Tips to Coping with Parents and a Wedding
1. Take your parents out for a meal and ask them what their expectations are for the wedding.
Be specific. By asking them what their top priorities for the wedding are you give them an opportunity to say what they think and want. If they haven’t got any thoughts or ideas you can stimulate them by asking them questions. Try to find out as best you can what their expectations are. If you hear them out they will be more open to hearing what you want because you have shown them honor and respect by asking their heart and mind.
2. Understand that the Wedding is a precedent setting event.
The choices you make will set the tone for your future relationships. How well you work with your parents and your parent in laws during the wedding planning process will dictate your future relationship. If you whine and cry to get your own way expect your loved ones to treat you as a child later on. Look at your wedding as an opportunity to let your parents see you as an equal and turn your parent child relationship into friendship.
3. The secret is compromise
The problem to keep in mind isn’t that you and your parents have different opinions, the problem is in how you share the difference.
Every time you sit down with your parents you need to show respect, courtesy and honor. Many couples go into a black and white mode. They either capitulate and give in to their parents wishes or they go to the opposite extreme adopting a, “It’s my wedding and we’ll do it any way we please” attitude. The first option might make you regret that you didn’t stand up for what you wanted. The second option might see you regret the way you treated your parents without a lot of respect.
Pick 5 musts and then compromise or be willing to compromise on the rest. You pick your future spouse, then pick 4 other biggies that are really important to you. Maybe its flowers; maybe its the venue; maybe its the photographer; maybe its the honeymoon; maybe its the date and time. Be clear about what you want to compromise on and what you won’t.
Whatever you do, do not talk negatively about your parents or parent in laws. If you have a problem talk directly with the parent of concern with respect and love. But do not, do not gossip, pull down or criticise your parents or your in laws. Love and conversation that pulls down cannot live together. One will eat the other for lunch. Choose the attitude of honour, love and respect.
Thank your parents in your speech. Give them a gift, write them a note, create special one on one moments with them before the wedding. Give them honor.
5. Remember that a new family structure is being created.
There is a lot happening within the soul of a family when a couple decide to get married. Family structures change and it is a very emotional season for families. Sibling relationships change; parent child relationships change.
Parents can be both very happy, elated and excited and sad at the same time. Their family as they have known it for so long is changing and it can be a weird thing to realise that they will no longer be the most important person in your life.
The first person you will turn to now for comfort, for care and concern will not be your parent but your partner. For 20 plus years it has been the parent and now there is someone else. Be sensitive to this and give the relationships space and time.
If you think beyond dresses, flowers, invitations, venues and decorations and think about relationships then it will all come together. Remember your parents were at this point at one stage in their life too. Remember that they love you and want the very best for you.