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WEDDING ANXIETY
 

Research indicates that over 40% of brides have wedding anxiety. Both the bride and the groom experience anxiety, however, even though the stereotype is of a woman being jilted at the altar by her groom, in reality, it is women who most often break off relationships. We usually refer to this as “getting cold feet”. 

The term "cold feet" originally meant "without means or resources". In Ben Jonson's play "Volpone" in 1605, it literally meant a person who was too poor to buy shoes. Then in Fritz Reuter's novel in 1862, a character backed out of a card game because of "cold feet" and the term evolved.  It is now defined as "anxiety and uncertainty about an undertaking to the point of withdrawing".

Why are weddings so stressful?
It is not uncommon for brides to experience anxiety, fear, stress, and even panic as the day gets closer.  At times, this stress can be so overwhelming that the bride feels trapped and decides to literally "run away."  Why does it affect women the most?  Several factors are accountable. 

 Culturally, women are exposed to higher pressure from society to get married. 
 Women put a great deal of emotional charge into weddings.
 Money - weddings are quite expensive!  
 Expectations -  weddings are supposed to be magical; the dress, the flowers, the ceremony, the perfect family smiling as you promise to cherish the love of your life forever.  There's so much stress because the evening has got to be perfect.
 The interference of family and friends and your urge to please everyone.

When there is a conflict between expectations and reality, anxiety is the outcome.  
The inability to express the fears, the frustrations, the pressure to seem happy and ecstatic and then not feeling so, places an internal conflict that leads to sadness and disappointment we feel too guilty to express.  This turns into symptoms of anxiety and depression which include; sudden hysterical cry spells, tantrums, explosive behaviors, sadness, insomnia, nightmares, etc. 

What to do, how to cope

Getting married is one of the biggest decisions most people face in their lives.  It is a big step.  Having a certain amount of “good stress” is healthy and necessary.  It allows you to get organized and get things going.  However, all the above mentioned factors can lead you to a point of frustration and overwhelming anxiety which can ruin your big day, and take away the biggest purpose which is to celebrate a moment of joy and happiness. 

Communicate with your partner.  We go into marriage, one of the most complete life commitments (including finances, legal, spiritual, family, and all) and we make this decision based on emotions without having addressed main concerns and clarified expectations and agreements about money, religion, children, family, etc.  

Poor communication is one of the leading causes of relationships failure.  If you are having difficulty talking to your partner about these issues, seek professional help.  You spend a huge budget on the wedding, the dress, the invitations, the party, but what about your emotional well-being so that you can enjoy the big day and the rest of your life.

Marriage is the landmark where a new family unit is formed and therefore, departing from your immediate one.  Family members are usually in denial about this and they show their resistance in many forms.  Do not get sidetracked with guilt trips and manipulations.  Talk to your respective families.  Let them know what is important to you. Defend your union and your intention to consult each other for every decisions made about this day. Let them know that their desires will be considered, but that the final decisions rest with the couple.

Don’t lose focus.  It is not just about the wedding day.  It is about a big life transition with a variety of  factors which, if poorly handled, could lead to regrets, painful memories, and a lot of resentment.  Do it right from the start.  It is your day.  Express your needs.  Entitle yourself.  Make it your way.  Make it simple and most of all MAKE IT FUN.

Iris Pitaluga
alternatives1@msn.com 
www.alternativescounselingcenter.com

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