Murphy’s Love: Advice on Intimacy and Relationships
DEAR STACY, I will be getting married this summer and have been having the hardest time planning the wedding. I won’t admit this to my family, but I think I’m really the “problem.” Nothing is coming together the way I had dreamed it would. I don’t love our venue, but I can’t find a better place to have the reception. I don’t love the flowers, but we cannot afford anything nicer. I basically hate my dress – it’s uncomfortable and too shiny, and we’ve already bought it so I have no choice. I’m just being a whiny, teary, angry mess all the time. What can you do when your dreams are not possible and you have no control? –Bride-to-be
DEAR BRIDE, This sounds horrible and terribly sad. I’m not talking about the situation, mind you, but the mood of your message. You are making a decision to fuse your life with another person’s – forever. Anxiety and worries about venues and nice flowers are all reasonable, but shouldn’t there be some excitement that supersedes those concerns? I can’t offer tips for stretching your wedding dollars, and I won’t try to convince you that every bride looks gorgeous, no matter how shiny her dress is. I will ask if you remember the person you are marrying? That guy? Why not focus on him for a moment? I know it can be hard to turn off the images of the wedding industrial complex, but in reality, the big day is about joining two lives, not creating the best representation of your childhood fantasy wedding. When we take time to get grounded in our purpose – a.k.a. building a new life with another person – the other stuff looks better or, better yet, stops mattering so much.
You already know that there is something not right about your reactivity here, so give yourself room to get to the bottom of it. (Prepare yourself for my standard pitch for premarital counseling here.) What about scheduling a few appointments with an experienced couples counselor? Even if there aren’t any specific disagreements to tackle, dedicating some time to deepening your connection will help you refocus whenever worries about flowers and cakes start to bubble over. You also can start tonight, by sharing your anxieties with Fiancé, not to solve them, but to consider ways to set them aside together.
Stacy Notaras Murphy is a licensed professional counselor and certified Imago Relationship therapist practicing in Georgetown. Her website is www.stacymurphyLPC.com and you can follow her on twitter @StacyMurphyLPC. This column is meant for entertainment only, and should not be considered a substitute for professional counseling.