Today’s question is not so much about sex, but about marriage in general. It’s from a guy coming up on his wedding.
I’ve been looking at how modern society (at least in the U.S.) views the actual wedding, and it has me worried about my own wedding. I constantly hear the saying “It’s the bride’s special day”. Maybe I’m taking this too personal, but when I hear phrases like this, it makes me feel like as the groom that I am more or less an after thought.
When I think about it, it almost seems like aside from “I do”, the groom could be gone from the wedding and it would be almost exactly the same.
There’s no special attention to grooms on this day, at least in comparison to what the bride gets. Nobody watches us walk down the [aisle], nobody really comments on our appearance, etc.
While I understand that this is just one day in my life, I’m worried that if my wedding day goes as normal that it will set some sort of precedent that whenever something comes up for us as a couple that she will ultimately be the one who has the final say. Are these irrational fears/concerns? It just seems like weddings reinforce an attitude of “me, me, me” for the bride, when it should be an “us” for the couple being married.
I found this interesting, because I think for many women, we feel like it’s the last day we get to choose everything. The wedding can feel like a final blowout for her opinions, a day to be the royal princess, while we expect that the rest of marriage to operate more like a democracy. Likely with the husband having 60% of the vote total.
I’m not saying this is how it is — just how it can feel for many wives.
Honestly, however, while you’re dating and engaged, you’re getting clues all the time about how your future spouse will behave and how your marriage — and sexual intimacy — might go. I recently had a discussion with a friend about people we knew who married despite some red flags and ended up divorced in a few years. Oftentimes they were warned by family and friends as well, but chose to ignore those concerns with the belief that “they don’t know him/her like I do!”
I don’t believe that it’s necessarily a problem in our culture that women do most of the wedding planning. Some guys are not interested and would rather just show up on the day wearing their tux and ready to say “I do.” But you do have an opportunity while preparing for your wedding to make sure this is the right person and to set some expectations for your relationship.
If you want to be involved, get involved. My man didn’t give much of a hoot about the particulars of our wedding, but he was opinionated about our wedding registry. That’s when couples choose what dinnerware, linens, etc. they would like to receive from well-wishes. He spoke up for what he wanted, and I happily included him.
What’s a problem is if you want to be involved and she won’t let you. That could be an omen for future dealings. Like that she’ll later plan the family vacations and ignore your input. Or you’ll want to talk about sex and she’ll cut you off. It’s not whether she does this or you do that in the wedding or the marriage, but whether you can work together to satisfy your different needs.
And by the way, guys, this means if she desperately desires your input, don’t say, “Whatever you want.” Just point to the china pattern you like best and move on.
If she’s a bridezilla now, she’ll likely be a wifezilla at some point. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 describes a loving person this way:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
If your bride-to-be is impatient, unkind, envious, boastful, proud, dishonors others, seeks her own way constantly, gets angry with others, etc. Yeah, that’s a big ol’ red flag. Like waving in your face. It’s fine to have opinions and seek a wedding day you want to enjoy and treasure. But tearing out a path on your way to that destination like a tornado is not acceptable.
On the other hand, men, we ladies feel a lot of pressure for this day to go right. So if she’s not mean, but rather stressed-out, do your best to help her out and reassure her. Remind each other continually that your marriage isn’t about just the wedding day — that it’s only the start of something beautiful you want to savor for many years to come.
You’re watching each other. Having talked to plenty of wives, and gals love to share their wedding stories, I know that we have both cultural and personal expectations for our grooms. Some want their guy very involved, some want their guy to stay completely away from their tabbed wedding planner notebook, and most lie somewhere in between.
You may be watching how she acts during this lead-up to the main event, but she’s watching you too. You both can gather useful information now that will help you figure out how to deal with issues later. Are you able to both speak your mind with courtesy and respect? Do discussions turn into arguments, or do you find ways to negotiate a win-win? How does she handle her family, and how do you handle yours? (Important future in-law insight there!) What positive and negative traits does the wedding pressure bring out in both of you?
Pressure cooker moments in life tell a lot about us. (Just ask Job.) Since your marriage will definitely entail some pressure cooker moments, use this opportunity to learn how to work together effectively. You should both speak up for what you want, but at times demonstrate the marriage-necessary trait of selflessness.
A few final thoughts:
- I strongly encourage you to seek premarital counseling. A quality counselor or premarriage class will force you to discuss important topics and make sure you’re on the same page or at least in the same book. (And that book should be the Bible.)
- Consider how all these personality traits you’re seeing might affect your sexual intimacy. Yes, that’s what I write about, so it’s my wheelhouse. I see plenty of couples frustrated with spouses who are selfish in the bedroom, when really that’s kind of how they were about their relationship in general before they married. Not always true, but worth considering.
- I’ve written about wedding nights before. So if you want to peruse any of that information, here are a few of those posts:
And finally, CONGRATULATIONS! Your marriage has an excellent chance of going the distance, especially if you both commit to God and one another. May He bless you richly!