Gifts In a Pandemic

I’m constantly copying and saving articles and posts and quotes about weddings and marriage, collecting them in a folder, believing that someday they will inspire one of my own posts.

What has happened, though, is that the collection has grown and I’ve forgotten what’s in it!

Thanks to the pandemic, I’ve had time to take on those “someday” projects, one of which has been to go through that wedding folder.

Here’s a quote that intrigued me when I first came across it – and that still intrigues me:

“The hardest part of marriage isn’t learning how to get along with your spouse, but rather coming to grips with what you learn about yourself as you relate to your wife or husband.”

This quote reminded me of an email a former UCLA Extension student sent me. Rachel wrote:

I need to stop being defensive when someone close to me criticizes how I do something.

This has recently surfaced in my personal life between my fiancé and I. As we’ve embarked on the journey of planning our wedding, we’ve gotten into several arguments that end with him telling me that he doesn’t know what to do because upon being criticized or told that something I’ve done or my parents have done has upset him, he feels I go straight to being defensive and that I’m not taking care of him and his feelings.

I want to find a better way of communicating with him about these sensitive and emotional things because I know that he and I and our families all want the same end goal, but we have very different ways of getting there.

And most importantly we all agree that we want this process to be fun and enjoyable since we’re celebrating such an exciting occasion.

As these conversations come up, I’ve been trying to slow down so that I can process what he’s saying in an unbiased way.

I feel I need to do a better job of stopping the conversation and making sure that I’m encouraging him and acknowledging the things he has done well before responding to the things he has done that have bothered me or react to his criticizing something I or my parents have done.

The reason I think things go sour when they do is that my fiancé feels like I am focusing on the negative and not celebrating the successes. He ends up feeling that I’m disappointed in him and that he’s screwed up and he shuts down.

Wow! This was a HUGE breakthrough for Rachel – and her fiancé – and their relationship.

And so I invite you to consider –

During these days of quarantine, have you learned anything about yourself – anything that you want to change about yourself?

Has your partner?

But there’s more. . .

Way back in 2011, when he was 30 years old, Justin Timberlake (who, by the way, was a groomsman at a wedding I officiated ten years ago) gave an interview in Vanity Fair. At one point, he reflected on marriage and said:

“I think the mistake is that people commit to who that person is right then and not the person they’re going to become. That’s the art of staying together, is changing together.”

What a great insight! Marriage as the art, skill and commitment of changing together.

If that’s true, then I invite you to consider. . .

During these days of quarantine, have you changed in any way?

Has your partner?

Are you happy with the changes?

And, of course, THE question that makes these two quotes really intriguing is –

Will these insights impact how you continue to plan for your postponed wedding?

In what ways?

My hope is that your post-pandemic, “new normal” wedding, will be a deeper, richer celebration because of what you and your partner experienced as the world turned upside down!

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