Dear Dating Coach,
We are so happy that our daughter recently became engaged to a wonderful guy. But since her vort, all she seems to care about is posting casual (read: staged) photos of her and her chosson, her wedding dress shopping, and her makeup trials – and then obsessively checking for “likes.” She is thrilled when people comment on what a “great couple” they are (how do they know?!) and made us lose our deposit on the first wedding dress we picked because someone wrote a negative comment on her Instagram page. She is out of control and we are worried that her concern with wedding “likes” has made her completely lose focus of the lifetime commitment she is making!
I miss the circus. Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey are no more, and I can’t deny that I’m grateful that those overworked elephants can finally relax at the all-you-can-eat peanut buffet. However, if you have ever been to the circus, you know that being in that tent had a certain magic. The trapeze artists bravely swinging across the room, the lions looking dangerous and regal, and the myriad of clowns that manage to squeeze themselves into that impossibly tiny car. The last time I went to the circus there was a huge storm outside, with rain pounding on the roof, soaking the floor, and thunder rumbling in the distance. The little girl next to me kept looking through a gap in the tent, so mesmerized by the rain that she never saw the trapeze artist get eaten by the lion. (Ok. That didn’t happen. But she did miss the entire show. Point made.)
Mazel Tov on your daughter’s engagement! You were so thrilled when she became engaged and already feel such a positive connection to the guy she will marry. What a blessing! Yet, almost immediately your sweet daughter morphed into an Insta-Bridezilla, documenting her “Wedding Story” for the faceless followers she has begun to value more than you. Perhaps she has been dreaming about having her turn in the spotlight for a while now, and is simply enjoying her moment in the sun. Or maybe she is so caught up in the “likes” that she is no longer able to focus on the actual and practical growth that she must put into her future marriage. She will be building a real life with her chosson, a life that demands that she focus more on the foundation of her relationship than on whether she has a WiFi connection to document it.
It’s time to reign her in. If you want your daughter to have the best chance at a happy and successful marriage, it is imperative that you reestablish her focus. Sit her down and tell her this: The key to a loving and fulfilling marriage is to look inward, not outward. Once, wives in bungalows in the country would compare their husbands with one another. But today with social media, no one is immune. It is vital that all couples understand that marriage is about looking forward and inward, at what goes on in your own home, and about building a life with the spouse you have chosen. Your phone screen
00 only offers you the chance to compare your real life to the sanitized and staged life of those other “perfect” couples. Focus on what is tangible, on what you can touch, and build.
Every young couple today is at risk of comparing their lives to others. But if they focus instead on building an authentic happy marriage, they will learn the biggest secret of all. Truly happy couples want to protect their mazel and their happiness. They want to keep their relationship private because they already know how lucky they are. They don’t want others to comment on their “perfection,” because they know that will only cheapen the love that they have. They want to preserve it, nourish it, and let it flourish privately – because between the two of them, they already have enough “likes.”