Differences and disagreements are as inevitable in wedding planning as they are in marriage itself. If your feeling it now, I guarantee you’ll feel it later on in you marriage. Any most likely, where the stress comes from, will be the same source later in your marriage as well. With that said, this is a great time to learn how to deal with them. Here are some strategies you might find helpful:
1. Consider the big picture as it affects each decision. Some decisions will be made consequentially as other wishes are discussed. For example, the guest list should be created early because it shapes decisions about facilities and costs, among other things. If one of you wants a tropical beach wedding and the other a home town wedding, you can discuss these options in the light of other issues such as the fact both of you want your frail grandparents to come to your wedding. Seeing the larger picture can help you resolve differences.
2. Ask yourselves who cares more about the issue. You can decide to gracefully adjust your preference if your partner has strong feelings about an issue. Another wards, pick your battles. You may prefer a small, intimate wedding but your partner has cherished the family tradition of a large wedding. So rather, try setting a number that gives more to the person who cares the most but on another issue, you may care a lot and your partner should adjust to your wants. This is the foundation of a good start in marriage.
3. Periodically assess your wedding-planning stress and feelings of competency. If your partner has not followed through on a task they were responsible for, or if you feel better equipped for a particular task, politely offer to help or take over (e.g., I am interested in photography and have a light work schedule next week. Is it okay if I research a photographer?) The key is to agree together on a shift of responsibility, rather than saying, since you won’t do it, I will! The person who has been relieved of one responsibility should then offer to help with other responsibilities.
4. Teach and learn from one another rather than assuming the other gets it. Sometimes one of you will not see a problem that is quite clear to the other. You can both educate each other about your families and their traditions. The groom from a Catholic family should explain to his Protestant bride what is involved in a traditional Catholic wedding, rather than having surprises keep coming up. Or I see this quite often when both families come together. Each person should inform and educate their partner on each others families so you can discuss how you feel about dealing with it.
5. When you are doing your best to deal with your differences and yet remain polarized, consider whether deeper issues are underlying your conflict. For example, sometimes the issue is not about the size of the wedding but about a feeling of envy or competition because one of you has a bigger family or circle of friends. Sometimes the issue is not between the two of you, but because of another issue or with another person. The best solutions to finding and resolving these conflicts are speaking for yourself using “I” statements rather than attacking the other person using “You”, listening to understand before proposing solutions, and choosing the best time and place to talk about difficult matters. Your everyday communication patterns might be fine for everyday matters, but when you are negotiating a wedding, it’s good to be at your best and different situations require different style of communication.
I’m almost sure I’ve left some stressors out. So feel free to COMMENT in the box below on any of these.
Or let us know what’s stressing you out.