What to Do If Your Partner Isn't as Excited About Wedding Planning as You Are
When it comes to wedding details, like the color palette, flowers for the centerpieces, and table linens, you partner just isn't as excited about it all as you are. Is that a problem? The short answer is no: While it's a day intended to celebrate you both, some people just aren't into the details as much as other. Still, it can be frustrating (and potentially a sign of something more serious), which is why we spoke with psychotherapist, relationship coach, and divorce mediator Toni Coleman, LCSW, CMC about what it means—and how to deal—when you're way more excited about wedding planning than your partner is.
What are some of the most common reasons why your partner might not be interested in wedding planning?
"When a partner is not excited about planning your wedding, it can be due to a number of reasons," Coleman explains. The first one is perhaps the simplest: Some people simply have little to no interest in organizing parties and events. That doesn't mean they aren't excited about the event itself, though—they're looking forward to the big day, but they're not as concerned about all the little pieces that comprise it. Another common reason why one partner doesn't seem as interested? They may feel as though they don't have a lot to contribute or that their ideas aren't as strong as yours, Coleman adds. When you think that either of these reasons are the cause of their perceived lack of enthusiasm, have a frank conversation with your partner: You understand that they might not be as interested in the details or know as much about wedding-planning tasks, you would really like their input or help tackling some to-dos.
With all that being said, there are some other key reasons why a partner might not seem interested in wedding planning, and while they're not deal-breakers, they're certainly more serious. It may be that partner is not really into a big wedding and would like something simpler, less costly, and less formal than what's currently being planned, Coleman suggests. "Additionally, your partner may be feeling pressured by their family—or yours—about the wedding agenda, guest list or other specifics, and they are feeling anxious about the stress it could cause for the two of you, or between you and your respective families," she adds. An open line of communication is essential here; it's important to get to the root of the problem and ensure you're both on board with the plans.
When does a lack of excitement become a red flag that something is amiss?
"It's a red flag if a partner is very resistant to even talking through some plans, playing a minor role in decision making, and taking over at least a few tasks," says Coleman. If they change the subject when it comes up, get annoyed or even angry over any wedding-related talk, or if planning begins to lead to a breakdown in communication or anger and conflict then there's a good chance something more significant is going on.
How do you suggest starting the conversation with your less-than-enthusiastic partner about your concerns?
A straightforward approach should be used here—after all, if someone is truly not happy about getting married, isn't it best to know that before saying "I do?" For instance, comment on specific behaviors you are observing, like avoiding the topic, getting angry when asked to participate, or offering a lot of negative feedback when talking about planning or details, says Coleman. "By sticking with behavior, you keep the discussion away from becoming a personal attack on your partner," she explains. "Instead, you are asking them to talk about what you are seeing and hearing and if there is more beneath it you should be discussing instead."
At the end of the day, wedding planning is exciting for some people. How do you suggest keeping that enthusiasm when it feels one sided?
"Don't push them to share your feelings, excitement, and wants," urges Coleman. "Instead of trying to change them or their reaction to the planning, explore ways that they would rather be involved or open up the discussion in a way that communicates to them that this is their wedding to and you want it to feel good for them as well." Of course, this means that you will need to be open to adapting to their idea of a perfect wedding, or at least to find a compromise that you both feel great about.
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