A couple weeks ago, on APW, Michelle wrote about how her wedding day didn’t have anything to do with shaping her marriage but the engagement process did.
She wrote, “It was the months leading up the wedding where the start of our marriage was the most affected. The process is where the real foundation started to build itself. It was in the planning where we learned skills on how to work with each other towards a common goal. Those months were when we first had to manage a budget together, when we had to make decisions with level heads, and when we both had to learn how to compromise without feeling like we lost the battle.”
I responded, “Thanks for this. I was just thinking that some of what I am learning is how obnoxious I can be, haha. Uh oh. But using that as a LEARNING opportunity and a chance to work on that is a much nicer way to think of it than using it as some kind of marriage forecaster.”
I agree with Michelle and many others that the engagement is important– that it sets the foundation for being your own family, that it helps you learn to make decisions together, and that it brings you closer to each other’s families. But how can I do what I talk about in my comment and work on the ways that I can be such a pain in the ass?
I don’t like the term “Bridezilla.” As Meg talks about in the APW book, a lot of the time it is about “making you crazy, then calling you crazy.” You are expected to plan a major event at the same time you are going through a major life transition and then people slap a demeaning gendered stereotype on you when you get stressed out about it. Part of me, though, has still been a little proud of how I’ve avoided being a brat about a lot of the stereotypical things. I patted myself on the back for being so easygoing that I let my bridesmaids pick their own dresses, not caring at all when J’s grandmother picked a cream colored dress to wear, and letting a lot of the superficial stuff go. However, I am trying to acknowledge some ways that I have been emotionally trying on those around me *cough…J…cough*, beyond what is fair given the stress that Meg describes. I may not be acting like a brat about decorations or favors but I’ve been a brat about the stress I’ve felt, about crafts not going the way I’ve wanted them to, and about making sure things are done on time. I’m moody and I catastrophize things out loud to J more than I am even doing in my mind– maybe because I want to be reassured (it is probably good for me that he doesn’t put up with crap and tells me I am being dumb instead of trying to sooth me though sometimes I wish he leaned a little more toward the soothing side), but also largely out of habit. And when I get into this cycle where I am yelling about things being so stressful and wrong, I start to feel more like they are stressful and wrong, but mostly feel like I have to yell even more to justify why I started doing it in the first place.
So how do I stop? I want to work on the way I act. I want to not only get my anxiety more under control (which I have done a lot), but also to start ACTING in a way that reflects this.
It makes me more thankful for J when I realize I’m in this mode. But also, I’d like to be better about it. Maybe I need a buzzword. Something to “click” when I’m acting moody to help myself snap out of it. How do you change reactions and behaviors in yourself that are just as much habit as they are real reflections of how you feel?