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Are men really from Mars?

Here is a news-flash! Weddings aren't all about the bride...... GASP! WHAT!? BLASPHEMY! Yes, I apologize if I have offended anyone, but spoiler-alert: there are two people getting married up there at the alter, two people exchanging, "I do's", two people committing to spending the rest of their lives together, two people vowing to love and honor each other... you get the point. It takes two to tango!

So, here is what you need to know: everyone goes through a learning process. We women were taught by the lovely Disney Princesses and modern culture from a young age about marriage and weddings, (more specifically--- weddings, perfect prince charming, and happily ever afters--- but that is opening a can of worms for another day). As young girls we played house and media/culture/other sources ingrained in us the importance of YOUR wedding day. Young girls grow into teenagers, who grow into college gals, who grow into bridesmaids, who grow into brides, who grow into mothers of the bride or groom, etc... it is a perpetual wedding cycle. Every stage of a woman's life can potentially have wedding-mania experiences. Ok, so what? We're women and we're involved in weddings, what does this have to do with my fiance?

Well, boys and men alike can be very conflicted or confused when it comes to weddings, especially their own. Maybe you made your brother play the groom at your childhood wedding in the backyard, but males experiences with weddings and marriage knowledge are much more limited as compared to females. Of course, there are exceptions to every generalization, please understand there are many men out there in the world who are wedding gurus and could dominate women in any type of wedding competition... but if your fiance is not a member of the wedding-obsessed entourages, don't be surprised.

You and your fiance may even find yourselves arguing more than usual over petty or unknown causes during your engagement. Why? Because of stress. You may be stressed out because of the planning process and you feel your fiance is not involved enough, or does not appreciate all of the effort you are putting into making your wedding day fabulous. He may be stressed out because he doesn't understand how the reception venue can charge such an expensive cake-cutting fee, or why he has to spend a Saturday afternoon talking about table linens and floral centerpieces. Communication is key here, (as with everything in life!!), take time to talk to him about why x,y, and z are important to you. While you're "communicating" with him about what you have always wanted your wedding to be like, make sure to also LISTEN to his responses and consider his perspective as well. Just spending five minutes talking about your vendors or your families roles in the wedding can alleviate confusion or stress that you and your fiance may not even be aware is building under the surface.

Real life example: One of my brides called me, late one night crying. Her fiance had called off the wedding. He could not give any reason other than it was stressing him out and he couldn't do it. He didn't get why they needed to put on a big show for everyone. He wanted to just go to the Courthouse and be legally done with it. After much discussion and advice, my bride calmed down and told me she would call me in the morning. The next day I received a call from a much happier bride. The couple had stayed up talking most of the night. She said they started off angry and resentful towards one another because they were both stressed out... but as they took turns describing the traditions that were important to their families, they realized he had never been a part of a wedding, and she had taken part in many weddings. They came from two very different ends of the spectrum in terms of their opinions on the importance of wedding traditions. The bride explained to her fiance that the wedding wasn't a travesty to prance around in front of their guests, the wedding to her was a celebration of their love and commitment to each other. When her fiance realized the importance of the event, he said he would participate, but they needed to compromise on certain things. He did not want to not get married, he just wanted to be married without all the stress of the wedding he was feeling. Once they got on the same page, everything was copasetic.

Maybe people think men are from Mars and women are from Venus because they have given up trying to make the two genders get along 100% of the time. Here is another news-flash: no one gets along 100% of the time. Boys and girls have different experiences growing up, SOME OF THE TIME, but that does not make us totally alien to one another. Men and women can talk about their childhoods and learn a lot from each other. Having open and consistent communication throughout the wedding planning process will only help you and your fiance to start off on the right foot for an open and honest marriage. Discuss what is important to you and listen to what is important to him, and you will be two happy peas in a pod!

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