I love my mother, but she’s driving me crazy.
The stress is too much; I’m ready to elope.
I can’t believe the nerve of some of my guests!
I’m trying to please everyone, but. . .
Whatever she wants is fine with me. I’m staying out of it.
I’m worried it won’t be perfect.
I’m not sure – is it okay to. . .
These are some of the all-time most popular laments I’ve heard from couples.
Planning for a wedding is unlike any other experience you’ll have and there really is no way to prepare for it. How you communicate during the planning of your wedding will determine how you handle the stress of it all as well as how you communicate in the months and years after your wedding.
At the birthday party of a friend, I met David and Paula (names changed), a couple who had just celebrated their first wedding anniversary. David and his family are culturally Jewish while Paula is agnostic. Her father, though, is an atheist and her mother Roman Catholic. They told me that while planning their wedding they were quickly overwhelmed with the politics of it all.
After a run-in with his family over their decision not to have a Chuppah, they realized the sanest thing they could do for each other was to work through each issue as it came along—prioritizing the details from most to least important.
When I connect with a couple a week or so before their wedding, I usually find them to be both excited and exhausted. They’re excited because “the” day is near at hand. And they’re exhausted because of all the demands and stress they never imagined they’d encounter during the planning of their “big day.” Here are. . .
8 core truths in mind to keep in mind so as to feel less dazed and confused during planning
- You are a couple. Protect each other. Is your mother or some other relative or friend complaining about “that person” you’re marrying? The time to set boundaries is now – not after your wedding. Remember – we train people how to treat us. And “train” is not too strong a word.
- You are a couple. You are not victims. Take responsibility for your wants, needs, wishes, feelings and choices. All of these have consequences. With courage, embrace these responsibilities and consequences. This is the only way you can honor and protect each other.
- You are a couple. And your family members are consistent. No one is going to change. Be prepared for all those old familiar buttons being pushed.
- You are a couple. Again, I say—establish boundaries. You are no longer a child. You are not a pair of children playing house. People owe you respect. Do what is needed to receive that respect.
- say “no” when needed
- understand you cannot please everyone
- respect your right to feelings
- recall that you cannot change anyone
- refuse to be taken advantage of
- You are a couple. You are each other’s home. And from that place of home, you may have to have conversations with family or friends that are “sticky.” Keep the following in mind:
- do not keep things bottled up inside
- speak from a place of “I” – do not begin with “you this” and “you that”
- do not accuse, do not yell, do not be sarcastic
- make it safe for you and the other – ask if you can talk with them about the issue that is troubling you
- speak assertively – not aggressively
- resist becoming defensive – take responsibility for your share of the situation without assuming a posture of guilt
- make sure you are speaking about the “right” issue – is it a particular experience or is it a pattern of behavior you want to speak to?
- focus on what it is you want from the conversation and the person – is this person capable of giving you want you want?
- You are a couple. Whatever challenges one of you may encounter see them as being shared by the two of you.
- You are a couple. Remind each other of your love.
- You are a couple. Laugh your heads off.
If you want tips on how to communicate in smart, healthy ways with your partner – during wedding planning and beyond –
check out my book,
How to Plan Your Wedding AND Stay Sane!
Treat you and your partner to a communications coaching session with me.
Click HERE for details!