I don’t mean to make light of the real stressors for brides-to-be. From outfits for each occasion, their fitting, putting on or losing weight and how well the blouses will come out. The cost of everything and trying to stay within a budget, no matter how big, is a major concern for most families. Thinking about how the families will get along at the wedding and after, worrying about some eccentric relatives and if they would rub each other the wrong way on your big day, wondering if everyone will have a good time…
Yes, planning a wedding can be stressful, but if just a portion of the time and money was invested instead in pre-marital counseling or in a short retreat together to talk about how the couple will deal with conflict later on, the success rate of marriages will be so much higher. If parents could speak openly with their kids about the expenses going into the wedding and see if the new couple would prefer an investment in something else like a home, a deposit towards a home, a car, health insurance or anything else more useful to the couple, this too could save many a marriage from falling apart for reasons that could have been avoided with some pre-planning.
The Right Plan
Brides spend so much more time planning a perfect wedding than they do preparing for a happy marriage. We Indians are most guilty of this as our weddings go on for days and the amount of money and intricate planning that goes into getting every micro detail perfect is truly superfluous, especially when weighed against the lack of attention invested in ensuring a happy life for the bride and groom after.
This decision will probably be the most impactful decision you can make in your life. A happy marriage is one of the biggest contributing factors to a successful life. It does take both partners to be willing to plan for the marriage though and if you can enroll your spouse to discuss each other’s expectations and whether you’d be able or willing to meet them instead of naively hoping it will all just work out by itself, you will find yourself a little less stressed out after.
At the same time though, there are some things you can and should address as an individual. Relationships are mirrors that help us see who we are and how we react. Our spouse will often be the one to push all our buttons and cause us to become irritated and upset. Sharing our personal space with someone new can also be a trigger for stress. Many people make light and joke about leaving the toilet seat up or down, but simple things like that are important when you want to thrive in your relationship together. Discussing the non-negotiable issues and coming to some compromises is essential.
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Do you speak the same language?
I mean love languages, In Gary Chapman’s book he mentions these 5 and simplistically putting it, if you are speaking in different languages, lots can be lost in translation.
- Words of Affirmation
“If this is your love language, you feel most cared for when your partner is open and expressive in telling you how wonderful they think you are, how much they appreciate you, etc.”
- Acts of Service
“If your partner’s offering to watch the kids so you can go to the gym (or relieving you of some other task) gets your heart going, then this is your love language.”
“This love language is just as it sounds. A warm hug, a kiss, touch, and sexual intimacy make you feel most loved when this is your love language.”
- Quality Time
“This love language is about being together, fully present and engaged in the activity at hand, no matter how trivial.”
“Your partner taking the time to give you a gift can make you feel appreciated.”
Learning beforehand what your partner’s love language is will support you in being able to show and receive love.
You can also watch my video “Love Strategies” which explains in 4 minutes how you can learn how to keep each other satisfied.
Suddenly living together can also be a stressor and in our society, very few get to live together before being married. Being honest upfront about each other’s family involvement, allotment of money and resources, home and social responsibilities, personal practices and priorities are such fundamental things that need to be discussed before jumping onto the “mandap”. (wedding platform)
Dispel the myths about sex, intimacy and communication in marriage by educating yourself. Work out how conflicts will be resolved and make some commitments to each other. Many believe in not going to bed angry, and then there are some who feel that sometimes you just can’t settle an argument before bed, so be okay with having disagreements and accept that you can still cuddle and love each other despite having disagreements.
Topics like sex, money, family, kids, religion, education for kids, looking after parents, career priorities and long term goals and dreams need to be talked about at some point. I have a client who didn’t want kids as she was the sole provider for her parents and discussed this with her husband to be before they tied the knot.
One bride I spoke to said. “I feel like we should be considerate towards each other almost as if we are actually roommates, living with friends or acquaintances. Then we’d be more considerate, instead of just piling on expectations.”
Having said that, I still do believe from the bottom of my heart that marriage takes compromise and the sooner we reframe the word “compromise” the better. This is an excerpt from my latest book, “The Mind Spa – Ignite Your Inner Life Coach”.
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