Pre-Wedding Stress Management
If you have been experiencing an increased
sense of stress lately, congratulate yourself. It probably shows
that you are in touch with your feelings. However, if you feel bad
or somehow inadequate because you feel stressed, think again. No
one escapes stress.
The pre-wedding period can be an especially
stressful time. Managing stress and anxiety effectively can be crucial
to making this time a positive one for you and your partner. You
want your wedding planning process to bring you closer and build
your intimacy. Over-stress can interfere with this important goal.
A major difference between those who
feel overwhelmed by stress and those who do not is not the presence
or absence of stress, but the ability to recognize stress when it
occurs and to manage it.
Stress management involves four tasks:
and understand the signs of stress
and understand the sources of stress
to manage controllable sources of stress
to support yourself and cope with stress reactions to situations
beyond your control
Over-stress reactions include a wide
range of symptoms: stomach
aches, headaches, sleep
problems, poor concentration,
and racing thoughts. It's important to recognize that these
are all signs of stress overload, probably not of more a more serious
During the pre-wedding period there
are so many stressful decisions, expenses, expectations and new
roles. Many people do not realize how great an impact this stress
can have on their happiness and relationships. Perhaps one of the
most difficult aspects of the pre-wedding period can be the disparity
between its inherent stress, on one hand, and expectations that
it will be a time of happiness and fulfillment, on the other. Perfectionism
about wedding arrangements is very common and can be a big source
of stress don't go away just because you are getting married. These
additional stressors can compound pre-wedding stress. Keep in mind
that all change is stressful, including good change. (And isn't
getting married a huge good change?) Other common factors that can
contribute to stress can include work, over-commitment,
illness, and loss
of a family member, friend or pet. For those embarking on a second
marriage and single parents, the demands of child-rearing and financial
complications can be stress factors.
Some of these stressors are controllable.
For example, some activities and commitments are optional. You control
how perfect you expect your wedding to be and whether to accept
many social invitations. Other stressors are beyond your control.
For example, no one can prevent personal losses and illnesses.
To deal with over-stress, you must
first recognize and manage of those sources of stress that are within
If you are experiencing symptoms of
stress overload, consider what you can do to reduce your stress
with your partner and make sure that your wedding plans reflect
your true desires. Of course, a grand wedding is wonderful, so long
as it's really worth the effort and expense to you. But, some couples
launch elaborate wedding plans without stopping to think through
whether these are based on unexamined assumptions about what each
partner wants. (I thought you wanted a big wedding. Oh, but I was
doing it for you.) If a big wedding is in your plans and your budget
allows, consider hiring a wedding coordinator or planner to handle
many of the details.
may need to reexamine your assumptions about how much you expect
yourself to handle. It can be hard to admit that we can't necessarily
do and accomplish everything that we would like during the time
we have in mind or have available.
may be able to delegate some chores or tasks. Don't be shy about
asking your partner, friends or relatives to help you with some
of these. Sometimes this means hiring additional help, to clean
or to care for children, for example, even if it means spending
a bit more than you had planned for a limited time. Let your wedding
services vendors carry some of the load, after all they are experienced
wedding experts. Be selective about which tasks you really need
to supervise personally.
that there are limits to your control over the wedding. Any event
involving so many other people will have a few imperfections. What
doesn't go exactly according to plan will become a cherished wedding
story in years to come.
time management strategies to prioritize and set limits. Click
here for time management strategies.
may be able to arrange to reduce your workload or take some time
off work during the pre-wedding period. You may need to take more
time off than you had planned, then make up the income later.
social obligations can be deferred. Sometimes it seems that everyone
wants to get together and share the excitement of the pre-wedding
months. This can be fun, but sometimes it's too much. There are
only so many hours in the day. People will understand when you tell
them that you are overtaxed by the wedding planning.
Even after you've done what you can
to control sources of stress, there will probably be plenty of "uncontrollable"
stressors remaining. Never fear, there are many strategies to help
yourself and cope with stress reactions.
There are many additional things you
can do to support your ability to handle and recover from stress.
regular, balanced and moderate meals.
excess sugar, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, drugs, etc. All of these
cause your system to 'crash' after the temporary simulating or relaxing
relaxation exercises or meditation. See link below for biofeedback
your perspective. Talk
to others about the stress. (Everyone has or has had stress!)
time for fun and other pleasurable activities.
time to connect with your partner and spend positive time together.
Don't pressure yourself to make too
many changes all at once.
here for info on (relatively affordable) stress reduction (relaxation
training) biofeedback devices which can be effective in helping
to alleviate stress.
Click here for info on private premarital prep packages and marriage / relationship consultations, including phone
Click here for info on premarital educaton seminars.
here for more on stress management.
that you're more relaxed, consider attending a Marriage Success
Training seminar with your partner. MST helps couples handle the
increased stress of the pre-wedding period in a much more healthy
way, so that they can use the pre-wedding experience to deepen their
intimacy--not stress their relationship-- during this special time.
Click here to learn about the benefits of MST.
2003, Patricia S. & Gregory A. Kuhlman. You may copy this article
for non-commercial use provided that no changes are made and this
copyright notice, author credit and stayhitched.com source citation