Wedding season is upon us: some June brides have already made that walk down the aisle, many others are preparing.
When a bride I've worked with gets married, I celebrate their wedding days via a note on my Facebook page. So if you want to see the many warm wishes in the weeks and months to come, please "like" Emotionally Engaged on Facebook.
What all the brides who have just married or who are preparing to marry in the next 6 weeks are doing is crossing the bridge into their new identities as married women.
Many brides-to-be describe their transitions out of the Ending stage and into the Bridging stage like a fog finally lifting.
For the early months of their engagement, they walked around consumed by feelings of loss and disorientation as they let go of old ways of being. They felt that the confusion would never end.
They've been afraid that they'd be in a down, depressed funk on their wedding day, and that they'd never feel happy or excited about getting married, even though, deep down, they trusted that that was what they wanted to do.
As the wedding approaches for these brides-to-be, however, joyful anticipation beings to creep back in.
Once you enter the Bridging stage, you will have made the internal psychological adjustments necessary to begin your new life as a married woman.
During this stage, women who've struggled with the loss of identity as a single woman or their single-minded focus on their careers, find themselves embracing how their fiances enrich their lives.
Brides-to-be who've had difficulty letting go of their dependence on their parents discover that they can be close with their families even as they put their fiances first.
Women who mourn the end of the days as boyfriend and girlfriend begin to see the richness and depth that come with making a lifelong commitment.
In short, the confusion that accompanied all the many endings brides-to-be have faced is replaced with greater clarity, curiosity, and hope. Your focus turns to the future.
Entering the Bridging stage doesn't, however, mean that all the gray clouds will have permanently lifted. But you'll likely find that when difficult emotions do arise, you'll no longer stay stuck in a downward spiral. Instead, you'll embrace the emotions and feel them fully, and then they will quickly move on. On the whole, your positive feelings about your future with your fiance will consistently outweigh your grief about the ending of your single life.
Bridging, then, is a time when the balance shifts, when your new life as a married woman begins to take shape in your mind, in your heart, in your life. After all the hard work you will have done to end earlier chapters of your life, you'll begin to realize that it all had a purpose.
How far away is your wedding?
Is it in less than 6 weeks? If so, have you entered the Bridging stage?
Or is your wedding more than 6 weeks away? If so, then you're probably still more connecting to the Endings.
I'd love to hear more about where you are in your engagement, and you can learn more about the 3 stages of being engaged in my book, Emotionally Engaged: A Bride's Guide to Surviving the "Happiest" Time of Her Life.