How My Wedding Crisis Strengthened My Marriage

 / 

Wedding Crisis

There was occasional tension during the wedding planning process when my husband and I got married, but overall everything went pretty smoothly.

Ironically, it wasn’t until a few weeks after our wedding that I was faced with a wedding crisis.

I still remember the day I received that fateful phone call. I saw our wedding photographer’s name appear on my phone and I answered, full of excitement, imagining our special day being timelessly captured.

“Hey Liz… I’m not really sure how to say this, and I’m so very sorry… something, um… something went wrong with my camera and… well, my memory cards completely corrupted… Liz, um… I’m so sorry. Some of the pictures came through, but…”

I didn’t even hear the rest of the sentence. I was devastated.

As the weeks passed, I grieved the fact that I wouldn’t have those pictures to reflect on: my mother helping me into my dress, our wedding party sharing smiles and moments of love and connection, my husband and I in those cheesy but ever-so-special portraits, moments after we made our lifelong commitment to each other.

My husband, being the pragmatic and logical man he is, handled the situation differently. He was frustrated, no doubt, but he didn’t seem to experience the same kind of desperation I did. He explored potential solutions: Could the photographer find some way to retrieve the photos? Could we just ask all of our friends and family to send us the photos they captured from their cameras and phones?

It wasn’t until one day in a grocery store parking lot that he said something that actually made me feel better.

I was expressing how upset I was about the lost photos. Naturally, my husband responded to each complaint with some form of “well, we can always have new ones taken later” or, “at least we got some of the pictures back”.

Then, he stopped, turned, and said, “You know what? I’m sorry. You’ve been talking about how upset you are about this whole thing and I keep minimizing your feelings because I don’t know what I can do or say to fix it. But you’re right – this really, truly sucks. And I’m sorry. I love you.”

It was strange. And it was wonderful.

Those ten seconds of empathy were all I needed to feel better. I just needed someone, especially my husband, to acknowledge the grief I was having over the lost pictures and memories. And when he did, it made a world of difference.

Dr. John Gottman has continuously affirmed the power of showing up for your partner emotionally. In his own words: “Masters of relationships adopt the motto that when you’re hurting, baby, the world stops and I listen.”

Whether it’s stress about how much money to spend, who to invite, what to wear, or where to get married, all premarital couples will find their patience tested in one way or another during the wedding planning process. When stress compounds, one or both partners can feel completely overwhelmed, disconnected, and misunderstood.

Here’s the truth: At the end of the day, your wedding is not about the photos.

It’s about the deeper questions of, “Will you be there for me when I’m upset? When I’m stressed? When I’m disappointed?”

These difficult moments are opportunities to show up for your partner in times of need.

We long for security, certainty, and connection in our relationship. When we experience a stressful event (like my photo crisis), we may question the emotional certainty of our bond if our partner doesn’t show up for us.

Your marriage will have moments when your partner is struggling with something and you won’t know how to fix it. The simple truth is that practicing empathy and understanding will help them more than trying to solve the problem ever will. Here are three practical ways to do this:

Read Highly Sensitive Person Relationships: 10 Secrets To A Successful HSP – Non-HSP Marriage

1. When your partner comes to you with a frustration, concern, or is just upset about something, stop and listen. Be interested. Say, “You seem upset. What’s going on?”

2. Paraphrase what your partner shares by saying, “So what I’m hearing you say is ____” and repeat back your understanding of what you heard them say. Check for accuracy. Let them clarify.

3. Don’t be a problem solver. Let go of your agenda. If you have a potential solution or feedback, check in with your partner to see if they are in a place to hear it. You might say, “I’ve got a couple of ideas that may help with the situation, do you want to hear them?” Remember, it’s not personal if they don’t. They just aren’t ready.

In his book What Makes Love Last?, Dr. Gottman explains that your role as a listener is to understand your partner’s point of view, respond non-defensively, and practice empathy. Problem-solving comes after understanding, not before, otherwise, any proposed solution will create disconnection and resentment.

So, learn to show up for your partner. Day after day.

As you continue forward on your wedding planning and marital preparation journey, be mindful of the opportunities to connect with your partner. These connection opportunities may come in the form of crisis, stress, and frustration, but if you can learn to utilize them in positive ways, you will be actively setting up your marriage for long-term success.


By Liz Higgins, LMFTA

This article was originally published on The Gottman Relationship Blog.

Are you getting ready to tie the knot? See if your relationship has the 7 Signs Your Relationship Will Last by getting a free copy of our guide here.

Read How To Mentally Prepare For Your Marriage

wedding crisis pin

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply



Up Next

10 Riveting Movies About Broken Marriages: How Love Crumbles Over Time

Best Movies About Broken Marriages: How Love Dies

Marriage is supposed to represent love and commitment, but it’s not always a fairy tale. Below are some of the movies about broken marriages that challenge the “happily ever after” stereotype!

