Many of us expect the biggest day of our lives to be the day we finally tie the knot! So many life-long expectations, dreams and aspirations are finally coming true. To have the “perfect wedding day” is often seen as the ultimate goal, and “bridezilla” is a humorous term often used for this phenomenon. However, it seems that the focus on being the center of attention, or on having the perfect party, really serves as a distraction from the true focus, which is this new eternal union.
Planning so many things that have to work out just right takes up great time and energy: the music, food, guests, seating arrangements, flowers, pictures, transportation, the wedding dress, hair styling, groomsmen and maids-of-honor (and their clothing), make-up, timing, the photographer…well, the list could go on and on.. It is, after all, a day that has been dreamed of or down-right planned for years in advance. The trimmings are abundant.
Amidst all the hoopla, however, comes amazing stress as the details of the “BIG EVENT” take over. It’s not uncommon for that very stress to cause hurt feelings when things don’t quite work as anticipated. Often the bride-to-be feels so overwhelmed and busy that she forgets to “check in” and see how others are feeling—her fiancée included. On the actual wedding day, running around during the event, the bride may not be able to even enjoy it! Many brides confirm that the wedding itself was exhausting, and that they felt quite empty and let down afterwards, almost like “that was it?”
All this expectation linked to having one perfect day (not to mention the honeymoon), can be expensive and start the marriage out with unnecessary stress (including debt). Simplifying the costs as well as the details will allow both the bride and groom to be able to focus on the spirit of the occasion, and the days after the “Big Day.” Simplifying can allow time to truly enjoy and visit with their guests and their families, instead of creating empty details for the “perfect” future wedding album.
For the success and longevity of a thriving and loving marriage, how important is the actual wedding day…really? President Spencer W. Kimball answers this question with great clarity and wisdom. He was once interviewing a young man returning from his mission and asked him what he was looking forward to the most when he got home. The young man answered, “I’ve been praying to marry the one I love.” Clearly this returning missionary had a girl back home with whom he was deeply in love and had planned on getting married.
President Kimball’s loving and wise response to this young man (and to all of us) was: “Don’t pray to marry the one you love, but pray to love the one you marry.” It’s not that the young man’s prayer was wrong, by any means, but that his prayer would be answered the day he got married, and the days thereafter.
It is the month, or the year, after the wedding, when those rose-colored glasses are gone, that we truly learn to love. It is the morning when we wake up to a crying baby after sleeping only two hours that we make a marriage union real. It is when you don’t really feel loving, but choose to act loving towards your new spouse that a marriage is truly born … not the wedding day or the honeymoon afterwards.
Praying continuously for an increase of love towards our spouse throughout our lifetime and acting upon those promptings is the real recipe for success. It is in the daily effort of thinking and praying about improving our spouse’s life that true love is found and grows.
So, it is true that the day of our wedding is a milestone in our eternal progression, a great day to celebrate with family and friends our eternal union. However, the greatest days start after the wedding day and continue for the remainder of our lives with daily, weekly, monthly and yearly deposits of loving prayers and actions.
Elia Gourgouris Ph.D.
Dr. Elia Gourgouris is a nationally known speaker, relationship coach, and the president of LDSCoaching.com. With over 20 years of experience, he has inspired thousands of individuals and couples to find greater happiness and fulfillment, both in their careers and their personal lives. He holds a degree from UCLA and a Ph.D. in psychology. Dr. Gourgouris speaks to groups around the country regarding women’s issues, self esteem, communications skills, and relationships. He is also a favorite presenter at both BYU and BYU-ID Education Weeks, and Time Out for Women conferences. He is the author of “DTR: What You Need to Know Before You Get Married” and he has an upcoming CD entitled “The Multi-Platinum Marriage: Going from Just Surviving to Thriving!” He and his wife, Sona, live near Boulder, Colorado, with their children.