Today, we have a guest article from Jacqueline McGuire. I hope you enjoy her advice! xoxo, Jessica
Planning Your Big Day While Protecting Your Tomorrow
So, by now I’m sure you’ve been lead to believe that your wedding day is supposed to be the happiest day of your life. Yikes! If this is true, then are you approaching your life’s climax? No wonder your stress level is at an all-time high, because that’s some serious pressure to make it unforgettable! Take it from someone who’s been through the day of enchantment and found magic on the other side. The only problem, for me, was that I found it after my divorce. They say everything in life happens for a reason and that’s a belief I forced myself to hold on to religiously through the fire and rain. Seek out the lesson life has to teach you then turn the page and keep writing your story. And so, I did… I wrote myself right into my life’s purpose; to encourage engaged couples to discuss what our society deems taboo prior to their wedding day. Marriage is a huge commitment and one that was intended to be permanent. It’s natural to experience feelings incongruent with what we think we “should” be feeling. I noticed a tremendous amount of money, time and energy being invested in making “the happiest day” the image of perfection, but no effort in securing the marriage. If this is you, let’s take the first step in learning what is essential to living a healthy and happy life together.
Make Friends with the Saboteur
Our thoughts are the driving force that determine how we feel, how we act, and the outcomes we receive in our life.
Thoughts > Feelings > Actions (Inaction) > Results
Take a minute to evaluate some of the repetitive thought patterns you’ve been experiencing in the days and months leading up to your wedding. Would you say these thoughts have been productive in nature, energizing you to tackle that laundry list of wedding to-do’s, or have they been weighed down and infused with fear, sadness, overwhelm and confusion?
Naturally, this is a very emotional time in your life as you begin to transition from the single life you’ve only known to a life shared with someone who brings to the table all of their life experiences, expectations and personal goals. Seamlessly integrating “Me” into “We” begins with knowing ourselves to the core of our being without expecting our partner to complete us.
Be Ever Evolving
Some may ask, “Does my past predict my future?” and my response is nothing more than, “Only if you choose to allow it”. We know that the same habits will equal the same results. The only way to change undesirable thought and behavior patterns is to trace it back to the root of origin and empathize with it, so that you can begin the journey of letting go. Let go of limiting beliefs and outdated values that no longer serve you in your life and relationships. In my program, we explore and redesign (if necessary) our Relationship Blueprint, which is loosely defined as the collection of childhood preferences and life experiences that mold us into believing what love “should” look and feel like. This allows my couples to deepen and expand their understanding of one another opening the door for compassion and empathy. Tragedies result when couples think Love will carry them through the toughest of times later to be unpleasantly surprised to discover their partner has opposing views and expectations of them that they are unable to fulfill. Do you want to carry the burden of your partner’s happiness or unhappiness?
Communicate in a Language that is Understood
Here’s a little wisdom bomb: Communication is not what we say, it’s what they hear. Boom! How many times have you found yourself preaching your well-thought-out point, until you were blue in the face, only to be met with resistance? We then have to evaluate if our need to be right overrules our desire to be happy. If the two of you can’t figure out this intricate dance called dialogue, you will soon be voted off the show called Marriage. Being able to effectively traverse an argument is a skill everyone should acquire prior to getting married. Our partner may not speak the same language as us, love language that is. This is why it is vital for you both to learn your preference for the way in which you like to receive love in order to feel loved and then effectively communicate that need to one another. This connection is what keeps all of life’s distractions at bay.
Strip Down and Fight Fair
I mean this more in the sense of emotionally shedding those layers of ourselves that prevent us from being vulnerable, but if removing your clothing helps, then by all means have at it! Relationships are complex and conflict is inevitable. It’s important to remember that it isn’t about keeping score, because if one of you loses, then no one really wins. Marriage is a team sport. The goal is to find the sweet spot where both of you feel heard. Set a strategy in place to acknowledge and appreciate one another’s perspectives. If a certain argument continues to resurface, then it’s clear, your current conflict resolution style is not getting at the heart of the problem. There are simple, yet effective, tools for resolving conflict that remove that barrier for good and allow for a more loving and productive conversation. With every obstacle that life throws your way, vow to team it together, and grow deeper in love along the way.
Put your Money where your Heart is
When planning for a wedding, money tends to be at the forefront of many conversations. Now is the perfect time to take a hard look at your spending habits, but more importantly, take a look at what money symbolizes for you. For some, money represents status, success and enjoyment. For others, it may conjure up feelings of security or lack thereof. What if partner A spends freely, living the life of abundance, but partner B is a saver? Partner B sees the outflow of that hard-earned money as the future demise of everything they’ve built together. Unless this couple can meet somewhere in the middle, to satisfy both needs, the outcome is almost inevitable and devastating. Does your partner’s debt now become yours? Does your income now become theirs? These emotionally charged questions will surface at some point in the marriage. What predicts a positive outcome is the level of emotional intelligence each partner has in their pursuit to find a cash flow equilibrium.
Design Your 20/20 Future Vision
Like any well-run business, there is a vision statement that sets the direction for growth. This is typically coupled with a number of core values in which the members of that organization base their decisions off of. No, your marriage is not a business, but what if you mirrored this philosophy and built a solid infrastructure to ensure your marriage was failproof? You may be surprised to find that what the future looks like in your mind’s eye may not look the same for your partner. Couples tend to make an assumption that because they plan to marry one another that their vision for their future must be compatible. Sadly, this isn’t always the case and it’s a hard truth to swallow years into the marriage. Setting short-term SMART goals, no more than two to five years out, will ensure you align your visions to hit those goals and allow you both to live with intention.
A message to each beautiful bride-to-be: Be you. Be authentic. Be determined in your pursuit for emotional freedom. There really is no better time than now. You are more than deserving to experience the sustained happiness and fulfillment you’ve always envisioned for your marriage. Enter this new chapter feeling enlightened and empowered to design a life where you and your best friend thrive and not survive. Where you challenge one another to be the best versions of yourself, and trust without a doubt, that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. This journey starts from within to secure that love you can’t live without.
If you want to dive deeper into securing your Ever After, click the link below to access your free video from LoveAligned.
Editor’s note: During this time of quarantine and social distancing, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Learn more here.