weddings, marriage, & divorce

“I promise we will not get in a huge fight over your wedding”

I have great friends. The wedding-planning process has made me realize lots of things, including this fact.

Before getting engaged, I also knew that my friends are great. But planning this wedding has made me feel so vulnerable in so many ways, and this vulnerability has really allowed me to new explore aspects of my friendships. Maybe it’s that my fears and anxieties feel so strong and so urgent that I am voicing them more often. Maybe it’s that my communication skills are getting both strained and strengthened in many ways on a regular basis. Maybe it’s that my friends are kind, insightful, generous, loving people. (Yes, you!) Whatever it is, I have really benefited from all kinds of support from my friends during this process.

The “promise” at the title of this post is just one example of such support. As I told a friend about my anxieties regarding the “social politics” of the wedding process, she stopped the conversation and firmly committed to me that she would not fight with me through the process of wedding planning or over something occurring at the wedding itself. She just said it. She took responsibility. And it made so much sense to me. It was such a comfort. She wasn’t saying it descriptively—it was not a guess or a hope. This particular friend and I certainly conflict on occasion, so it was not unimaginable that we might fight over the next several months (it was March at the time). She was assuring me that she would actively take steps to not get into a fight with me. Of course, that does not mean I am being careless with our friendship. On the contrary, I feel a heightened commitment to enhancing the positive aspects of our friendship and enjoying the positive roles she is taking in the wedding process.

Living free from the fear that those closest to me might put our friendship on the line at any moment has been incredibly empowering. I could describe many other examples of the ways in which my friends have expressed forgiveness, understanding, and genuine support for my personal decisions even when they disagree, even if they disagree avidly. All in all what it comes down to is this: I can throw myself into wedding planning (and, in thirty days, the wedding itself) with the freedom to embrace vulnerability, explore anxiety, respect fear, and feel empowered that whatever goes right or wrong, those who love me will continue to love me, and I will continue to have their support.

And they, I can assure you, will continue to have mine.

Published by Mimi Arbeit

applied developmental scientist, antifascist community organizer, sexuality educator