How To Stay Sane While Planning for Your Wedding!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

"Complaining" vs "Criticizing"

The other day I met with Jen, a bride who’s frustrated with her fiancé Jack’s lack of involvement in the planning of their 2015 wedding.  As I listened to her, I began to tune her out because her “concerns” were basically a litany of criticisms.  She was so shrill that I wondered why she was marrying Jack if he was such a lazy lout. When I asked her that exact question, she stared at me, puzzled that I’d doubt her choice of a husband. 

Jen claimed that she loved Jack and then proceeded to recite another litany – of all the good he does.  He sounded entirely different from the fiancé she’d been criticizing!  She was caught off guard when I pointed this out and shocked when I told her that I’d been ready to end the meeting, as I couldn't listen to her criticisms. 

All I could think was – if I had a hard time listening to her, what must it be like for Jack?!

Tara Parker-Pope, blogger for The New York Times “Well” section, offers what I think is a critical insight into what makes for a “successful” argument.

Her research on marriage shows that one of the main differences between a “good fight” and a “bad fight” is whether a person begins with a complaint or a criticism. For example, "I wish you went with me to see more vendors" is a complaint as opposed to "You never show any interest in planning the ceremony. What's wrong with you?" which is a criticism. 

Which of those two do you think is harsher? Read the sentences again and pay attention to the choice of words. Imagine how you would say each sentence to your partner.

In the first sentence you’re “complaining”—meaning you’re letting your partner know how you feel as a result of their disappointing behavior.

In the second sentence, you’re “criticizing”—meaning you’re attacking your partner and so he or she has only two choices—shut down or lash out.

The first sentence begins with “I” and the second sentence begins with “you.” In the first, you’re taking responsibility for how you’re feeling, while in the second you’re nastily attacking.

Think back on your last argument with your partner (or someone with whom you have an ongoing relationship).  Did it begin with one of you criticizing the other? Were you upset more with what your partner said or with how he or she said it?

Remember: the goal of communicating is to get understood. Criticize and the other person will shut down. Complain, in the right tone of voice at the right time, and, if they’re honest, the other person will be more receptive to listening to you.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

NEW! Wedding Ceremony Podcast


Weekly Wedding Ceremony Podcast


   JP Reynolds   


Clint Hufft  

NOW on i-Tunes and direct at:

With more than 30 years combined experience, JP and Clint each week discuss all things ceremony – from the whacky to the wonderful – stories, tips and advice on how to create the ceremony that captures the magic of your couples while avoiding drama, pitfalls and all too common mistakes!

Rev. JP Reynolds ~ Ordained a Catholic priest, JP Reynolds today works as a non-denominational wedding officiant.  In 2005, he officiated the wedding of Rob and Amber, reality show sweethearts from “Survivor”.           

Rev. Clint Hufft ~ Clint is a well–known, sought-after personality in the Wedding Industry, having officiated “Trista and Ryan’s Wedding” on ABC-TV, along with many other high-profile weddings.    

Friday, April 11, 2014

More Responses to "Marriage Is. . ."

Here are some more answers I received from my 2013 couples, when I asked them to finish the phrase, “Marriage is. . .” 

What about you – how do you finish the phrase, “Marriage is. . .”?
If you’d like, you can post your answers to my Facebook page:

Also, photos in this post are not of the couples whose quotes are included – I just like these photos!

Marriage is knowing you could live without the other, 
you are your own person, 
but it's about appreciating and enjoying 
just how much better life is with the other.

Marriage is a promise to continue building and strengthening 
the best kind of friendship.
It's a promise to keep learning about each other, 
from each other and for each other.
It's a promise to both challenge and support each other through all 
the ups, downs and flat roads of life.
It's a promise to let go of fear together and let life and love take over.

These words come straight from the heart, and though we’ve only been married for 9 months, I can tell you they ring true for us so far. With the exception of our wedding, 2013 has been a bit of a challenge. Dave’s company lost a major client soon after our honeymoon, which caused him to be on reduced income through the end of the year, and as of January 1, he’s officially full-time on the market. He’s working hard every day to find new opportunities, but it’s tough out there and it’s taking time. Needless to say, it’s given us a lot to deal with in this first year of marriage. But I’m happy to report we’re talking, laughing and loving our way through it all. We know it’s just a blip on our radar, a story we will tell someday, a part of our journey - and we’re just so glad we’re in it together, as a couple and as best friends, supporting each other and growing into our next chapter together.  We’ve learned a lot about what “marriage is” from this year and we’re looking forward to all the things we have yet to learn.