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You are marrying your fiancé because you love him and can't wait to spend the rest of your life with him. But wedding planning is a stressful period. During this time both of you are learning how to communicate with each other. One of the things it is crucial to communicate in a diplomatic but firm way is when he is being, well, a jerk.
Exhibit One: He's Being a Groomzilla
Julie shares, "The cliché is the bridezilla. In our case Jim was the one who drove everyone batty with his obsessiveness that each detail be perfect. Usually he is the most low-key, eager to please guy. Suddenly he was even insisting on helping me choose my wedding gown, despite knowing I didn't want him to see it before the big day!"
How did she wind up getting him to cease and desist being OCD? "I cc'ed him on an email to the vendors apologizing for his behavior!"
This extreme action shocked Jim back to sanity. "He came to me with a dozen yellow long-stem roses, my favorite, and apologized. He now saw his zeal to make the wedding day perfect for me had blinded him to how he was coming across."
Exhibit Two: He Suddenly Wants Constant Togetherness
Says Beth, "Joe's three closest male pals moved out of town almost simultaneously. His reaction was to want to be with me 24/7. I love the guy and I got that he felt lonely, but I need girl time. Joe was not gonna be welcome on mani pedi dates."
This was a dilemma — how to get her fiancé to back off without making him feel rejected? Her solution: "I threw a Superbowl watching party (Joe's favorite sport) and asked all my friends to bring every football-loving guy they knew. By the end of the night, even though Joe's team didn't win — he'd made several new buddies."
Exhibit Three: Wedding Planning Bores Him
Tina recalls, "Tom was such a guy's guy I couldn't get him to sit down and plan any of the details of our big day. He'd say, "Whatever you want, honey" whenever I pushed him about choosing the menu or the photographer or the invitations. This drove me crazy."
Entreating him that it should matter whether they had a martini bar or what kind of centerpieces we chose didn't move her guy. How did Tina convince him to stop thinking like a solo act? By explaining that his partaking in the wedding planning would be their first significant act as a couple, therefore it was important. Compromising on wedding invitations and menu choices was the first step to learning how to please one another — a skill that would be vitally important in the weeks, months and years ahead.
Tina laughs. "I said, 'Do this for me and I'll let you keep the ratty sweatshirts I was going to make you throw out when we got married because I know how much you love them..."
He got the point: Love means having to consider another person's welfare and happiness along with your own so long as you both shall live.
Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.