2. Cultural Conditioning:
Our culture tells you from the moment you’re born that the person you marry should be “the one,” “your soul mate”, “your perfect match,” etc etc. These buzzwords can send the most sane and rational woman into a tailspin of questions during her engagement as she begins to wonder if that other guy, the one who made her stomach belly flop and her head swoon every time he walked in the room, was indeed this sought after soulmate. Isn’t that what love is supposed to feel like, she wonders. Isn’t that how I’m supposed to feel about the person I’m about to marry? The answer is a resounding NO! Those feelings that the other elicited are just that… feelings. They’re not a basis for making a decision to marry.
Our culture calls it love, but it’s really closer to adolescent infatuation. Now that’s not to say that sometimes those feelings don’t transform into a solid foundation on which to base a marriage. But more often than not, the bad boy that broke your heart does not magically turn into the adult man who is wiling to take on the responsibilities of marriage. It’s our culture who transmits a faulty message about love, and an engagement is often the time when women decode this message and learn, for the first time, what real love is really about.
3. The Pursuer-Distancer Syndrome
Part of learning about real love is learning about the typical – and unhealthy – dynamics that inform many people’s early relationships. During adolescence and in your early twenties, you may have pursued boys that weren’t as interested in you as you were in them. When they did give you the time of day – or more – you felt ecstatic, loved, and validated. When they ignored you or broke up with you, you felt devastated, and equated this negated feeling with love, thereby forming the false belief that loss equals love. For many people, love and loss are fused into a confusing knot that only becomes disentangled with a healthy love relationship. But on the threshold of marriage, when you analyze every aspect of your relationship, the old beliefs thrust back to life and you find yourself thinking about the one-who-got-away, wondering if those intense feelings meant that you loved him more than the one you’re with.
Nothing could be further from the truth, and through our counseling sessions and the step-by-step guidance of my Conscious Weddings E-Course, through which I prescribe specific exercises designed to exorcise the past and heal the unhealthy belief systems, my clients are able to lay the past to rest and move toward their wedding day with clarity and gratitude about the wonderful man they have chosen to marry.