By Kann Chia
Marriage and Setting Up House – for most of us, these two happy occasions can also be stressed-filled events, but it doesn’t always have to be this way. It can even be most enjoyable. Just hold on to your vision and act creatively.
“Hey, you know”, my cousin Liang joked, “your courtship COE (certificate of Entitlement) is expiring”. He was right.
My then boyfriend, Mark, and I had been dating since 1994. It didn’t seem like a decade was closing, since we were masters of procrastination.
Previously, I had been unwilling to commit to anything permanent – It was the fear of the unknown, especially the future. It is common to be afraid of what we do not know for sure. But honestly, who isn’t?
Then 5 months ago, in February 2003, we decided to write the next chapters of our lives—together. We were finally getting married! WOW. This was a big deal for me.
I was a jumble of worries:
“How are we going to do this?”
“Do we have enough money?”
“Can we afford a flat?”
“Is this a good year with the impending war?”
“How will mom react?”
“The economy is poor…”
My mind rattled on like a choo-choo train.
I arrested my running mind like you would tame a wild monkey and told myself: “Focus, focus, focus on what you want and NOT what you do not want.” This is simple a truth, yet it takes conscious effort to execute.
I finally arrested my running mind, but not before truly looking my situation with Mark. I realized that even after eight years of dating, I could continue to be in dating status forever but that was not what I really wanted for a truly fulfilling life. In NLP we each have different strategies of motivation: “Towards” (where we are motivated towards something we want) and “Away From” (where were are motivated to action by the things we do not want), strategies. Marriage meant we would be having a magnificent life together.
Planning for Bliss
So, Mark and I decided that we would:
- Get a HDB apartment, accessible to town, walking distance to MRT (Mass Rapid Transit). We wanted our home to be easily accessible for visitors.
- Get renovation work (for the flat) done before our wedding day ie 22nd June.
- Have a wedding party for family and friends. Abandon old protocols and stick to a light-hearted and casual party theme.
It will would be a 2-pronged approach, the house-hunting and the wedding preparation would be carried out concurrently.
To fully participate in this major event of our lives, we decided to make it DIY
(Do-It-Yourself). Mark would oversee the house purchase and renovation while I would plan the wedding party.
We had a vision of a wedding where we truly wanted to enjoy the experience rather than be rushed and stressed.
As for the flat we held on to the vision that we would have our apartment at a reasonable price.
We sent out the message on what we wanted and learned to delegate and assign duties to our friends.
Friends started pouring in to offer their expertise when they got wind that their favourite pair of lovebirds were finally getting hitched.
Mark also hit on the perfect solution for our flat–buying a resale flat at an older estate from the HDB at really reasonable prices and we found one we liked at Commonwealth. So we were set!
Simon presumed renovation works, Jasmine offered bridal make up, Nicko offered hair-styling, Iresh & Choy Ling loaned their car, Tim & Maria took great pictures, Yin Ching & Hally volunteered their videocams and Christine exercised her wedding planning skills. Chris recommended a tailor, Angela told me of the bridal gown sale. Loo Sin offered to co-ordinate the event, Francis doubled up as DJ. Everyone asked if they could help.
Getting Flexible with Blips
As with every other process, there are bound to be blips along the way. For instance, the keys to the flat were released later then expected, the original floor tiles we wanted went out of stock (twice!), the hotel informed us that its PA system was not for singing (we had engaged in a wedding singer). Etc, etc.
The important thing we learnt is to be flexible and creative with the situation. When situations got difficult. I noticed Mark would get frustrated whenever I offered him Good News and Bad news. I learnt to reframe or re-adjust our thinking around bad news and relabeled it “Flexible News”. Flexible News meant that it was time to get creative in generating other solutions to problems and this reduced Mark’s frustration.
We appealed with authorities and we negotiated with vendors. We held on to the vision of a perfect outcome no matter what kind of news we received. This meant that even when we had to deal with HDB officials, we appealed when we needed to. We created rapport with people we could work with in the system rather than believing we had to fight with an inflexible system. And whenever things got difficult for me and my confidence was dying. Mark would step in to help out. We just pounded on to achieve the positive results we had on our plan.
Yes, we made it. We now have a warm and cozy place that we call home. We had a fun-filled wedding where our family and friends mingled around, tap their feet to the music and had some good laughs. (They’re still talking about it).
If someone tells you that having a wedding is a stressful event, I’ll tell you it’s up to you. I had one of the most rewarding times with mine!
Thank you Kann for sharing her unique application of NLP in her personal life. Learn motivational strategies, reframing and successful goal setting in Mind Transformations’ NLP Practitioner’s Training, which is very much grounded in practicality, applicabilty and comprehensiveness. Here are 7 reasons why you should train with us.