Flowers vs. a Hand-Washed Car

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By J.P. Reynolds

I met with Annie and Brad four weeks before their wedding so as to finalize the ceremony. They were making jabbing comments at each other and I was puzzled, as they seemed so mellow when I first met with them. It then came out that Danny was upset. Annie consistently “nagged” him for not being more romantic. With exasperation he asked, “What more does she want? I hand-washed her car last weekend.” “Flowers,” she said. “Why don’t you give me flowers?”

Love is patient, love is kind, but what is love without seeing? Weird things happen when you’re planning for the wedding, such as putting expectations on your partner that they’re unaware of. And when they don’t act from those expectations, you can quickly become difficult. Of course, this is true even when you’re not planning a wedding!

Don’t saddle your partner with unfair, love-testing expectations.  Be kind. Be realistic. Follow these four common sense steps.

First, recognize that your partner isn’t a mind reader! Often I hear brides say, “If he really loved me, I wouldn’t always have to tell him what I need.” Really? And you are a mind reader?

Second, tell your partner what you need from them; explain how they can help you make things go more smoothly.

Third, be honest with yourself — are your expectations fair and realistic? If your partner has an awkward, strained relationship with your mother, it’s not fair to think that she’s going to invite her to help her pick out the gown!

Fourth, if your partner honestly thinks they cannot fulfill those expectations, don’t condemn them.  Explore why your partner feels unappreciated and then how you can help each other be happier in the planning.

Trust me, you’ll eliminate needless stress by not demanding that your partner act like someone they neither cannot be nor want to be.

You are marrying the person you’re excited to journey with through life. Believe that your partner’s intentions are good. Pay attention to what they are doing for you and for the two of you. If you pay attention to each other first, then you’ll be able to see everything else in its right perspective. And if you don’t believe your partner’s intentions are good, then why are you marrying him/her? What’s going on?

At least once a week ask yourself these three questions so as to get a clearer perception of your partner. What is something that he/she has done for you in the past week — no matter how small, no matter how easy? Were you able to readily see the care behind it? What were you focused on that made you miss the love?  And then make sure to thank your partner!

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