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For your mother, your marriage can be a lot like the day you went off to college: Exciting but also absolutely terrifying, says Ruth Nemzoff, Ph.D., parenting expert and author of Don't Bite Your Tongue: How to Foster Rewarding Relationships with Your Adult Children. "After years of hard work, lost sleep and many tedious tasks, a mother sends her child into unknown territory — and of course worry is part of how she feels." So if you find your mother hasn't yet warmed to the idea of your wedding, here's how to help her get there.
Include your mother in your wedding planning.
Allowing her to help shape your wedding day in a meaningful way, such as introducing traditions from her wedding, family, or culture, can help divert your mother's nervous energy toward something positive, says Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at California State University Los Angeles. You can also "give her other tasks such as helping coordinate extended family or something that will engage her in the wedding," she suggests. "Look at her old wedding pictures or those of other family members, and make a wedding and marriage feel like a family tradition rather than a departure."
Schedule intimate get-togethers for your mother and fiancé.
If your mother has a strong bond and belief in the man you love, your marriage may not make her quite as nervous, says Nemzoff. "Make time for your fiancé and mother to really enjoy each other," she says. "Pick a setting that they would both appreciate — think a walk, a museum, a ball game — so that they can have a shared experience and bond."
Spend time with her — and often.
"Sometimes a mother may feel like she is no longer a priority," explains Durvasula, "so giving her some devoted face time can give both of you the chance to connect." If your mother lives far away, call to keep in touch. "Even over distance, this can maintain that connective tissue and help soothe that feeling of being left behind," Durvasula says. Nemzoff also suggests scheduling a get together when you get home from your honeymoon. "Or," she says, "reassure her you will be home for a holiday." Looking forward to time spent with you will ease her mind.