Conventional advice says you don’t know how strong your relationship is until something comes along to test it. Stress, pain, suffering, and loss are big tests for couples. However, as strange as it sounds, planning an event as fun and wonderful as a wedding can strain even healthy relationships.
While the media and movies romanticize the wedding planning process as the best, most loving time of your life, the nitty-gritty of planning a complex event with lots of moving parts can cause arguments and resentment. If you want to arrive on your wedding day as a stronger couple than on your engagement day, it is crucial to take proactive steps to address relationship issues and continue towards a healthy relationship every day.
Explore how to grow closer during the wedding planning process, discover more reasons to love your partner, and deepen your strong relationship.
Just because you’re engaged doesn’t mean you’re not still dating. Just before the wedding is the worst time to fall into bad habits or take your partner for granted. Keep the romance alive and continue wooing your partner.
Keep the tradition going if you had a steady date night before becoming engaged. If you bought flowers or chocolates on special occasions, continue to do so, but add notes reminding your partner how excited you are to spend the rest of your life with them.
Focus on romantic couple activities that transition well to married life. For instance, start taking exercise or art classes as a couple, volunteer together in your community, or explore your city’s neighborhoods together and daydream about your future life.
The time just before saying “I do” is one of your relationship’s most unique and sentimental eras. This period gives you an excellent opportunity to define it with love and special attention. Make it your goal to exceed the experiences that defined your dating period and set a happy tone for your married life.
Wedding planning can be very stressful and can even drive the sanest, most level-headed, romantic partners to exhaustion. You need to support each other and be your partner’s emotional support system if they begin to feel overly stressed.
You know your partner well, but be attentive to any signs of strain and practice active listening. Proactively ask them how they are handling wedding planning duties and if they need help with any task in particular. Be available if they need someone to vent to or to share ideas with. Also, offer to pick up extra slack if they need a break.
Your married life will undoubtedly have difficult, stressful times, but wedding planning-related stress offers good practice for handling anxieties and external pressures together. Communicate openly and freely about how to improve and grow as a couple during this time.
One of the best ways to keep your relationship strong while planning your wedding is to tie small, daily gestures to the big picture. These small acts of affection can keep you focused on the future you will share and why you’re going through the trouble of planning a wedding.
Perhaps it’s making your partner breakfast in bed with pancakes shaped like houses to symbolize buying a home or making them new luggage tags highlighting your new name. Buy them flowers to count down to the wedding, with each blossom representing the days left until the ceremony. Or go shopping for holiday decorations and pick some out for future family members like pets or kids.
Give your partner small gestures to keep you both focused on the big picture. Put thought and care into each gift and let them symbolize how happy and excited you are at spending your life with your partner.
One of the most common complaints from brides-to-be is that their partner doesn’t do their fair share of wedding planning. This annoyance can easily lead to resentment and anger if not addressed and rectified.
Many couples find it helpful to set aside time each day to communicate, perhaps over a meal or whenever both partners have 10-15 minutes to give each other their undivided attention. Communicate any issues that have come up during the day with honesty, respect, and kindness. Kerry Hoffman, project manager, said she personally tried and loved, “setting aside a dedicated time to talk about wedding deliverables, because it could easily take over everyday conversations.” Making the time to talk and be present with each other is key, even when tough conversations need to be had.
If criticism is needed, make it compassionate and constructive. Taking time daily to voice concerns will keep tensions low and solve any problems before they have time to grow into significant issues.
Good communication is key during the wedding planning process and will aid both of your mental health. Committing to open communication from day one will keep you happy and excited about the wedding and set an excellent precedent for your married life. But don’t forget that overcommunicating may become a problem too so don’t ignore setting up healthy boundaries.
Take time to celebrate all the life challenges you have tackled together and every milestone you pass on your way to your wedding day. Use it as an opportunity to build the romance and strengthen the relationship. Your engagement is a once-in-a-lifetime period and gives you the chance to make every milestone count.
Take time to celebrate each wedding milestone you and your partner accomplish together, like booking the venue or the band for your reception, deciding on a cake and dinner menu, and when the bride says yes to the dress. Go to a restaurant, have some champagne, or head out of town for the weekend.
Make a countdown to the wedding and give each other mementos for each occasion. Opt for flowers for nine months from the wedding date, personal and meaningful gifts for six months out, and an accessory like a watch, bracelet, or earrings to wear at the wedding for when it’s just three months away. Make each occasion unique and build your anticipation for your wedding day.
If a conflict arises or your relationship becomes strained due to wedding-related stress, it can feel easy to get lost in the frustrations and get mad at your partner. If you lose sight of your goal together, it can interfere with your relationship and cause long-lasting issues in the future.
If you find yourself getting frustrated while planning your wedding, stop and focus on why you are getting married in the first place and all the positive aspects of your relationship. Let your love for your partner be the defining guide for all your actions during this time.
Take a few moments to write down why you love and choose your one partner and give them some physical affection. If stress takes a toll, go back to the list and reconsider all the best parts about them. Share your list with them on a day leading up to the wedding, or incorporate it into your vows or wedding speech to make public all the ways you love your partner.
Alternatively, you can write a love letter to your partner and reference your favorite times together or what you’re looking forward to accomplishing or experiencing in your life together. You can write a letter anytime you feel stressed and give them to your fiancee as a gift on the big day.
Remember that although your real wedding marks the official start of your life together, how you treat each before and after the big day is what counts. Learning to problem solve together, sharing the little moments, and developing trust and communication will keep the two of you going strong for decades to come.
Whether your goals include starting a family, buying a house, or simply living together in harmony, keeping your connection strong throughout the wedding planning process is vital for a happy relationship.