How to maintain your relationship happiness through the stress of your wedding?
“It will be the happiest day of my life ever!” I hear her say and she continues “I want to remember this event for the rest of my life.”
I remember when I was consulting with a large company for a couple of months, when one day one of my female colleagues came back from Fiji. She was blushing with excitement and proudly showed us all her sparkling engagement ring. Ohh, she was so happy.
For the weeks and months to come, she was constantly organising something for her wedding. At one stage, I got so curious I had to ask her more about it. She had her “happiest day of my life” organised down to every fifteen minutes.
She had booked the entire premises at one of the top restaurants on the Northern Beaches and had ordered a stunning cake which was costing a fortune and was to be delivered by truck at a precise moment on the day.
My co-worker had organised the band and the guests from near and far and the MC. She was operating out of a great spreadsheet and eventually I couldn’t resist asking about the budget. Quietly she told me that originally it was $100,000 but by then – wedding still six months out at that point – she’d already blown it.
“What about your fiancé?” I asked “What does he want?” – “Ah, he’s happy with what I’m organising. He just wants to have a great party, have fun and get drunk with his mates.” She replied. “You have to ask my father about it…”, “Why?” I’ve asked. “Well he’s paying for it all, isn’t he?” she smiled back.
The average wedding now costs roughly $50,000, nearly the single biggest expense for a young couple, second only to entering the property market. No wonder a wedding can cause so much stress.
You want your wedding to be perfect. You want it to be remembered for all the right reasons. The bride wants to shine and to be “the most beautiful girl in the world” – and rightly so. Your special day really does come only once in a lifetime, right? So, you might as well splash out.
You want to make the right decisions and spend your money wisely. You want to fulfil all of your expectations, as well as those from your parents and your parents-in-law.
Remember: stress is the gap between expectations and reality.
With an upcoming wedding, the expectations run so high and the pressure on you and your wedding-plan is enormous. No wonder that this pressure can result in stress for you personally and also stress for your relationship.
Perhaps you’ve started to look at the guest list, and for some reason it seems to take on a life of its own. Your mother insists that you invite your aunts and uncles from overseas, which in turn means you need to invite your cousins too. Secretly you hope that they won’t come anyway. But when you invite that part of the family you need to invite from your other side too. You want to invite your work colleagues too. They are like friends and before you even know it there are 200 names on your list. Now you need to find a venue to celebrate in style. Where do they stay?
Even though you are not paying for their overnight stay you need to find and communicate with hotels and B&Bs to give your guests from overseas some options for accommodation.
Then one thing leads to another and lo and behold, you realise that your budget is too small, which adds another stress factor to the mix.
All along you try to keep your composure and keep your relationship going as well. Are you both on the same page? Is one of you organising your wedding day down to the last dotted I and crossed T, while the other is sitting on the fence, commenting occasionally on your efforts and decisions?
I once worked together with an MC. We sat in his office and all these calls came in from stressed out couples, wanting to find someone to hold their hand on that special day and guide them through the busy itinerary. The absolute majority of calls came from women, he confirmed it by saying “It is always the bride making the call.” He continued, “she’s the one organising it. The groom just wants to have a good time and get over and done with it.” This seems to be the case with most of the couples I’ve asked as well.
I remember that my niece sent me the video of their wedding in Germany – we stayed in Australia due to other commitments. When we looked at the video I said to my wife “Look how stressed she looks, she’s not enjoying it.” My niece was trying to make her wedding perfect, working around the clock totally missing the fun. It hardly seemed like the happiest day of her life.
What you could do to maintain your relationship.
Make a wish
First of all, you both need to ask yourselves ~ what do you both want from the wedding?
There is no wrong answer, it really could be so many different things. You would be wise to find out from each other exactly what your expectations are before you begin to plan your day. I just want to have fun and party.
- I just want to seal our love with a ring.
- I want to party hard with all my friends and celebrate.
- I want to have the best party of my life.
- I want to show everyone how happy I am.
- I want to get the blessing from God.
- I want to host a huge family event that everyone will talk about for years to come.
- What do YOU want?
Remember, it is your party. It is your day together. You both need to feel good before, during and after the wedding. It could be the $100,000 wedding in a hatted restaurant. It could as well be a $5,000 wedding in your local pub. It could be a trip to Vanuatu inviting all your friends and relatives to that fantastic resort everyone is raving about. Or it could be that the two of you travel to Las Vegas and come back as husband and wife. The options are endless.
A lot of couples fall into the trap of trying to outperform someone else. It must be greater, more spectacular and more elaborate than any wedding you’ve been to before.
It is not a competition! Rather find out what you both really want!
