David Parker: My Big Fat Romantic Wedding

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Same-sex marriage, now on the agenda, has renewed the opposite-sex institution of spending over £20,000 on a day-long ceremony, to declare love in front of a list of peeps to pack it out, calling it ‘a special day’, people pleasing others, and entering a pit of debt. So much for the price of love.

Some gays, of course, will try to match the Royal Wedding grandeur of Charles & Di and the floral arrangements of Elton & David because they also know about the value of presentation, art direction and the money shot. Plus with less kids around to muck up the photo shoot, and likely double hot shot salaries, it’s just another fabulous party to present and the growing same-sex wedding market is responding with glee. It’s too early yet to record the success of these couplings in terms of longevity, so we shall focus on the fact that 42% of opposite-sex marriages end in divorce. Almost one person in five in the UK has consulted a counsellor or psychotherapist, according to a survey by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), but mostly when in crisis, not as a preventative measure.

Can you imagine what would happen if there was no driving test and people just bought a car and drove it without instruction? Well this is what happens when couples fall in love, live together and expect a marriage to last. If only a fraction of the average wedding day cost was spent on coaching/therapy/counselling first, divorce rates would lower, and many would realise that they were led down a blind alley of romantic tyranny with the wrong person.

When Tina Turner belted out ‘What’s love got to do with it’, you may well ask. Certainly very little in the case of Charles & Di, duty was much more the priority. Too little time to discover adultery, bulimia and the bride being a damaged adult child of an alcoholic. The poor gal thought she was in love, he knew he wasn’t, with Camilla tucked away but must push on. Do your best, chin up, it will all work out. No different I suspect than thousands of nuptials this year. Many see relationships and weddings as fixers, but you can only fix yourself, and it’s best policy to do this before you marry or before entering multiple codependent scenarios as a relationship rehab.

You can’t give away what you haven’t got – the ability to love yourself first. Trying to get it from another person when you feel unworthy of receiving it is futile. Discovering what your needs are and voicing them is essential for continued internal happiness, in or out of a relationship. Romance certainly has a place in relationships but not at the beginning, this is the time for detail not denial; 18 months in can refresh one better than those heady, needy, flushed early days of emotional tsunami. You pay a price for that, much more than the price of coaching support, I can assure you.

David Parker