PLANNING YOUR WEDDING PART 2: ESTABLISHING HEALTHY BOUNDARIES WITH FAMILY By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott.

PLANNING YOUR WEDDING PART 2: ESTABLISHING

HEALTHY BOUNDARIES WITH FAMILY

By November 28, 2018

Boundaries are critically important in marriage. They protect you as a couple from negative outside influences, helping you to strengthen and maintain a healthy relationship from within.

If you don’t have boundaries yet, you need to have a discussion with your fiance about what those boundaries need to entail. The wedding planning season isn’t the easiest time to enact boundaries, but if you don’t already have them as a couple, it’s a good time to establish them.

That’s because planning your wedding is one of your first big opportunities to exercise boundaries. While the two of you attempt to plan your big day together, you’re going to get a lot of noise coming in from the outside. Boundaries can help you filter that noise. (Check out part 1 of our wedding planning series here if you missed it!)

Here’s how you can exercise your boundaries while you’re planning the wedding.

1. STICK TO YOUR PLANS–UNLESS YOU AGREE TO CHANGES TOGETHER

If you and your fiance are working together to plan your wedding, stick to your plans. Don’t let someone else’s whims or demands derail you. There are ways to not cave, while still being respectful.

Family pressure is always tough, especially when it involves wedding plans. Mothers, in particular, tend to have very deeply-held convictions about what they want for their sons’ and daughters’ big day. If their grand visions don’t line up with yours, stick to what you and your fiance have planned.

2. ANTICIPATE PRESSURE AND PLAN YOUR RESPONSE

It’s wise to anticipate at least some level of pressure from family or future in-laws. If you realize early on that this could happen, it gives you a chance to plan how you’ll respond. You can:

Defer to one another regarding wedding-related decisions (i.e., “Let me ask him/her”)
Diplomatically delay providing answers to demands (“Thanks for the suggestion; let us give that some thought”)
Kindly refuse to have certain conversations regarding plans you don’t want to commit to

While enforcing your boundaries isn’t always pleasant–particularly when they apply to family–they’re essential to protecting your relationship. They also help you to not feel so pulled in one direction or another.

3. KEEP YOUR COOL, BUT STAND YOUR GROUND

Planning a wedding can get intense and stressful at times. In fact, it can feel like navigating a field of landmines. Boundaries can help you navigate that field, and they give you a higher chance of defusing those mines before they explode.

As the two of you stand your ground in the decisions you’ve made for your day, keep a cool head. Your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should belong to you. While it’s okay to listen to ideas and opinions, you don’t have to take them. Just be sure to stay as calm as you can and be kind in your responses; you don’t want to look back on this time with feelings of regret for how you handled yourself.

BONUS: IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN DELEGATE?

We all have relatives who are very enthusiastic about being involved in our big plans. Maybe you want them to feel included without giving up the most important decisions.

If that’s the case, are there portions of the festivities that you can hand off? Does your enthusiastic family member have a particular talent or interest they can lend to planning, decor, or entertainment? Consider whether there are parts of the celebration you can entrust to them so they can make their mark.

Next week, we’ll wrap up our series with part 3, which will help you navigate conflicts that might arise in the midst of your wedding planning season. See you then!

Are you in the thick of wedding planning right now? How are you and your fiance establishing healthy boundaries with your families during this process? We’d love for you to share your experiences with us in the comments.

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