Overheard at the Seattle Wedding Showâ€¦
One groom to another: "This place is wall to wall flowers, and she says she
can't find what she wants! What is she looking for? To me, they're just
flowers. To her, they mean somethingâ€”what, I have no idea."
Are there times when your fiancĂ© sounds like this gentleman? Times when he
can't quite seem to get with the program? Times when he just doesn't
understand how important it is to have everything just right? At these times,
do you feel like he doesn't really care?
If you feel this way, you are not alone. To us, the wedding is a symbol of our
love and our future. Of course, we want everything about it to be beautiful
and special. We also want our fiancĂ©s to feel the same way. But the reality is
that very often they don't. Men and women are different. If you are upset with
your fiancĂ© because he doesn't care enough about the wedding details, it's
time to take a step back and ask yourself what his attitude means to you.
The groom at the Wedding Show put his finger on a very important
fact--weddings mean something different to men than they do to us. For many
men, the wedding and the marriage are two completely different realities. Your
fiancĂ© may like the idea of a party. He wants his friends to be there for him
and wish him well. He wants to celebrate your marriage. But his enthusiasm for
marriage may or may not translate into a passion for wedding logistics. He may
not see the need for symbolism in all the details the way you do. He probably
doesn't feel like his taste and skills as a host are on display in the same
way you do. And frankly, he just doesn't know what all this stuff is for, the
way you do.
If your fiancĂ© has a deep interest in evening gowns and decorating, that's
great and you can have a ball together coming up with your color scheme. But
if he wasn't interested in these things before you got engaged, why would he
be interested in them now? Do you really think this means he doesn't care
about you? When you buy a house, you may or may not suddenly develop a
fascination for home repairs. Does this have anything to do with how much you
love your husband?
In a sense, you are lucky if this conflict has come up. Why? Because dealing
with each other's differences is one of the big challenges of marriage. You
will be facing it in different forms again and again. Learning to handle your
differences well is essential for a happy marriage. If you start now, you'll
find it much easier later on when you have to make decisions about work,
money, and children.
Here's a crash course in marital differences. Very often, the qualities that
attract you to your partner are the very ones that later start to drive you
crazy. We are often attracted to people with qualities we don't have, so that
we can have more balance in our lives.
For example, take the classic emotional differences between men and women.
Women tend to have wider mood swings. They can learn from men to take things
more in stride and not suffer so much from their down moods. Men, on the other
hand, can learn to enjoy a richer emotional experience by being with women.
Men can learn that sometimes you need to talk about your feelings. Women can
learn that you don't always have to talk about your feelings. Sometimes a
movie or a game of tennis is a better idea.
Sounds great, doesn't it? It isâ€”until for a variety of reasons we start to
want the other person to be more like us. Instead of appreciating the other
person for their differences, we start to criticize them and try to change
them. A wedding is often one of those times. You will have a much happier
wedding, not to mention marriage, if you stop wanting to change your fiancĂ©
start focusing on how his perspective enriches your life.
Here are some ideas to try:
1. Sit down with your fiancĂ© and ask him how he views your wedding. What is
important to him? What is he enjoying? What is a burden for him? If he could
have the wedding exactly as he wanted it, what would it look like?
When he talks, don't interrupt him or disagree with him, even if he pushes
some hot buttons for you. Your job is just to listen and understand his
perspective. You may be surprised at how much he appreciates this and how much
Then switch places and tell him your perspective. If you have been feeling
distant from him because of your disagreements, this exercise will likely
bring you closer.
2. In the exercise above, your fiancĂ© may have said some things that bother
you or hurt your feelings. To begin with, don't look at this as a problem to
solve as much as an issue to explore. Try this technique from cognitive
psychology to learn more about your own feelings.
Write what bothers you. Then ask yourself these questions:
What's the evidence for this?
Is there any other way to look at this?
Am I taking something personally that really is not personal to me?
3. Choose one or two things that you would like him to be involved in that are
really important to you. Tell him how you feel about them. Offer him some
specific ways to help and leave it up to him to choose between them.
Read previous Relationship Guide articles