When I became engaged, there were the excited phone calls and texts, congratulations, oohs and aahs at the ring, and a couple of hearty make-out sessions courtesy of my fiancé. I expected that, as I think most engaged couples do. What I didn’t expect, and what I am coming to find out is a common occurrence, was the increase in fighting. After a couple of weeks, Andrew and I became snappier, more defensive, and shorter tempered. This trend continued. Just recently I found myself sullen and quiet during a trip to World Market when Andrew called my idea to use a globe as a guest book “impractical” and “weird.” But we weren’t arguing just about wedding stuff. We were on edge about everything. There were a lot of heavy silences from him and ugly cries from me. This wasn’t the picture of a happy engaged couple we had in mind, especially since we were not prone to regularly argue before. If this has happened to you, I am sure you felt as bewildered as I did. After many reassuring talks with friends and a mention or two of this phenomenon in a wedding book, I felt some relief. Wedding planning is stressful. There may be a few who are just super organized or easygoing and would disagree, but for most, this is, of course, a happy time but a hair-pulling one, as well. Suddenly our relationship feels bigger and heavier and full of a bunch of decisions we need to make and haven’t. Throw in the expenses we have been researching, and BAM! We have ourselves a recipe for at the very least some frayed nerves.
So what has helped us soothe those nerves? There have been a couple of things. The first is we worked on communication. I know; duh! But good communication (as in not by raised voices and sarcasm) is harder than it sounds. I have found that timing is everything when it comes to communicating. I can talk about my feelings better if I’ve had a chance to cool off and gather my thoughts. Andrew communicates better depending on what time of day we talk. Right when he gets home from work or when he is ready to sleep are not helpful. I also find that it is best to not avoid the conversation for too long. A couple of hours after the World Market incident, I had time to reflect and explain calmly how his comments had hurt me. He understood and apologized for any offense he had caused, and we were able to enjoy the rest of our day without that anger hanging over our heads for days.
The next thing I would suggest is to take a break from planning if possible. Andrew and I are still over a year out from the season we want to get married during next year, so we have plenty of time. I decided to stop researching and reading wedding planning books for a week or so, and when we’ve had brief conversations about ideas now, it has been lighthearted.
The last thing that I have found to be helping tremendously is to just go have fun! Last weekend, Andrew and I went ice skating with some friends. There was no tension as Andrew held my hand while I clumsily skated beside him, both of us laughing and talking for a few hours. Sigh! Date nights or fun evenings in have been an awesome way for us to remember why we are getting married in the first place: we’re best friends.
Fear not, fellow or future brides or grooms! If your fuses have become a little shorter with your intended, just breathe and remember that relationships are a day-to-day process. Ditch the wedding talk for a night and go out and get some ice cream, rent a movie, or just take a walk together. You two are in this together.
Try to keep the love first,
P. S. I hope you all have Queen stuck in your heads right now. Dun Dun Dun Dun-Nananana…