I never thought it would be me – never dreamed it would be me, but there I was, only a few weeks before my wedding, wondering if I should call the whole thing off.
Tears streamed down my face as I agonized over the decision. I loved my fiancé very much, but the stress of planning a wedding, dealing with intense family drama and trying to keep everyone happy had taken a great toll on me.
My family had been fighting me on almost every detail – everything from not picking the right bridesmaid dress for my sister, to choosing the ‘wrong’ flowers and the ‘wrong’ cake, to not liking the songs we picked for the ceremony. A member of my family was also having a mental health problems and my upcoming wedding exacerbated the symptoms immensely, meaning I often received the brunt of the fallout after depressive episodes on numerous occasions.
I cried myself to sleep more nights than I can count. The finish line was in sight, but I honestly didn’t know if my heart could survive the last few weeks. In my mind, canceling the wedding would remove the weight from my shoulders and make all of my problems disappear. Except that I wouldn’t be married to the man I love.
As I wrestled back and forth over if I wanted to move forward with the wedding, I decided that I needed some time away to clear my head and think. I needed the space to figure out what I really wanted to do. I was scared to tell my fiancé, worried that just by saying I wanted time to think he’d conclude that yes, we should cancel, or at least postpone, the wedding. But my biggest fear was that I would hurt him by saying I wasn’t one hundred percent sure I wanted to marry him. What guy wants to hear that the woman he loves isn’t as sure about him?
I finally worked up the courage to tell him how I was feeling. Thankfully, my fiancé responded very gently and lovingly, holding me close and kissing my head through my tears. Instead of being upset, he calmly told me that if space was what I needed, then he’d make that happen. He also said that he’d support me no matter the decision I came to.
And then he really wowed me when he said, “Even if you decide it’s better to call the wedding off, know that I’m not going anywhere. I’m willing to wait until you’re ready.”
He also suggested that if dealing with the stress of family and planning was truly just too much, we could “elope” at a nearby church since our planned wedding was taking place out of state.
The next four days we had no contact outside of a couple of brief emails and a letter and bouquet of flowers he left at my house. I was able to take a step back and reflect on what it was that I wanted for my life and my future marriage. Our time apart also allowed me to taste what life would be like without him.
In the end, I realized that a life without the man I loved was worse than surviving the time left before the wedding. His comments about not leaving me even if I called off the wedding stuck with me, reminding me once again what a unique guy he was. I also noted that he was already sticking by me through the bad times. If he was already that committed to me before his vows, I knew he would take commitment that much more seriously once he promised his life to me.
As those last few weeks unfolded, we took the time to stay focused on the great joy we’d have once married and less on all of the details that needed to be completed and who would or would not be happy with the cake, flowers and other unimportant decisions we made. As for dealing with family drama, I just had to make a choice to be confident in my decisions and to establish boundaries with family members. I wasn’t perfect at it, but with my fiancé’s help, it was much more bearable.
I remember the day after our wedding feeling so thankful for my husband and that I didn’t let all the circumstances surrounding our wedding get in the way of my marrying a guy I knew was the right one for me.
Even so, I also don’t regret taking the time to reflect on if I should go through with the wedding. Choosing to marry somebody for the rest of my life is no small deal and I believe taking the time to understand the weight of my decision was an important thing to do. It helped me realize how much I love him and only gave me more confidence on our wedding day.