As adapted from Vikki Ziegler’s upcoming book, “The Pre-Marital Planner (to stay happily married).”
Your wedding is a year or maybe a few months away. Perhaps weeks. Yikes! You have so much to do that even your lists have lists. Everything is going perfectly, right? “Almost perfectly,” you think. It is just that you cannot stop thinking about why your dear Aunt Sally replied that she would not attend your reception. “Could she still be upset that you said her turkey was dry at Thanksgiving six years ago?”
It is a fact of life; people will disappoint you. It will sadden you. Upset you. Make you angry! You will ask them to make things right. Beg, even. Stop talking to them or yell at the top of your lungs. That may or may not work because the harsh reality remains, no matter how much you try, you cannot control or fix others.
Situations, therefore, stay the same. In limbo. The trouble is, many times you carry the resentment from previous disappointments with you for a long time, sometimes a lifetime, which can potentially hold you back from enjoying your current relationship, particularly a romantic one, the way you should.
Marriage, perhaps the most significant relationship you will ever have with another human being, is no exception. Becoming a wife or husband is more than a title you get. It is an identity. A role. And you want to perform it to the best of your ability. That means being present as an equal and supportive partner. To do this is, you first need to make peace with your past.
It doesn’t matter who you took issue with, who took issue with you, or how long ago it occurred. Whether it is your relationship with your current partner, an old boyfriend, past love, friend, or family member which caused you pain, you must heal your heart. Ask yourself: What was your worst relationship? After you do, describe how your worst relationship made you feel, what went wrong, and why.
Then ask this important question: Do you have enough courage to love again? Hopefully, the answer to that is a resounding yes. If it isn’t, don’t worry. By digging deep into your past, by asking and answering the hard questions now, you can summon that courage again.
Looking back doesn’t only involve dredging up unpleasant memories. Recall what your best relationship was. If you are getting married, hopefully, it is your current one. How does this relationship make you feel and why? Why is it your best relationship yet? Is it because of the way you love?
If you are still having trouble completing these exercises, ask for professional help to guide you. Also, journal. Don’t just ask yourself these questions in your mind, write them down. Do the work. Trust me; it pays off.
Once you have finished forgiving others, it is time to forgive yourself. Forgiving yourself is, without a doubt, the greatest act of kindness you can ever bestow on someone, so it might as well start with you. We all say and do things we aren’t proud of, and we all make mistakes, even me. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t worthy of being loved by someone else. You are. But, first, you must love yourself. Only then can your spouse love you the way you need and deserve to be loved.
Your goal is to go into marriage free from the shackles of your past. Take time now to look back so you can have the freedom to look forward. That is what wedding planning is truly about, isn't it?
Be sure to check out “The Pre-Marital Planner (to stay happily married),” the quintessential guide for any woman in search of a real happily ever after, scheduled for release on August 1, 2017. Click here for more details.
Vikki Ziegler is the star of Bravo TV’s Untying the Knot, the founder and CEO of DivorceDating, Author of The Pre-Marital Planner: Your Complete Legal Guide to a Perfect Marriage, and a co-founder of and partner at Ziegler & Zemsky, LLC. To learn more about Vikki, visit www.vikkiziegler.com or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.