The Importance of Wedding Therapy

Dear Thriving Bride,

It is 69 days until my wedding day, and I have been unable to let go of this heavy feeling in my chest.  I spoke about it in an earlier post, but no matter how much meditation, running, yoga and general exercise that I do, I am still feeling this way. I woke up this morning thinking about how grateful I am that my fiance and I have a “Wedding  Therapist.”

Last night PJ and I had a session with our therapist.  So many things came up, and we addressed them.  I woke up feeling some residual things from that meeting, and there is more we will talk about next week.  So, based on my experience (2 weeks of Engagement Therapy so far) , I believe it is going well.  By well I don’t mean that it is not painful and often times challenging.  What I do mean is that this is allowing me to grow in ways that I could not have imagined.  I keep thinking to myself, “I did this therapy thing already for several years.” That is true for me, but there are times in one’s life when the old wounds come up again and again.  When you are about to start a new family and break away from your old one, how could you not think about the past and the things your parents did and did not do on your behalf.

Last night, our therapist asked us things like:

So, what do you each want to do differently in your relation to each other than what your parents did?

So, what do you want to do differently than your mother did?

These questions take me to a place of deep introspection and eventually allow me to clear away old crap that does not belong to me in order to make space for the life I want (and am having now) with PJ, but it is hard.

Let me see how I answered those questions:

I don’t want to ever allow myself to stand by and watch my husband treat me or our children badly without clearly stating the problem, letting him know what my expectations are and coming up with ways in which he can “repair” the damage done.  I know PJ would never lay his hands on me or our future children, but we are all deeply flawed and abuse is not the only way someone can break your trust.

I won’t mention what PJ said in his responses. That’s for him to share if he ever wants to.  But for now, I am telling you all of this because I felt a roller coaster of emotions inside.  I felt like saying ” I will never………” several times until I had exorcised those words out of me.

I believe that parenting (and marriage) are amazing challenges, opportunities and huge privileges that are available in this life, and we are either capable of accepting and honoring the challenge or not.  My parents were not.  They actually were really awful at it.  They were really great when it came to teaching us the importance of learning and being in the world as educated people, but parenting is not something you would find at the top of their life resumes.  This is just what it is, and I have accepted it.

So now, I have the chance to do things differently and I look forward to that opportunity.  So, all of this is just to say that this wonderful giddy time is just that: wonderful and giddy.  But it is also full of some very challenging emotions for every bride, but especially for you “thriving brides” out there.  From the time he gives you the ring until you say “I do”, there will be many issues that come up (personally and as a couple) no matter how much you love each other.

And I know that you are used to being strong. Well, we all usually are. How else would we have gotten to this point in the face of and despite our circumstances. I salute you for that!  I know that you may feel that you have already been so brave in your life.  I am asking you to be brave once again, and work with a professional therapist from the time you say “I do” until the altar.   In the end, it’s up to you.  But my guess is you want things to go well in the wedding planning process and going forward.  So Dear Bride, muster all the courage I know you have and get to talking about the difficult stuff.  He already loves you (and you him), so hopefully this will help you strengthen your relationship even more.

  • Maria Westfried

    I love these, but damn girl, is Kleenex paying you to write this stuff? You gotta cut it out, I am not sure flooding myself with that much emotion on a regular basis is healthy or not. Actually it is called LIFE. As alway, thanks for your honesty, you are AMAZING and inspiring for living out loud the way you do!! All the best to you and Peter and the amazing journey that has only just begun – Dama de Honor

  • Jill Guerra

    I’m with Maria— laying in bed next to my snoring fiance and crying. This blog and all the emotional prep work you are doing will only make the day more meaninful and your relationship stronger. Thank you for sharing… you’re making me think a lot.