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Drama of getting married 3178 views
When you first make the joyful decision to get married, the idea has a simplicity that means it’s within your control. But once you’ve shared your news with family and friends, your romantic tale risks taking on the life of a full-blown three-act play. Lesley Stratton Hughes discusses why.
As soon as others become involved in the idea of your wedding, so do their thoughts, feelings and opinions – and the reactions are not always what you might have hoped for. For some couples, a wedding abroad may be the answer; an escape with a small party to a sunny isle can overcome some of the obstacles. But others have found that the classic characters of the wedding drama tend to pop up wherever the wedding takes place. Irrational future mothers-in-law, difficult bridesmaids, over-critical parents and unresponsive friends are as ingrained within the fabric of getting married as estranged fathers and unwelcome stepmothers.
Familiar? You may take comfort in the fact that you are not alone in recognising these scenarios. It’s not only you who has been subjected to heated phone calls, angry texts and sarcastic emails. This is standard wedding warfare that conjures up an acrimonious spirit, causing potentially heartbreaking damage to family relations. You may later retell your drama with humour and irony but right now it can feel like some people are out to sabotage your happiness, and you may be more than a little shocked at the emotional onslaught that has come your way.
Why so many problems?
What is it about a wedding that makes some people behave so badly? Are they really so mean and self-centred or is there more to it than that? Here is a side to getting married that is often overlooked because it is at odds with the fairytale image, but it provides some answers as to why people behave they way they do and what you can do about it.
1. Cutting ties hurts
You may have left home long ago but to parents there is a finality in your getting married that symbolises the end of things as they were. The relationship between father and daughter, or mother and son – as well as the complex bond that exists between most girls and their mums – comes into question. Amongst the celebration and joy sits a well of sadness, fear and often confusion that deserves some attention.
2. Getting married involves separation and loss
For a father, especially, the act of giving away his daughter can highlight his feeling of you leaving him. In getting married you face a loss of your single life and your single way of being. Getting engaged starts in motion a separation process that everyone close to you will react to in their unique and complicated ways.
3. Time to let go of the old and welcome the new
Your progression in life has an impact on your circle of friends. It will threaten the set-up, change the dynamics and cause some to reflect on the direction of their own lives. Bridesmaids not turning up for fittings, friends taking forever to reply and the Best Man who seems oddly unenthusiastic may well be struggling to deal with your life moving on and fear the change it is enforcing on them. It’s necessary to release your grip of how things were so you can evolve as a person and as part of a married couple.
Sadness, loss, fear, pain, confusion… With no place to go those powerful feelings get transferred onto the wedding – which is why your dad wants eight of his friends to come and your mother-in-law-to-be insists on a string quartet, while your own mother has distanced herself completely. Anything to attempt to gain some control of the changes and loss they know they face.
What you can do
As the star of this real-life drama, you can influence the outcome of the final act. Your love story – which at times may have felt more like a dark comedy, or even a tragedy – can conclude on a fulfilling high.
The key is to give each person close to you the chance to address the changes in your relationship with them.
Give them your time and undivided attention, and encourage each to tell you how they feel about their changing role in your life. Once any feelings of fear, loss and pain are recognised and verbalised you will all be able to move on to the new phase.
The drama of getting married is almost necessary. There are too many people involved for it not to cause a stir, and if there were no darkness how would we appreciate the light? If you choose to really deal with it you will arrive at your wedding day with a light heart, and everybody, not just you, will be ready to celebrate.
Lesley Stratton Hughes of Getting Married Inside Out offers personal coaching for your wedding journey.
Posted in category: Wedding Talk