Summer is well underway which means you've probably heard wedding bells ring... a few times. Yes, its wedding season folks, which means a surge of pastel invitations, half of your paycheck spent on that perfect "guest dress" and a lot of celebrating. We spend this time carefully selecting gifts off of registries and yes, wondering why on earth there are so many pre-wedding events, celebrations and guestly duties. Weddings become weekend getaways, things to look forward to and, of course, the celebration of people you love being in love. Seeing someone tie the knot can bring up powerful emotions for many. Watching loved ones walk down the aisle can shed light on insecurities about whether or not we too will find love, or whether or not the love we have is, in fact, "the one." They can also fill us with determination to find someone or something to fill our lives and bring out a newfound sense of motivation. And, even though weddings are about bringing people together, they can force us to compare ourselves, our happiness and our successes and failures. Wedding season brings to light the extreme ends of the emotional spectrum sometimes tying us into emotional knots of our own.
I propose three vows that can help keep us knot-free as we hitch ourselves to wedding season happiness!
1) Define Marriage: The first solution lies in the definition of marriage itself, not in legal terms but rather the alternative: a combination or mixture of two or more elements. Marriage is mixture. It is a way for one person and another to unify under the eyes of their family, the law and whatever divine spirit they do or do not choose. When we think of it like that, it's easy to find a sense of balance and peace to this time of year. Instead of seeing what we don't have, what we aspire for or what we are missing out on at weddings, let's consider our own unions; the mixtures in our lives. Do you have an amazing relationship with your mom? Have you developed a newfound sense of self-awareness? Bonded with an old friend or coworker? All of that is the mixing and combining of selves, ideas and people and that is something to celebrate!
2) Nix The Sense of Competition: Once we've gotten the idea of marriage under our belt let's get rid of the competition that surrounds it. It's natural to compare yourself to others this time of year, but let's do it in a healthy way. Instead of feeling resentful of someone else's relationship we can think about the aspects of that union that we'd love to emulate: Does the couple have a great sense of humor together? Do they take the time to plan creative date nights or alone time? Do you love the way they treat each other with kindness and respect? Have they taught you a valuable lesson in what to look for in a partner? Beyond the engagement, celebrate the fun aspects of the celebration as well! Do you love the way the bridesmaids wore their hair? Are you inspired by the wedding theme? Do you NEED that shade of green in your living room? Did you have a great conversation with a relative at the nuptials? These are all ways to turn that sense of competitiveness into celebration!
3) Value Your Independence: Weddings are a time to commemorate the unions in life, but they are also a great way to value your own independence. You don't need someone else to feel complete! Even if you're happily married you can still take the time to think about all of the things you do on your own that make you great. Are you a leader? An entrepreneur? Are you creative? What makes you feel fulfilled? Ask yourself what you love about YOU!
Once you've considered these three, perspective changes, you'll find wedding season more enjoyable and WAY less stressful.
So enjoy going to a wedding or two this summer. Have fun, drink champagne and eat cake, but don't consume yourself with what someone else's wedding vows mean about your own life. Your life is wonderful, and it is wholly yours. If a husband or wife enters the scene, great! If not, great! You have incredible unions, marriages and mixtures to celebrate on your own, with yourself, as long as you (both) shall live.