I have heard of a lot of couples complaining that they have had to postpone their weddings. Off course this also entailed a grieving process with a whole lot of emotions ranging from shock, disbelief, anger, depression and even anxiety. This off course is natural when you have been looking forward to getting married to the man or wife of your dreams for the biggest part of your life. You have had dreams, and no one anticipated that something that cannot even been seen with the bare eye, the Corona virus, could have pulled the plugged on your dream wedding.
However, there is also another phase in the grieving phase that I wish to present to you in order that you can work through these emotions. This phase recently added by psychologist and co-worker David Kessler. This phase is called “finding meaning”. The phases of grief were essentially developed and attributed to Diana Kübler-Ross, and mostly attributed to the loss of a loved one. But in the age of Corona more and more psychologists and counsellors has seen the grieving stages in our modern age. Couples who looked forward to their wedding day are grieving. Young mothers-to-be were looking forward to having a baby shower, or at least the dad of the baby next to her in hospital. Grandparents are grieving about missing out on essential milestones of their grandchildren, like seeing their granddaughter or grandson walking down the isle and promising love to his/her future bride or bridegroom.
We cannot go back in time and we cannot change the outcome of Covid 19. We can however seek to find the gifts that this pandemic also brings. This is the search for meaning or the search for hope that enables us to begin to cope with this pandemic. I wish to present you with a view of the gifts that I as an outsider, looking in can see.
I am a counsellor, a minister and a marriage officer. I am registered on various wedding sites and social media platforms where I read the comments or even view the advertisements of service providers. Here are my views:
1. Thisistheperfecttimetoinvestinamarriage,andnotjustinasinglewedding day. Sometimes we do get side-tracked with the consumerism and television weddings that say, “bigger is better”. Sometimes at the cost of the couple’s
long-term financial situation. You do not have to compete with your friends to have a more lavish wedding with more this and more that. “Less is more”. But “more” love, is essential for the long-term health of your marriage. I encourage you to rather invest in the values that you and your partner wish to instill in each other and in your marriage. Build a marriage vision board and ask yourselves what I want in marriage, and what I do not want. What are the gifts that we give each other as a complementing team? What rules should we instill for us to have a healthy and fulfillable marriage.
This is the time to concentrate on the importance of love. In this time however we could begin to work on each other’s nerves as we spend so much more time together than usual. A survey conducted by gearhungry.com has proved that 45% of couples has claimed that they feel more stressed. Two thirds of couples say that working at home with their partner has put more strain on their relationship. Thus, for your relationship to flourish, clearly communicate your needs, and build healthy ways of communication. This is the most important building brick of a relationship. Secondly, find ways to give each other space. We are not the same... we have different hobbies and different interests, and different ways of coping with stress or anxiety. Thus, set up a schedule of how you would like to spend some quality time alone.
Ifyouhavenotalreadyreturnedtoyourhecticworkschedule,thisistheperfect time to plan your wedding even further. Make your own handmade invitations or guest gifts. Handwrite the thank you cards that you wish to give essential role players in your life. Maybe have a Zoom or Skype session with your bridesmaids, or service providers.
The most wonderful gifts for couples still planning on their special day is that now you can re-budget. You have had the opportunity to save up even more. Or you have had to cut some items on your wish list. I see a lot of service providers offering special offers and discounts. An ideal time to cash in on those and make your day even more special.
As you can see, just by reframing the situation, by taking a step back, we can see that even Covid 19 has some benefits for you as a couple. This positive reframing is what
enables us to work through the emotions and frustrations and making us more aware of the small blessings in life.