Simon and Jacqui were a “nice” couple who happen to be one of a handful of couples whose wedding I declined to officiate. I actually don’t say “yes” to every couple that asks me to celebrate their ceremony. While I’m not able to predict if a couple will live happily ever after, I need to have a gut feeling that they have what it takes.
Jacqui and Simon had been together for ten years. Within minutes of our meeting, Jacqui told me that she had sacrificed her life for Simon. She gave up plans for grad school so as to work and put him through law school. She helped him pay off his student loans and she moved around to three different states for him.
She said that now it was her turn—she wanted a wedding and he “owed” her.
Simon had taken the Bar exam and was waiting to hear the results. Since he’d reached his goal and Jacqui no longer needed to sacrifice for him, I asked him if was prepared to sacrifice for her. He looked at me blankly. Huh? Again, I asked what was he prepared to do to help her reach her dreams. He was stumped, as he’d never thought of it quite that way.
I’m not a psychologist or a marriage therapist. I am, though, a communications coach and it was alarmingly evident that Simon & Jacqui had not had the hard conversations that were needed before getting married.
Jacqui presented herself as a martyr for their love. Generous? Yes and also drastic as she sacrificed without any planning for her own future. Simon wasn’t able to tell me what Jacqui’s dreams were because they hadn’t talked about her dreams.
That Jacqui felt entitled to a fancy wedding because she sacrificed for him, puts an odd spin on their wedding. A wedding is a couple’s celebration and not the bride’s coronation!
Planning a wedding with a tit-for-tat mentality is simply not healthy as it’s petty and rife with opportunities for passive-aggressive acts.
I declined to officiate their wedding because I didn’t understand the vision they had for their life together. It seemed more a transaction than a sacred commitment (sacred in the sense that when two people give their word to each other, that act is bigger than just the two of them).
So, what is your vision for your great day? For your life together? If you don’t have a shared vision, then what do you have?!