When you dreamt about your wedding as a child -- and maybe even later on -- you probably envisioned a beautiful white dress, wedding bells ringing and smiles all around while the bouquet is being tossed. You probably didn't picture the possibility of the stress of planning the wedding itself reaching the point where much of the joy surrounding that special day disappears and becomes a burden on your relationship! While wedding planning can be an exciting time for you and your family, sometimes it's easy to lose sight of why you're planning it in the first place. If you're in the midst of planning your wedding, take a few minutes to remember it's just a party and the main event happens after the honeymoon literally and perhaps figuratively ends. Don't fall for some of the classic wedding mistakes many couples make that can wreak havoc on your relationship:
It's a family affair
Some say a marriage is the joining of two families. This is lovely in theory; however, two families means more opinions, agendas, and the possibility of clashing personalities. Family members can be at their worst when under the stress this can create. The priorities that exist for you and your partner can get lost when you're trying to please too many people. To make matters worse, you might be drawn to defend your own family's agenda, while your partner is doing the same, leading to arguments and conflict between the two of you. Remember, the wedding is a celebration of your love as a couple. If you find that you're listening to your families more than to each other, make it essential to take some time on a regular basis to discuss what's important to both of you for the wedding and in your relationship as it transitions to a lifelong commitment. In-laws can only be a problem here if either of you let them get between the two of you.
Getting lost in the details
Another common problem before walking down the aisle is getting too caught up in trivial details. If you're obsessing over whether the tablecloths are eggshell or off-white, you might not be paying attention to the day-to-day nurturing your relationship needs. Just because you've made the decision to get married and made it past the engagement, doesn't mean your relationship is without conflict. In reality, the best relationships are those where both partners realize the value in working on them on an ongoing basis. You may find it helpful to isolate wedding planning to a select time during the week. During other times, agree to make sure talk isn't only wedding-related. Instead, stay connected to and focused on the other elements of each other's lives.
Practice for the future
The stressful nature of planning a wedding gives you and your partner the opportunity to practice resolving many of the issues you will face as a couple. Learning how to compromise is essential. It's quite rare to find two people who want the exact same things. There may need to be tradeoffs. One of you may want a band while the other wants a DJ. Maybe one partner wants a small wedding, while the other a very large one. When contemplating these differences, practice the art of compromise. For example, financial issues also come up while planning a wedding, as they are costly events. If you haven't already, this is a good time to have a discussion about priorities when it comes to spending and saving money. If it turns out that you and your partner have very different ideas about how to handle money, the best time to address and resolve it is before the wedding!
Most of all, enjoy the day!
Entertaining out-of-towners, keeping track of your vendors and tracking the weather can be taxing. Trust me on this: When the wedding actually happens, the small details won't really mean very much. During the reception, take a minute to step outside of the party with your new spouse and look in at the joyous occasion. Everyone is there to celebrate your love and wish you a happy and healthy future together. Most of all, don't forget to have fun! And the best way to do this is to let your wedding day be one you look back on with positive feelings, by leaving all the trivial nonsense behind.
Follow Michael S. Broder, Ph.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DrMichaelBroder