Planning a wedding is an exciting time, but it can also come with its share of stresses and strains as you try to balance budgets, combine your tastes with your partners and please family members.
We interviewed Shelley Lewin, of The Relationship Architect, a business focused on personal and professional relationship development. Shelley is a qualified counsellor and internationally accredited coach who is dedicated to the understanding and development of relationships.
She provides advice on how to keep your relationship healthy and the romance alive as you plan your big day!
What should couples be conscious of when it comes to their relationship whilst planning a wedding?
The biggest advice I can give is to stay focused on what’s really important: the marriage and the reason you are having a wedding. It is supposed be to celebrate your love for each other and it should epitomise who you are as a couple.
When we get forget the intention of the day it is easy to get caught up in things that are not important. People remember the love, passion and energy of the day and the couple. If the day becomes about impressing friends and family, proving how well off you are or anything else other than declaring and celebrating your love — you have lost the point and can lose your connection with each other.
The actual ‘event planning’ part of the wedding is not complicated. Family dynamics are tricky. Family members who feel entitled or who take ownership of the day need to be reminded respectfully it is about you and your husband-to-be, their opinions can be heard and honoured to some degree but at the end of the day it has to be about the couple getting married and needs to reflect what they both want.
How do you suggest keeping a relationship strong during a stressful time, like planning a wedding?
Similar to my advice above, don’t sweat the small stuff. Keep the focus on what is important. Couples who learn to collaborate early and work together as a team can overcome any bump in the road. That means working together as a team:
- Keep the relationship as a priority over being first, best or right
- Prioritise the partnership, over and above other peoples desires (especially bossy mothers)
- Communicate respectfully by managing your own anxieties and worries instead of taking them out on your partner
- Be considerate of each other’s feeling and opinions
- Respect and manage differences in traditions/belief systems
- Honour that which is important to your partner even if it doesn’t make sense to you,
- Be open, honest and transparent about your concerns and needs instead of manipulative
- Fight the problem, not the person (no attacks to the character of your partner)
- Knowing which battles to fight and which ones to let go, when to keep quiet and when to speak your mind
What can a couple do if external factors are affecting their relationship as they plan their wedding?
‘Winning the argument’ or ‘being right’ often means losing the relationship. If external factors are affecting their partnership it is because they have lost sight of what is important. The marriage is more important than the wedding. The lifelong commitment to honour, respect and consider each other is more important than the ‘perfect day’. If your life is illustrating to you that the wedding is becoming more important than your connection with each other, it is time for a reboot.
What are your top tips for keeping romance alive during the wedding planning process?
We can approach sexuality in one of two ways. We can either ‘wait until you are in the mood’ or allocate ample time to creating an ambience and climate for romance to blossom. Romance can begin when you wake up in the morning and greet each other with a response that shows “I am happy to see you”, “I look forward to seeing you later”. It can be encouraged by creating a sacred space in the home — think soft lighting, scented candles, oils and lotions, soft pillows etc.
There is a plethora of ways to invite passion back into a stale or stressed relationship. It all starts however with connection. We have to want to want it. We need a desire to connect.
We are energetic, emotional, biological, psychological, spiritual and social beings. Many factors influence our ability to ‘feel’ sexual. Being physically and emotionally drained, unhealthy lifestyle choices, lack of sleep, medication with negative side effects, stressful jobs or home environments, work/life imbalance with time restraints, hormonal imbalances — all of these things impact on us as sexual beings.
Throw a wedding in the mix of an already busy life and there just might not be the time for romance. Unless you make time for it. Unless romance is a priority, there just won’t be time and energy for it. Make romance a priority if you want to keep it alive.
Shelley Lewin, The Relationship Architect, began training as a counsellor over a decade ago. She has been a wife for 12 years and a mother for 10. If you want relationship advice or counselling, whether you’re planning a wedding or are already married, visit Shelley’s website — newlifecoach.net