Bunmi Sofola

Show-stopper weddings are a delight any day. They should be. They have gulped millions of naira not to talk of the stress both families have to go through before the D-day. Matters are made worse by the wedding planners who tell you how lavish the wedding should be, and give you elaborate innovations the young couple never even thought of! Decades back, weddings were a far cry from what they now are—as expenses go. Couples rarely lived together and after the wedding, there was the excitement of moving in with your new partner and living together for the first time. These days, however, the newly-weds have had the ‘looking’ and there isn’t much to look forward to. Dora, who got married less than a year ago, in an extravagant ceremony, confesses that she is not so sure she wants to stay married. Part of the problem with this type of wedding is that there is no way the actual marriage can match the excitement of planning and actually executing an elaborate wedding.

She says, “I  wanted a wedding to remember and went about it with a vengeance. A huge tent with air conditioning was erected on a field and all our savings went into decorating all the chairs, tasteful drapes had to match the decoration and the tent. The cake, a masterpiece, cost an arm and a leg!

We had an array of flowers and fruits, some of which were flown in from South Africa. My expensive bridal dress with that of the groom and the bridal train gears, were all something to behold. Even the music took a lot of planning. A few days to the wedding, guests flew in from Britain, South Africa and the United States.

“I felt elated to be surrounded by family and friends, all making efforts to give their best. When it was all over, whenever, I felt terrible all I could do was re-live my wedding day and how wonderful it was. For all those preparations, I was the centre of attention. Then, suddenly after the wedding day, life went back to normal—the general project was over and I suffered what is termed a post-nuptial depression. My new husband was fed up with me. We were supposed to be having a wonderful, extravagant two-week honeymoon in Dubai—not a post-mortem of an event that should remain a pleasant memory.

“Even after the honeymoon, I couldn’t tear myself away from the wedding photos and videos. I spent hours endlessly looking at them, reliving the day. After work, I would move around the house in the evenings, wondering what to do.

‘When I was planning the wedding, there was always something to choose or someone to contact urgently. Now, much as I loved my husband, I felt restless as there was no reason to keep meeting up with friends and family to plan anything elaborate.

“Our evenings reverted to the humdrum of dinner  and watching the box—rather than talking about wedding sitting plans—or what type of decor  to have. I also found myself inexplicably irritated by my husband. When I planning the wedding, there was so much to do that I ignored the little niggles every couple have. But, as we began married life and should  have been so happy, these became magnified and we began bickering  which we never did before. After the fun of our wedding, married life felt flat….”

Unfortunately, it is not just the brides that suffer post-nuptial depression. Most young grooms admitted that they also felt incredibly low after the wedding. The saving grace for the ride is that she falls pregnant quickly, or is already before the wedding and fills her day with  something exciting; the arrival of a baby. The poor husband needs to find another focus in his life—something to plan for, like a new baby, perhaps.

However, it’s now been discovered that post-nuptial depression is contributing to marriages breaking up very quickly. According  to a psychotherapist: “All those bride painstakingly planning their big day, and who are likely to risk massive anti-climax after the event, need to be careful. Potentially, starting your marriage feeling such huge disappointment is dangerous. This high expectation of marriage is ultimately a contributing factor to the rise in divorce.

“The worry is that after the trauma of planning their wedding, some couples are not prepared for the realities and believe just being married is all their relationship takes. I tell couples to think back to when they first met and try to enjoy some of the simple things in life. They also need to  realise  that they  can’t live  in  a state excitement  and feeling they must always be planning a project.

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