Right now weddings are a huge aspect of my life. My best friend
was married Saturday, a good friend is getting married in June and
I am getting married in December.
Coming hand-in-hand with these upcoming wedding dates are the
“Oh, how exciting.”
“Aren’t you thrilled?”
“That’s so awesome.”
These comments are great. Weddings are wonderful and even more
wonderful is having found someone to spend the rest of one’s life
with. But what I think people forget is how big of a change
marriage makes in couples’ lives.
Especially for the woman, I feel there is a lack of societal
support for the emotions one encounters through the wedding
planning, wedding and first year of marriage.
“In other words, the engagement, wedding and first months of
marriage can be a difficult time where one person in the
partnership-usually the one more aligned with her feminine
nature-feels overwhelmed by emotions and forces that she has never
experienced and does not understand,” writes Sheryl Nissinen,
author of “The Conscious Bride.”
There are many aspects to a wedding and marriage that go
undiscussed today. We never read in magazines or newspapers
articles describing how to prepare oneself for the separation from
family and forming a new one with one’s husband. We don’t discuss
the identity crisis one may feel when changing her name. And we
don’t talk about how scary the whole idea of marriage may be.
In fact, we even go beyond not discussing these issues; we look
down on those who do.
For example, when I have mentioned to others I am “excited and
very terrified” of getting married, everyone assumes my “terrified
feelings” mean that I don’t really want to marry my
This couldn’t be further than the truth, I want to marry him
with all my heart and know without a doubt I want to spend the rest
of my life with him. But at the same time I am nervous about
changing my name, entering into a new family and finding a role as
For 22, almost three, years I have found my roles as a daughter,
sister, co-worker, boss and friend, yet here I am trying to carve
out a new place for me in society. One of a daughter-in-law,
sister-in-law, wife and married-friend.
Getting married is like moving into a whole new neighborhood,
getting a whole new job and whole new family; it’s scary wondering
how one will fill the position.
I think we can alleviate many soon-to-be-brides or married
women’s anxieties by talking of these changes. Instead of assuming
someone is not happy or “ready to get married” because they are
nervous or worried about something, we can see it as it is-a worry
Nissinen’s book focuses on these issues and other worries within
a marriage and wedding planning. Not only did it teach me different
things about societal beliefs, but it also showed me there are
other happily engaged or married couples who also feel nervous or
anxious about marriage.
By reading this book or just talking openly about the concerns
around marriage, we, as a society, can begin to understand the deep
complexity of a marriage, beyond the flowers, cake and
“The Conscious Bride” by Sheryl Nissinen, published by New
Harbinger Publications, Inc.
J.J. is the design managing editor for the Collegian.