Getting Over Your Wedding Disaster
After speaking to couples who had wedding disasters — like getting drunk, ending up in the emergency room, and being rained out — Dr. Phil offers this advice:
- If it's been years and you still feel guilty about something you wish you hadn't done on your wedding day, ask yourself: Is this going to be a life sentence? Should it be such a burden that you're still eaten up by it years later? Maybe it wasn't your finest hour, but people make mistakes and it's time to stop beating yourself up for it.
- Do you think others are judging you for you wedding day behaviors? "You really wouldn't worry so much about what people thought about you if you knew how seldom they did," Dr. Phil reminds a guest. They love you. It's not the end of their world; it shouldn't be the end of yours.
- Your wedding day may not have been all you hoped for, but keep it in perspective. It would be a shame, for example, to refuse to celebrate your anniversary. The wedding was a party, a ritual, an event. It's not the anniversary of your wedding, it's the anniversary of the day you began your marriage. And to not celebrate your marriage would diminish the importance of your union.
- Whether something happened that was your fault or someone else's, remember that forgiveness is a choice. It's not something that's going to just suddenly wash over you one day. Stop waiting for it to happen and choose it.
- It's all about intention. Most likely, no one — including you — intended to mar your wedding day. Accidents happen.
- If you just can't let go, ask yourself: What is your payoff for holding on to the guilt, anger or resentment? Once you know what your payoff is, you have to make a choice that says, 'This is over. I did not intend for this to happen, it took a bad turn and I'm letting it go.' Dr. Phil tells his guest who's paralyzed with guilt, "You're cheating your husband because a guilt-ridden partner is less than a 100 percent. You're cheating your children because a guilt-ridden mother is less than 100 percent." You need to make the choice to consciously forgive.
- Some say rain on your wedding day is good luck, not bad. Remember Life Law # 6: There is no reality, only perception. You have the ability to choose how you perceive any event in your life, and you exercise this power of choice in every circumstance, every day of your life.
- Put it in perspective. It was one day in your long life together as husband and wife. It didn't go as planned, but it's a sign of the resilience you have as a couple. And you now have a story to tell that is unique to everyone else's.
- Watch your catastrophic language. The words you use have a powerful impact on how you feel. Change the negative tapes that run in your head. Take out words like "cursed," "disaster," "horrible," "worst day of my life," "ruined my marriage." Ask yourself if that's factually true. For example, rain on your wedding day is a disappointment, not a tragedy. Children in a burn unit is a tragedy.
- Does the wedding day disaster come up in every argument? Do you threaten divorce every time it does? Take on a personal relationship value that says you'll never put your marriage on the line. Make an agreement that divorce is not an option and should never be threatened.
- Keep in mind, you may be blaming your wedding disaster on other problems you need to deal with. Dig deeper. Do you have a chip on your shoulder about something else? Why are you catastrophizing your marriage because of one day? Ask yourself if it has anything to do with your previous relationships. Do you have unfinished emotional business from your past? Do an autopsy of your past relationship so you can stop making your spouse pay for the sins of someone who came before him/her.
- Consider a "do over." If you long for a happy memory and you just can't find any from that day, consider having another, more intimate, personal ceremony where you and your spouse renew your vows to each other. Or, take the grand honeymoon you may not have gotten the first time around and focus on the love you have for each other.
- Don't forget to lighten up and laugh about it. Don't take it so seriously. Embrace it and make it a part of the lure that becomes your life. It can become a story to tell your grandkids some day.