On the day of the wedding rehearsal, I asked the bride’s mother how things had been that day. She said that it had been a good day; her daughter had only three “come aparts” that day. On the day of your wedding rehearsal, I think that three “come aparts” by the bride is to be expected.
I have “come aparts” on Mondays of normal weeks. Coming apart is just plain part of the human experience. Maybe the key to happiness and success in life is to minimize the number of “come apart” moments that you have in a lifetime, or heck, in a day.
I don’t have it all together all the time. My come apart moments are almost always at home. We would never dare to come apart at work. Some of us have those times on the golf course, but most of us wait till we get home to come apart. I suppose it has something to do with the fact that by the time we get home at night, we are worn down by the stresses of the day. It also might be that we know that those at home (wife and kids) will love us anyway, so we come apart with them.
Unfortunately, the shrapnel from our home explosions hits those we love the most. There are no perfect marriages or perfect families. Perhaps the biggest gap in life is the one between what we dream of having and what we actually have in family life. It’s the myth of the “white picket fence.” We look for the perfect spouse with whom we can have a perfect marriage, have perfect children, and provide perfect fulfillment.
So, I might ask, when do you come apart? What are the things that cause you to “lose it”? For a bride on her rehearsal or wedding day, it would be things like, “Why don’t the tuxes fit?” and “Who has the rings?”
My melt downs happen when a golf ball won’t do what it is supposed to do or on shopping trips with my teenage daughter, who admittedly tries to manipulate me and is darn good at it.
Most of our come aparts happen because we sweat the small stuff. Author Richard Carlson, in his New York Times’ Bestseller, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and It’s All Small Stuff,” has a point. It’s often the little things that take over our lives. Don’t let the normal stress of life become distress (everyone has stress). Carlson says “Turn your melodrama into a mellow-drama.”
I counsel would-be couples about their upcoming wedding that, as a minister, “I have seen it all.” So, quit worrying. I have, for example, seen a groomsman pass out, knock over the candles into the ferns and catch the ferns on fire. I have seen the church catch on fire during the wedding, and the couple completed their vows on a fire truck.
Guess what? It was a wedding I will never forget, and the couple still got married. (I admit that those two examples are not exactly small stuff.)
Carlson says “…when we are blowing things out of proportion, we are the ones doing the blowing.” Carlson’s personal strategy, when he is about to have a come apart moment, he says to himself, “Here I go again. My soap opera is starting.” That helps him laugh at himself and takes the edge off.
As a Christian, my advice would also be that we take a brief moment to pray. At those come apart moments, turn your frustration into faith.
The Apostle Paul, who never took a teenage girl shopping, but had every other reason to melt down and come apart, said “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).