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Stress levels of Australian Couples impacting Physical Health: Wedding Stressors and Engaged Couples – Consider whether deeper issues are underlying your conflict (Part 5)

Engaged couples are typically embroiled in the countless details of planning their wedding service and reception. They are also faced with the pressures of a very high price tag.

In many ways, planning a wedding provides the first big set of decisions a couple will make together and tests their ability to function as a team. From finances to family, and communication to conflict, the wedding preparations trigger many of the issues a couple will face throughout their married life providing a symbolic practice field for their relationship.

In looking at the PREPARE/ENRICH data, the Cost of the wedding is the number 3 overall stressor for engaged couples. Two other items from the wedding items also made the top 10; Decisions about wedding details was number 7, and Feeling overwhelmed by wedding details was number 10 out of the 25 stressors reported by engaged couples. Differences and disagreements are as inevitable in wedding planning as they are in marriage itself. This is a good time to learn how to deal with them. Here are some strategies you might find helpful to work through with your wedding plans or to discuss with the couple you are working with:

5. Consider whether deeper issues are underlying your conflict:

  • When you are doing your best to deal with your differences and yet remain polarized, consider whether deeper issues are underlying your conflict. For example, sometimes the issue is not about the size of the wedding but about a feeling of envy or competition because one of you has a bigger family or circle of friends. Sometimes the issue is not between the two of you, but between one of you and your family members.

The standard tools of effective communication taught in PREPARE/ENRICH are particularly important when there is tension between couples. Examples are speaking for yourself using “I-statements” rather than attacking the other person, listening to understand before proposing solutions, and choosing the best time and place to talk about difficult matters. Everyday communication patterns might be fine for everyday matters, but when you are negotiating a wedding, it’s good to be at your best!

Read on for various resources to assist you at this time. Finally, please let us know how you are going in these challenging times.

For more information on the virus and the steps that can be taken to minimise its impact, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.

Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM.

Tune in next week for more discussion about relationships and mental health. 

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