Instead of spending 40, 50 or even 100 thousand dollars on an event you mainly feel obliged to organise because of peer pressure and pressure from your combined parents, you are better off spending a couple of dollars on your relationship.
- Travel together.
- Find out what you really want in your relationship.
- Find out what your partner wants.
- Find out what it takes to create and maintain a lasting relationship, a life-long relationship.
That’s by far the best investment you can make for your relationship.
Because at the end of the day, the biggest challenge is not organising a stunning wedding. The biggest challenge is keeping your relationship a loving, intimate and respectful one for the years to come.
We all know or have heard of couples who spent huge sums of money on their wedding only to find out that the stress of the day soured the fun for them. It doesn’t feel like a good start to a marriage, and that is the biggest stress of all.
My tip for you:
- Keep it simple.
- What kind of party gives you and your partner the biggest joy?
- Go with your gut and do not let your decisions be dictated to by others or by convention.
- You are your own best counsellors.
If in doubt, I’m more than happy to help you to find out what you really want.
Simply comment on this blog or send me an email and I’ll get in touch.
Recently I spoke with a client of mine about her long way to separation.
I’ve asked her what went through her mind while she was still in the relationship but wanted to get out. I was wondering what kind of thoughts were circling around in her head.
Was it denial? Was it anger?
“No” she said, “I just felt utterly helpless.”
She had her bag packed to leave, but she never did.
One of her friends eventually said to her “You have to unpack your bag!” and my client responded “What are you talking about?” To what her friend responded “You have your bag packed, haven’t you? I know this, I’ve been there myself. But you need to unpack it, because you are not leaving him.”
The point I want to make here is, that we all face situations in our lives where we feel utterly helpless. That’s the time when we reach out to friends or mentors or even professionals.
And in my experience the most difficult challenge for all of us is a relationship that does not serve you, that does not fulfil you and that does not make you happy.
It is so difficult to admit to others that your relationship is at an end. You might not even admit it to yourself. You hope against all odds that some miracle is going to happen and everything is going to be alright.
And then you pack you bag. Certain to leave at the next turning point, the next insult or the next hurt.
That moment comes and goes and you are still sitting there with your bag packed.
Now you are not only furious with your partner, you are even more furious with yourself.
Why can’t you just leave and get over with it?
The little voices inside your head starting to whisper: “Where are you going to live?”, “How will you survive?”, “Will you ever see the kids again?” “If you leave now you forfeit the money or the house or both.”
Unless your vision is stronger than your memory, you don’t go anywhere.
So, you talk to a friend and put it all out there. And then you go home and unpack that bag and hope against all odds that things will change.
What can you do to get out of this cycle?
You only have three options when you are stuck in this unhealthy cycle: Stay, Leave or Change
Staying is the easiest option with the least amount of effort, but also the most frustrating one.
Leaving is harder, because you don’t know where and you don’t know what might happen.
And Change is the hardest of these three options.
Maybe there is still some life in your relationship. Maybe you can resuscitate it with the help of some guidance and positive reactions from your partner.
To do that, you really need to change – not your partner – but yourself. You can’t change the other person; you can only change yourself.
You need to break out of the toxic cycle at home. You need to understand what triggers your reactions and what triggers the reactions of your partner.
Chances are that you are in a behavioural pattern that is neither healthy for your relationship nor for the two of you.
And here is sentence you need to read twice to understand.
If one partner in a relationship changes their behaviour, the other partner cannot not change.
If one partner in a relationship changes their behaviour, the other partner cannot not change.
In other words, if you change your behaviour at home, towards your partner, in arguments you have, and in your whole body-language towards your partner, your partner will notice and also change (involuntarily at first) their own behaviour.
This does not guarantee that your relationship is going to be a happy and healthy one again. The only guarantee I can give you, is that your relationship will change and you have a chance in rescuing it.
It might change for the worse and you’ll want to pack your bag again, but by then you’ll know you’ve given it everything you’ve got, so you won’t doubt your decision.
Or, you could change your story for the better, and build a happier, healthier relationship that finally meets your needs.
In my book you find over 50 practical and proven tips that helps you to find areas for change within your relationship. Order your signed copy now or download the e-Book.
This morning, while walking at the beach, I saw a little girl alone with her surfboard staring out into the roaring sea. She was freezing and shivering. “My dad is still out there surfing” she responded when I asked her. “Oh, does he know you are standing here waiting in the freezing wind?” And she assured me that he would know.
When I walked on, I took a look out to sea myself but could not make out which of the surfers might be her father and I could not see anyone making an effort to come to shore soon. I left her and walked on but turned my head around every now and then to see whether her father would finally pick her up.
