Gwen O'Toole is the director of a boutique event management and creative services company, The Ideas Library. Visit www.TheIdeasLibrary.com.au
While we’ve all grown up with the concept of ‘happily ever after’ and knowing your ‘one’ at first sight; for some engaged individuals, the idea of divorce as a Plan B or calling off the wedding entirely can be comforting.
Image courtesy of:Constantina Dirica.
Megan Luscombe, founder of Starting Today Coaching specialises in assisting brides or grooms-to-be in managing any anxiety or fear in the lead up to the big day.
“While the concept of grooms experiencing ‘cold feet’ is common, we as a society fail to recognise that for many women, the idea of marriage can bring about a sense of fear, anxiety and panic,” she says.
Luscombe hosts a series of workshops ‘The Anxious Bride’ and ‘The Anxious Groom’ nationally, focussing on the pressure of living ‘happily ever after’ and the misunderstandings associated with love and partnerships. These sessions are held in small groups, separated by gender as Luscombe says it’s typical for men and women to have completely different fears associated with the commitment of marriage.
“Women in particular are led to believe that there is only one perfect match for them, which in turn can put an enormous amount of pressure on women who are consistently asking themselves questions such as ‘how do I know if he is the one’ or ‘what if I’m wrong and the one comes along when it’s too late?’”
The half day workshops see women (and often men) of all ages learn about setting marriage expectations, learning how to communicate successfully and how to express love in a way that’s understood and received by their partners.
Attendees leave these sessions feeling assured in their feelings and decisions, having a better understanding of where these fears stem from and how to avoid letting them overshadow their special day.
“Engaged women are often asked about how excited they must be for their upcoming wedding, but few realise that too often many women can experience almost grief-like symptoms as they transition from single life into a marriage,” says Luscombe. “Whereas a man expressing his fears is typically also laughed off and chalked up to cold feet.”
Whilst Luscombe acknowledges that there are certainly gut feelings that have validity for concern, her session allow attendees to accurately decipher between a red flag concern versus a reasonable fear of the unknown.
Recent attendees of The Anxious Bride have sent their thanks following their respective weddings, praising the success of the seminars and have had the following to say:
“Prior to my wedding I was so overwhelmed, not in the organisation, which was almost a welcome distraction, but because I was plagued by thoughts of not being good enough or worried that my husband would lose interest in me over the years. The thought of calling off my wedding actually made me feel relief until I found myself in one of Megan’s seminars. Following some of her suggestions, I awoke on my wedding day excited and calm and was so thankful that I went through with it as it was certainly the best day of my life. I feel like I have fallen in love with my now husband in a much different, deeper way and am thankful for Megan’s help which allowed me to understand my mixed emotions that surfaced during our engagement. Hubby and I look forward to having a marriage as joyous as our wedding.”
Julie, Melbourne, Vic
“For me, the most helpful thing about The Anxious Bride was learning my feelings were normal and having the opportunity to talk to other women who were feeling the same. It was so helpful to know my feelings and thoughts weren’t a sign that I shouldn’t get married or that my marriage was doomed to fail. Having someone listen and understand what I was feeling without any fear of judgement or having something think I didn’t love my partner was invaluable.”
Claire, Melbourne, Vic