2237421166_342cc7c91dAt some point in the movie Bride Wars the focus turns away from the
battling bffs and toward the couples about to be married. The wedding planner, played by Candace Bergen, explains the dynamics underlying how the engaged couples weather the wedding preparation. 

She says something like: In wedding planning there are an infinite number of decisions to make, compromises to reach, priorities to establish. How the couple deals with the time leading up to the wedding is a good predictor of how they will confront controversy in their marriage: together on the same team, like two horses pulling the same cart, or on opposite sides, like boxers.

In other words the quality of your relationship is tried (as in being on trial) during the engagement period.

She has a great point.

It doesn't matter how long you've been together, there's something unique about the time between agreeing that marriage is your mutual goal and actually getting married. It's magical, you wish everyone could be as happy as you are. And it can be scary, does your sudden aversion to how he scratches himself indicate you aren't meant to be?

So here are some tips to make this time a healthy reflection on your future together.

1) Forget the "Perfect Day" edict. Take the pressure off. One of my favorite Sex and the City episodes was when Charlotte got married to the bald lawyer (sorry, can't remember his name) everything was going wrong. Miranda saved the day by re-framing the situation. She said,"The more disastrous the wedding the better the marriage." What a great save!

2) Lighten up. Take the big view. Laugh at yourselves and anyone else trying to stress you out. Get away from the plans and play.

3) Put your listening ears on. Even though the focus is on you, your guy might be feeling the stress as well. 

4) Don't confuse being mad at your in-laws (or the florist) with being mad at him. This is such a huge issue it needs its own post. More to come.

5) Disagreement is not dis-engagement. Use the inevitable differences of opinion to learn how to negotiate with each other and compromise. If you have to take a stand, pick your battles wisely. A little strategic giving-in can go a long way to win the war achieve peace. More on this later, too.

Photo courtesy LCPhotog