My thoughts went to my own children and I asked myself whether I would have left one of my sons standing there, shivering and freezing. I doubt it.
You see, having children means making a lot of sacrifices.
My younger son was born in 1995 during a very hot summer in Germany. It was the same year that the famous artist Christo had finally got the permission to wrap the German Reichstag in cloth for three weeks. It was an absolute happening and was featured by every media outlet in Europe. We had planned to drive to Berlin and spend a weekend there to witness the wrapped Reichstag and celebrate this event.
It wasn’t to be.
Our second son demanded attention and we decided it would be too stressful for all of us to drive to Berlin in the heat with a newborn baby. So, we didn’t. Am I resentful? Not one bit.
Another time, with our first born at 7 days old… I had made the perfect steak with greens and a nice sauce and plated it for my wife and I. At the exact moment we decided to sit and eat, my son also decided that he would be fed. So, I put the plates into the oven to keep them warm and we ate thirty minutes later – a lukewarm, overcooked steak. It happened all the time really, I’m sure you have similar jokes in your family.
There are so many stories I share with my wife where one or both of our kids spoiled an experience for various reasons.
As parents, we actually make sacrifices on a daily basis.
The same is true for your relationship with your spouse.
A successful marriage is a path of compromises and sometimes sacrifices.
If you are not prepared to give in and to find a way of compromise, your relationship won’t last. You’ll build resentment.
If you perceive the actions, choices and wishes of your partner as threatening because they interfere with your own actions, choices and wishes; you are missing the chance for a having a loving, intimate and respectful relationship.
You see, in your relationship, it is not about winning or losing, it is not about whose wishes are fulfilled more often. It is all about the respect for each other and the mindfulness we give.
If you would run the actions, words and requests from your partner through the filter of Love and Understanding first, you would be able to see the reason behind their actions. And usually the reason is not to harm you or to anger you, but deeply rooted in their own world and situation.
Seeking first to understand the reason why your partner is acting a certain way allows you to react in a much more loving and respectful way. It helps to see both sides of the coin.
In those moments, you will be happy to sacrifice your own wishes.
Of course, you could also ask her/him what is really going on in their life right now. Which in turn allows you to talk about your own situation and maybe you can find a compromise where both of your wishes can be fulfilled in a harmonious way.
After I walked about half a kilometre from the girl on the beach, I finally saw a man paddling to shore and taking his daughter into his arm and they both left hand in hand.
And we will never know the full story that unfolded in this situation. Maybe they had made an agreement to go surfing together for ten minutes and after three minutes the girl had had enough and her father wanted to teach her a lesson about keeping promises. Maybe this happens each time and he just wanted to make a point by not coming to the shore immediately. Or maybe he was just surfing and enjoying himself not thinking of her being freezing and shivering.
For more tips please refer to my book – now available as e-book for you to download.
I regularly assess the 3,000 responses we now have to my online quiz, and I am always left reflecting upon the daring questions some members of our community asked confidentially there.
I’m sure you are not surprised to hear that the number one issue that comes up again and again is with regards to Trust.
Here are a few quotes:
- “Can you forget an affair?”
- “How do I trust him again?”
- “Why would he cheat?”
- “Can they be saved after an affair?”
- “Does everyone cheat?”
The list is endless.
Trust is such a difficult beast that is never completely tame. It is risky business.
In my book I wrote “to build trust you need to do two things…keep promises…and be trusting yourself.”
In other words, you need to actively make sure that your words, your promises and your deeds match up. You need to consistently show that you are worthy of trust. Equally important however, is that you start from a place where you offer and show your partner your trust.
If you are always questioning your partner, or if you feel the need to know every detail of his or her day, who they have been with, where they have gone, you will find that your partner will begin lose trust in you as well.
It has to do with the energy you are vibrating. If you are trusting in your behaviours and actions with your partner, you are sending an energy of trust. Couple this sense of trustworthiness with you keeping your word consistently, and your trust level rises even higher.
The problem is that you can build up trust over years and years and then in one single moment you can lose it all.
I’m not talking about the fact that you forgot to bring home the milk. Well, if that’s happening every other week your partner might start to write the shopping list for you.
No, I’m talking about having an affair or flirting with another person.
That one time of you violating the trust in your relationship has the potential to eradicate all the trust that your partner has put into you over all these years.
You are literally back to zero.
Or even worse, because you now have the label of not-being-trustworthy, you may even begin to doubt if you can commit to what it takes to rebuild the trust your relationship deserves.
The only way out of the fog is to work through it together – otherwise you’ll end up trapped in the maze of misery forever.
