Apr 252004
Authors: J.J. Babb

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

happy comments.

“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

a wife.

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

or anxiety.

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.

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