Learn how you and your partner can set the groundwork for a healthy, happy marriage while you are planning your wedding!
As wedding planners, we delve into the logistics of wedding planning. Obviously. We work with people in the middle of a stressful, exciting time of their lives. A wedding is a big deal! We believe that the event of a wedding should be an elevated moment in your life. We also have been around a while, and as married people ourselves, we know that the real work is in the marriage, not the wedding planning.
In this episode, we are NOT the experts! We are learning right along with you, dear listeners. Dr. Magdalena Fosse (all information in the links below) is a sex and relationship therapist based in Cambridge, MA, and in this episode, she schools us. Cliff Notes: IT’S ALL ABOUT COMMUNICATION.
Communication is key, absolutely. There are many ways to use our words – some more successful than others. But equally if not more important – the non-verbal communication. Magdalena observes how couples communicate in her office and she can see pretty quickly how non-verbal cues and triggers affect each partner. Sometimes the conversation is over before it starts just because of the way someone is sitting, or where their eyes fall.
More couples seek therapy in crisis, rather than as a proactive way to get on the same page, or develop healthy tools. So when crisis does strike, and it will, the partners don’t even know where to begin unraveling the mess and coming to terms about how to move forward. A marital crisis is always just the tip of the iceberg, there’s always a build up underneath.
One key to success lies in gratitude, and perspective. John Gottman’s theory is the ratio of negative to positive should be 1 to 5. The small, positive interactions with your partner, in your life together, should outweigh the negative ones by 5. This is a ‘magic’ ratio. It’s in our nature to focus more on the bad than the good, and with your life partner, you need to make a concerted effort to focus on the positive.
4 signs that your relationship may be in big trouble: Contempt, Defensiveness, Criticism, Stone-Walling.
Make sure you are affirming your partner. And if you feel like your partner isn’t noticing or affirming your efforts, don’t give up! Disappointment leads to disillusionment. Disillusionment leads to distance. Distance can feel impossible to come back from. This distance can be avoided if the original disappointment is addressed quickly, rather than swept under the rug. Talking about things as they come is VERY important. (Which is why stone-walling is a bad thing in a relationship.)
Two topics Magdalena thinks every couple should openly address: Pleasure and Expectations about sex. This is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with! You gotta be open and honest about this stuff!
The presence of conflict is not the problem in a relationship. It’s normal, natural and present. The absence of repair is the problem.
Slow down! Learn how to prevent a big escalation together. Practice makes perfect. Get better, as a couple, after each argument or tough discussion. And remember – if things between you two are ‘good’ 70-80% of the time, you’re doing great! Consistency is key.
Links we referenced
Dr. Magdalena Fosse: Clinical Psychologist, Certified Sex Therapist and Couple’s Counselor: www.drfosse.com
PCFINE, Psychodynamic Couple and Family Institute of New England: https://www.pcfine.org
John Gottman books about relationships: www.gottman.com
“The wedding is just a party. It’s an awesome party, but it is not nearly as hard as being married, or as important.” – Christy
“All long term couples need to learn how to talk about difficult things. Because that’s life. Being able to communicate constructively is essential.” – Magdalena, practice is perfect
“It’s work. Relationships require investment.” – Magdalena
“Sex is everywhere and it seems so easy.” – Magdalena
“For a relationship to feel rewarding, it requires effort. It requires energy from both partners to be willing to DO something, not just go with what feels easiest.” - Magdalena, on why Netfix&Chill can be a relationship killer
“Betrayal comes in many different forms.” – Magdalena
“The problem is not the presence of conflict. It’s the absence of repair. The concept of repair is crucial.” – Magdalena
“You just kinda blew my mind a little bit. I was thinking prevent-prevent-prevent…and it’s not about that.” – Michelle
“Being in love is easy in so many ways…but being in life means you have to encounter all these issues.” - Magdalena
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Let us know if you have any questions you need answered on the show or if you want to share your own wedding planning experiences!