Maureen’s (names changed) maid of honor, Denise, was driving down from San Francisco to Hollywood for the weekend. They were going to work on wedding stuff. Denise said she’d be there in time for dinner. 6:00pm—no maid of honor. A couple of hours passed—no maid of honor and no phone call. By 11:00pm Maureen was panicked as she hadn’t been able to get hold of Denise. At 11:30pm Denise breezed in, much to Maureen’s relief. But when Maureen asked what had happened, Denise lamely said that she’d gotten a “late” start. She went on to say that her phone battery died. Maureen was dumfounded that Denise hadn’t given any thought to how worried she’d be.
Maureen admitted that she yelled at Denise, demanding to know what was wrong with her that she couldn’t have stopped to call. And, of course, Denise grew annoyed with Maureen for “making a big deal out of nothing.” Maureen shot back that she now wondered why she’d asked her to be her maid of honor! Denise wasn’t going to have any of that and hit back with the zinger, “I’ve got more on my mind than just your wedding.”
There were more nasty words and then silence. Come morning, both women apologized and then spent the rest of the weekend trying to repair the damage.
Emotions—ugh! Buttons are pressed so quickly. Words spit themselves out so easily. And the tone of it all is so often biting, sarcastic, condescending. And that’s when you’re not planning a wedding!
Here’s the reality: feelings get jumbled-up very easily.
Often times while we feel one strong emotion, there’s another, secondary emotion(s), lurking around. At times it’s difficult for us to figure out how best to express what we’re feeling. And so we end up expressing what is the strongest of the feelings. Although Maureen was relieved Denise was safe, her annoyance was the stronger feeling and that’s what came out in her tone and words. Then the conversation quickly took on a life of its own that wasn’t pretty.
Unfortunately, we seldom reveal the complexity of what we’re feeling. During planning, your emotions will get jumbled and will be hard to sort out. The “trick” is to recognize what you’re feeling and make that mindful effort to explain to your partner, friend, parent or vendor what’s going on inside your head and heart.
And, yes, that requires trust and honesty. Do you and your partner have that “dance step” in place?
Sanity Saver Questions:
• In the past week, has you’re partner asked how you’re feeling?
• Have you been able to give your partner some insight into what you’re feeling?
• In the past week have you been able to tune in to your partner’s feelings?
Remember: It’s fine to feel what you feel, but you have to let your partner (or whomever) understand the complexity of what you’re feeling. Otherwise, you’ll just come off as some crazy person to be avoided!