Now that you are in the midst of planning your big day, you may find yourself feeling so crazed by wedding planning that you forget to nurture your relationship. It is not uncommon for couples to temporarily leave the "Love Boat" and hop a ride on the "Stress Express" before they even make it down the aisle.
Even when you steeped in tasks and tackling a huge to-do list, stressed-out couples need to take time out to honor the love they have and keep the lines of communication open.
If you ever feel your relationship needs a tune up, the first thing you can do is think back to the early days of love, when all you could think about was each other. And think back to the moment when you became engaged, when you were floating on air! Remember the things that led you to want to marry in the first place.
Here's a little exercise for clearing the air if you ever find yourself annoyed with each other, unloving toward each other, or stuck in a wedding planning rut. Just set aside some special time to share what's on your mind.
• Designate a special "Us Time." Make sure you have an appropriate setting and privacy and take a few moments to sit together quietly, decompressing from every day stress.
• Share a few moments of silent meditation. Just hold hands, look deeply into each others eyes and breathe in unison.
• Once you feel calm and connected, take turns sharing what is on your minds. For example, you speak for 15 to 30 minutes then your beloved speaks for 15 to 30 minutes.
• Don't yell, shame, or blame your beloved. If you are feeling unhappy about something, be careful not to blame or dump on your partner. Instead of saying, "I am so upset because you did this ... use statements that allow you to take responsibility. For example, "I would feel very supported if you would ... "
• Communicate clearly. Tell each other what your needs are so that you do not have to argue or try to act out your upsets. Makes sure each of you gets a chance to share and that the other listens in silence so that you can both clear whatever is weighing on you.
• Be loving. Although each of you must bear witness when the other talks, don't hesitate to touch one another or look at one another tenderly.
• Seal it with a kiss. Once you've both had a chance to say all that's on your mind, seal it with a hug and a kiss --and a vow to keep the channels of communication open.
If you find yourself coming up against an issue - over and over -- that neither of you seems to be able to come to truce about, consider counseling. Even a session or two with a trained therapist can be helpful.
Feel free to use this exercise after the wedding day and any time your relationship needs a tune-up!
Note: I first learned about this technique from therapist Richard Cohn, PhD.