Sometimes, things start falling apart — from within or without — and this is frequently caused by different pressures and conflicts.

Broken marriage movies have taken up this subject widely, giving us stories that are sad, or even hopeful around relationships.

Below you’ll find ten such unhappy marriage movies that show how love can breakdown and be turbulent – each films look at human



Up Next

Friendship Marriage: Japan’s Latest Relationship Trend Explained

Friendship Marriage: Japan's Latest Marriage Trend Explained

Friendship marriage is the latest relationship trend taking the world by storm, and it’s got everyone talking. Forget the traditional notions of romance and commitment; these couples are rewriting the rules of marriage and how!

This unique approach has not only got people talking, but it’s also challenging many societal norms when it comes to marriage, romantic relationships, physical intimacy and cohabitation.

So, are you ready to unravel what the friendship marriage in Japan is all about? Let’s go then.

Related: 5 Simple Ways To Strengthen The Friendship In Your Marriage<



Up Next

Should I Start a Family? 10 Reasons That Might Convince You

Should I Start a Family? Reasons That Might Convince You

Two paths are diverging before you at a crossroads. You can either continue with your present life which has the comforts you know so well, or you could choose the other path which goes into the unknown. 

The decision to start a family is one of those big adventures in life that leaves us breathless with awe; it is filled with twists and turns and love upon love.

This article takes you on an exciting journey of decoding parenthood: an adventure that is both daunting and thrilling, and joyous as well as demanding.

Whether it is from the depths of unconditional love or soaring heights of leaving a lasting impact, each reason acts as a lighthouse in this respect.

Therefore, let’s examine these 10 reasons why to start a family!



Up Next

8 Questions To Ask Yourself If You Want To Avoid Marrying The Wrong Person

Marrying The Wrong Person? Important Questions To Ask

Picture this: you’re standing at the altar, surrounded by beaming friends and family, moments away from saying “I do” to the person who you thought was your soulmate and the love of your life. But deep down, you can’t ignore the nagging feeling that something doesn’t feel right. Could it be possible that you’re marrying the wrong person?

The fear of marrying the wrong person lingers in the hearts of many, and it’s a fear worth exploring, because this is your life we are talking about. In this article, we’ll dive into eight essential questions that you should ask yourself before taking that leap into forever.

So, grab a cup of coffee, get comfortable, and let’s unravel how to avoid marrying the wrong person.



Up Next

63 Conversation Starters For Deep Dialogues With Your Partner

Conversation Starters For Deep Dialogues With Your Partner

Why conversation starters? Over time conversations with your partner might begin to feel shallow and focused more on the daily grind than topics that actually matter. This is normal. It’s probably not a dangerous red flag that your relationship is about to end, but it is likely unsatisfying and monotonous.

It’s quite easy to reignite the spark with your partner by enjoying deeper and more meaningful conversations just by becoming more intentional in carving out time to talk.

We all know that communication is key to a healthy relationship, but let’s be honest; talking about what’s for dinner or whose turn it is to walk the dog just won’t cut it.

If you’re yearning for a deeper connection, it’s worth dedicating ten to fifteen minutes a day to one of the most important people in your life.



Up Next

When You Outgrow Love: What Is Grey Divorce And How To Thrive After

What Is Grey Divorce and How to Redefine Your Story

Divorce is never an easy decision to make. But sometimes life happens and you have to do the unimaginable. Grey divorce is one such experience that can feel like an unthinkable decision, yet, you know you just need to take the step. But what is grey divorce?

In life, at a certain stage we may feel that it is absolutely crucial that we start over, not only to survive but also to thrive. It becomes necessary that we step into the unknown regardless how scary or irrational it may sound. And the same goes for a marriage. 

Even if you may have shared a lifetime together and created lasting memories and experiences, a divorce may be the only option left for a happier, healthier and better life. That’s the reality for an increasing number of couples who find themselves in the realm of “grey divorce.” 



Up Next

What Does Being Submissive Mean? 9 Warning Signs You Might Be A Meek, Submissive Woman

What Does Being Submissive Mean? Signs Of A Meek Woman

Ever wondered, “What does being submissive mean?” Well, let’s put it this way: it’s like constantly being in the backseat of your life’s car, letting others take the wheel while you navigate the road of existence.

For example, meet Jess. She’s that friend who’s always putting everyone else’s happiness and needs before her own, and she often finds herself getting involved in abusive and unhealthy relationships.

If you relate to Jess and the ways she lives life, then you might be in for a very rude reality check. Because this points to the realm of female submissiveness. Stick around as we uncover nine warning signs that scream, “Hey, you might be more like Jess than you think!”

Related: