As a wedding blogger at Planning with Poise, I’ve learned that wedding stress affects couples’ relationship. It’s no secret that planning a wedding is stressful – on top of that, working with your partner and agreeing on major decisions can be tricky!
So in today’s post, I’m going to talk about three major strategies that you can use (starting today!) to help you better handle the stress that comes with planning a wedding with your other half.
How to Talk About Sensitive Topics
Sensitive topics – like money, family expectations, prenups, religious differences, etc – will inevitably come up as you plan your wedding. Sensitive topics are those that are backed with particularly strong feelings and opinions. That’s why is so important to talk about these topics with an open mind and an empathic heart. This way, potential arguments can turn into opportunities to connect with your partner on a deeper level.
For example, when I was planning my wedding, my partner and I couldn’t agree on a budget! But when we stopped arguing and started listening – we realized we had disparate philosophies about money on a much broader scale. The issues went well beyond the wedding budget, but we learned something new and we were able to better understand each other.
So here are two simple tips to implement as you talk about sensitive topics:
- Listen. When two people are laser-focused on getting their points across, refusing to listen – no one gets heard. So make sure to give your full attention and listen with an open non-judgemental mind with the goal of understanding your partner.
- Be empathetic. Empathy means putting yourself in your partner’s shoes. An easy way to do this is to literally forget about your own issues for a moment, and take on your partner’s perspective. This truly helps to increase the level of understanding, compassion, and concern for each other’s needs.
While it’s near impossible to agree on everything, you can do your best to communicate effectively.
How to Get Unstuck
Have you ever felt like you’ve spent a little too much time trying to make a wedding-related decision? Like, when you’ve considered all options but you still aren’t getting anywhere? And sometimes you feel like your energy and motivation are starting to decline after a while? Those are all signs that you’re stuck.
Here’s my advice for getting “unstuck” – so you can keep up your wedding planning momentum:
- Be mindful. The beauty of biology is that your body will let you know when enough is enough. Maybe you feel drained, or maybe you feel like giving up, or maybe your mind is wandering. All of these are signs of stress – and it means it’s time for a break! Be mindful of those cues! Listen to your mind and body, and then…
- Stop. Seriously, take a break for a while (at least a full day, or two) so that you can come back with a fresh mind, fresh eyes, and a fresh perspective. If you stay in decision-making mode, you’re likely going to keep going in circles chasing your tail – and that’s stressful. Instead, take your mind off of the decision. Better yet, treat yourselves to a fun date night!
- Pick your battles. If there’s something you’re not particularly concerned about – then it’s not worth spending much time making a decision about it. Some decisions might be more important to you than others; so it’s best to save your mental energy for the more meaningful decisions.
When my partner and I were planning our wedding, we noticed that our relationship was starting to take a backseat to the wedding. (Does this sound familiar?) At one point, all we could talk about was the wedding and it really put a lot of stress on our relationship.
So we began to set boundaries and prioritized our relationship over the wedding planning. For us, that meant limiting the wedding talk to only one day per week, and we had time to enjoy the rest of our week without wedding talk (and consequently, without wedding stress)!
This helped us get our relationship back, it helped us de-stress, and it made us even more productive. Plus, when we felt stuck in the decision-making process, we’d discuss it until the meeting was over and we’d pick up where we left off at our next meeting.
We quickly learned that we had to set some ground rules to make this work for us. For example, we agreed to meet on Tuesday nights (so that we’d be able to enjoy our weekends, wedding-free), after dinner (so that we’d be in a good mood, not hangry), and we agreed to show up every single week, no excuses. (You can read more about our once-a-week wedding planning here.)
If you can believe it, our weekly wedding meeting actually brought us closer together as a couple! We truly felt like a strong team because we shared so many of the wedding tasks and we accomplished a lot together. So if you use only one tip to deal with wedding-related stress on your relationship, this is the one!
Give It a Try!
The engagement period should be enjoyable! Keeping the big picture in mind (celebrating your lifelong commitment to each other!), and being intentional about putting your relationship first – will help you de-stress. You can think of these tips like self-care for your relationship – and I really hope you’ll give them a try!