You both need to take a clear look at your relationship and admit to each other what is missing, where you could improve, or what was lacking personally from the person who decided to stray.
An affair does not happen just randomly – there is always a story behind it. Something may not be working in your relationship, perhaps you felt lonely and unheard, or this may have happened because of boredom, immaturity, entitlement or even simply opportunity. There will be a lot of questions, a lot of reassuring, and perhaps even deeper underlying reasons that are often harder to identify.
You both need to articulate what it is, why this happened, and how you are going to renew your relationship to make it stronger.
Still, unless you both are not taking an unobstructed view at your relationship, you can’t rebuild the trust.
And what might sound even more difficult: you both need to forgive.
The one who cheated needs to forgive themselves.
The one whose been cheated on need to forgive their partner.
Make no mistake, this process is extremely difficult and I highly recommend that you seek professional help when you need to deal with this kind of situation.
If you are not going through this process of reflection, forgiveness and change, your relationship will always be under the dark cloud of mistrust.
Just read the comments above again. The frustration is almost palpable, built up over years of misery and distrust.
Here are few more:
- “How do I let go of the past when the same behaviour keeps happening?”
- “Do men always cheat?”
- “Can a cheater change?”
There are ways to rebuild trust and reconnect with each other to help improve your relationship, strengthening bonds and communication as you work through the pain of betrayal. If you want to find out how I might be able to help you, please connect with me and let’s have a chat.
I understand that it is not easy to define the right time when to work on your relationship. Everything seems to be fine, so why even think about it?
We go to the doctor when we are in pain, not when we are fit like a spring chicken.
We go to the garage with our car when something does not sound right, or a red light is on the dashboard.
And we call the plumber when there is a leaking tap or low water pressure.
Let’s put it this way…
Would you rather learn to swim in a calm rock pool or in crushing waves?
Would you rather learn to sail while the weather is fine or when a storm is building?
Would you rather explore the beauty of a place in sunshine or in rain or hail?
I understand that we all think we have bigger fish to fry.
The mortgage is a constant threat in the back of our minds. The kids are constantly fighting and we need to keep them calm. The job is demanding and the daily commute is a drain. We can’t keep up with all our friends and relatives and we hardly have any time for ourselves to regenerate and recharge.
Where on earth do you find the time (and the energy) to work on your relationship?
Actually, we should be looking at this the other way around. Once your relationship is happy, relaxed and energising, everything else seems to feel like it’s going smoothly as well. The kids are fighting less, because they see and feel the happiness within you and want to be part of it. The mortgage is still threatening, but now you are a team and can manage it together. Your relationship becomes the source for your strength to stay calm in your job and positive while commuting. And because your relationship is working, you find enough time for yourself to recharge.
Your relationship is the hub of the spinning wheel of your life.
The other day a couple approached me to engage in 1on1 coaching. They were having a tough time. So we exchanged some emails and two weeks later they got back to me saying ~ “The situation has improved, we are fine for now.”
I support you to create and maintain a loving, intimate and respectful relationship. I want to save marriages all around the world. Actually, I set myself the goal to save 1,000,000 marriages with my Inspiring Relationships process and products.
I can’t fix a broken relationship.
When the trust is gone, when the passion has vanished, when the excitement has left and the communication is stalling; it is already too late.
When the proverbial mess hits the fan, I don’t have the magic pill to make it all smooth again.
In my LoveCycle ™ I can help you as long as you are hopeful and keen to avoid the Fighting phase. Once you are struggling in your relationship, it is too late for me to intervene.
One of the first things I ask people or couples wanting to work with me personally is “How far out of the door are you already?” In other words how fed up are you? Or even more direct: “Do you think your relationship can be saved?”
When the responses are “I’m already 6/10 gone.” or “No, I really doubt that this can be rescued.” You have the answer right in front of your eyes.
I don’t have a magic wand like Harry Potter.
I’ve seen too many cases where both partners avoided paying attention to the state of their relationship for too long. They let it slide and things have gone from bad to worse without acting – and then it is too late.
Just the other day I met a nice young man online and were chatting and he then said “Jurgen, I could have used your services 2 years ago. It would have saved me a lot of trouble, pain, tears and money. We just signed the paperwork a few weeks ago. I’m single again.”
It does not need to be that way.
There are over 50 proven tips and techniques you can apply in your relationship right now and thereby turn it to a happy and supportive one. The question to you is, when do you want to start to learn about them?
I’ll leave you with a final thought ~ when it comes to your health, would you rather take a vitamin or an antibiotic?
My purpose is to provide you with the vitamin for your relationship.
To ask for your doses, please contact me and organise a free initial phone call.