold sweat absolutely convinced that you should have chosen four layers for your wedding cake instead of three? Do you have a sneaking suspicion that your partner/best friend doesn’t actually have a sleeping disorder, but is deliberately (!) falling asleep while you describe the latest wedding detail?
Okay, okay, I admit it. WIP doesn’t exist. But as a premarital consultant to engaged couples, there are times when I wish it did! Because I would then be able to prescribe the appropriate treatment, which would be a healthy dose of Surrendering + Action (see below).
So often engaged people (especially, ahem, brides) come to me after they have completely lost perspective about their wedding. Often they are frustrated that their partners are not involved enough in the wedding planning or they feel distant from their loved ones. Although these are very common feelings that arise during wedding planning, some of these feelings can be caused by brides trying to achieve a “perfect” wedding (and in the process alienating their loved ones). It’s only natural to want a perfect wedding. And it’s also only natural to completely obsess about something related to planning it. I know I did when I was planning my own wedding. During particularly testy times, my husband threatens to pull out some of the “evidence” of my wedding induced delirium … pictures of me toiling for weeks (okay, months) over designing the “perfect” wedding invitation … and I’m not a designer. To be clear, the invitations were fabulous though!
However, even though I know you know this intellectually, let me remind you anyway: A perfect wedding doesn’t exist.
The myth of the perfect wedding exists for a lot of reasons. However, in my opinion, the most important reason it exists is because it makes us feel better. We (unconsciously) think that if we don’t plan the perfect wedding, then we won’t have a perfect marriage. And we all want good marriages, right? But the thought of not ending up with a good marriage scares the bejeezus out of us. So instead of focusing on our fears regarding making this life altering commitment to another person, we pour our energy instead into the gift bags that our guests will receive (been there, done that).
So, my prescription is a simple one: Surrender + Action.
- Surrender to the idea that you can’t predict the future (no one can guarantee that they’ll have a wonderful marriage).
- Surrender to the fact that you won’t be able to achieve a “perfect” wedding no matter how much money and time you spend on it.
- Surrender to the uncertainty.
And then, do something about it.
1. Engage in some realistic self-talk.
- Remind yourself that you will not have a perfect wedding (no such thing exists).
- Remind yourself that you will not be a perfect bride (she doesn’t exist as well).
- Most importantly, remind yourself that your wedding day is not a reflection of how perfect or imperfect your marriage will be.
- Tell yourself that what IS a reflection of how healthy your upcoming marriage will be is how hard you and your partner work now on your relationship.
2. Consider premarital education
- Research shows that engaging in any type of premarital education increases the likelihood of being happier in marriage.
- So consider anything from an iPhone app (like Couplet) to a series of private consultations with a counselor in your area.
Now I think we’d all agree … doing all you can to prepare your relationship for the best possible marriage is definitely something worth obsessing over!
Ms Gingham says: So for some weird reason, we think that a perfect relationship just happens. We understand each other, we want the same things, heck …. we can probably read each other’s minds. That’s all well and good if your life resembles a Hollywood tear jerker like “The Notebook” but for most of us (all of us) it doesn’t. A little bit of work on the most important aspect of your wedding sounds like time well spent.
About Dr Lakeasha Sullivan: I am a licensed clinical psychologist who believes that premarital knowledge (informed, unbiased, non-dogmatic knowledge!) is truly empowering. I specialize in working with engaged couples and as a result I created Couplet – a premarital education app for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
Want more? Check out these posts from the archives: