The family and I are freshly back from celebrating my cousin’s wedding. She married her long time beau and the whole family, in-laws, outlaws, friends, etc. were there to celebrate the occasion. Not long after the ceremony, my 5 year old niece exclaimed “I wish I was getting married today”. I said, “Oh sweetie, one day you will and we will all be there to love and support you too”.
Her obvious enchantment with the whole day made me think of the wedding through the eyes of a child, with the bride looking like a princess and the giant cake looking like sugar heaven. I remembered being young at family weddings and feeling like I was in a dream, in awe of all the excitement and beauty on display.
Now, as an adult and a therapist I look at weddings a bit differently. I see them not only as the marker of two lives joining into one, but also as a moment in time that is mixed with excitement, anticipation and fear of what the future holds.
Fear on a wedding day may sound intense, but there is so much unknown, how can we not be afraid? I mean, what happens if we expect marriage to be as magical as our wedding day? What happens if we haven’t spent the time looking at our individual and joint expectations of marriage?
Are we setting ourselves up to be disappointed if we haven't prepare for the hard times? What if we go in with the best of intentions but have little to no conversations about what we will do when the times get tough?
Sadly, I see this happen often in my practice. Couples that start off with a very loving but naïve view of marriage. They know they love the other person, but aren't quite sure of what that looks like when the relationship hits bumps. Or even what they will do when they are so angry they can’t even look at each other. Preparation for how we will handle these times is part of the premarital process.
A loving marriage takes dedication. It's the continual turning towards and choosing of the other person, even when it seems so much easier to turn away. And we need the support of our family and friends to be successful on the journey.
Being able to answer these questions is part of setting the stage for a successful marriage. Don't be afraid to talk about how you will handle the hard stuff. Spend some time answering the questions raised in this post, I promise it will help you game plan.
And to my loving 5 year old niece, as your family we will always try our hardest to model to you what loving relationships look like. And to my beautiful cousin and her handsome groom, we, as your family commit to continually support you on this journey called marriage far beyond just being there to celebrate your recent nuptials.
Lastly, for those of you out there that are getting married or are recently married, now is the best time to start counseling as a way to lay a strong and sturdy foundation for your relationship to grow on for years to come.
Let’s talk about what that would look like in your relationship, 916.955.3200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.