Your wedding: one of the biggest moments of your life. From the finest cuisine to imported flowers, and of course that jaw-dropping gown, you’ve dreamed of every detail culminating in one picture-perfect event. The day you marry is one you’ve been waiting for with sleepless anticipation.
But wait! You didn’t count on one thing: the human factor. Suppose you’re used to things going your way. You know what I mean…all your life things have run smoothly, as long as people just kick back and enjoy the ride. Your friends watch the flicks you’re dying to see. Your fiancé eats in restaurants you rave about. When you were little, if Mom told you no, you went to Daddy. You are adored and even envied by many. You are the Bride Who Has It All.
Things just work in your world, or at least they have until now. Sure, you’re marrying the person of your dreams, and yes, Daddy sprung for that haute couture gown you saw on that exclusive Bridal Show runway. And you’re beginning to wonder, “what’s all the fuss about when picking bridal party wear?!” Your bridesmaids unanimously agreed that your one-of-a-kind theme dresses were “totally you.” So what’s the problem? Newcomers who just don’t recognize that your way is the way it should be–especially on your wedding day. Duh!
How to remedy this vexing problem?
Let’s say this particular human happens to be the most important new woman in your life. You’ve led a charmed life for as long as you can remember, but tension between you and MIL2B has put a bee in your bonnet, or shall we say, smudged that fresh pedicure. Well, my dear, this is your chance to receive the gift of a lifetime.
Notice that I said “your chance.” Of course you may choose any path you deem fit, but when it comes to weddings and drama, there can be muddy trails. Why not stick to the red carpet? Let’s say that MIL2B wants to help but has…er…dare we say…atrocious taste. Of course you’ve got every detail handled, but she is wiggling with excitement over her child’s big day. Now, I realize that from your present perspective it’s cut and dried: you’ve got it dialed. She’s not helping. End of story.
Let’s look ahead a few years, sort of like Scrooge with that creepy future ghost. Here’s how it could look later on, from two different paths. First path seems tidy and manicured, like your decision to stick with your plans and keep her at arm’s length. This approach seems like a no-brainer, since your wedding details stay on track.
But what have you lost? A pivotal bond with the woman who raised your beloved. Think about years from now, when you’re sitting by the fire at the family chateau, reminiscing how, together, you pulled of the wedding of the century. She hugs you with genuine love for her favorite daughter in law. You’ve been calling her Mom since the wedding, by choice. You can text her at the last minute to scoop up her grandchildren for afternoon spa treatments with friends. When she has a problem, she emails you first for advice. She regularly introduces you as the daughter she never had. It just couldn’t get any better between in laws, now could it?
How do you get this picture-perfect future?
1. Call MIL2B and invite her to lunch. Just the two of you. Take her to a place you want her to associate with fondness when she thinks of you. No schmoozing. This is not a butt-kiss session; this is the real deal.
2. Ask her about herself. Keep yourself and wedding details out of the limelight. Focus on her. Find out what she did at your age, what she loves to do for a hobby, what makes her passionate about her work. If she’s in a relationship, learn about how she and her honey met. Ask about their first date, and what made her fall in love.
3. The key here, above all else, is to L.I.S.T.E.N! We all have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen twice as much as you talk and suddenly you are the finest conversationalist on the planet! Listen with purpose: find out what makes her shine. Obviously she’s got something amazing going on to have raised such an incredible person. Discover her treasures.
4. Part company, and take time to consider her remarkable qualities. Share them with your fiancé that evening. Again, listen with the same intent. Really focus on what your companion is saying, watching body language and soaking up that dizzying goodness.
5. Fall asleep thinking about what the day said about your MIL2B. Next morning, you’ll find the perfect wedding project that will let her shine. If she’s a great organizer, invitations, RSVPs and seating charts are the ticket. Problem solver? Excellent! Share your menu conflicts, and let her work with the caterer. Invite her to audition bands/DJs. If her best quality is a great personality, ask if she’ll make follow up calls and confirm orders.
When it comes to walking down a red-carpeted aisle or a muddy trail, I don’t know a bride on the planet who would sully her gorgeous gown. Give that new VIP in your life a chance to shine. I am certain that the red carpet route will lead to glorious memories today and tomorrow, giving you a chance to experience a whole new level of the charmed life.
What do you think?