Health & Fitness

By Leslie Rice Hart


Pre-wedding planning should be as much fun as the ceremony and the party. But as it happens, it is one of the most stressful times of a couple’s life. The stress level is understandable given the enormous amount of preparation that goes into making everything perfect. This stress can be detrimental to the couple’s physical and mental health. Managing stress during this time, thus, becomes a crucial necessity. Moreover, the stress-management process in itself can offer the would-be bride and groom a very positive and fulfilling experience. It can actually strengthen their relationship and intimacy in the post-wedding times to come.

In my research, I came across two unique techniques to deal with pre-wedding stress: Marriage Success Training (MST) and Blissful Bride.

Greg and Patty Kuhlman conduct an all-day MST seminar, based on the latest scientific marriage research. Greg Kuhlman is a Professor of Psychology and a practicing psychologist with over 25 years experience. Patty Schell Kuhlman is a counselor working with women whose marriages are in crisis. MST helps pre-wedding couples deal with the stresses that arise before marriage, in a fun and innovative way.

With the approaching of the wedding day, differences start to become more real to a couple. As Greg points out, some couples have been together much longer than others couples. Some have lived together, but even in that case, getting married is quite a significant step. A lot depends on where a couple is in their relationship. Often times, managing the two families can contribute greatly to the stress, as well.

Greg explains that there are usually five to seven differences that are not resolvable among couples. Rather than assuming you have chosen the wrong life partner, MST helps couples acknowledge their similarities as well as their differences, and learn strategies to manage the latter. There is no one right way to address this; it depends on the specific couple. MST focuses on an individual couple’s needs, vision, and goals.

Greg informed me that marriage researches have determined three successful styles of marriage: volatile, validation, and avoidance. The volatile couple has conflict but also a great deal of passion. The validators have friendship; their differences are rationalized. The avoiders, the label says it all. Most successful couples are a mix of the three styles. A mixed style is helpful in that the different styles can be helpful in dealing with different parts of the relationship to achieve a final balance.

Couples attending the MST seminar enjoy structured activities and guidance on managing stress and/or facing potential stress before it becomes destructive. They also achieve an increased level of bonding and intimacy in the process of doing so.

Blissful Bride was created by Joelene Robinson. Joelene is currently finishing her Master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology.

Joelene created Blissful Brides when she was preparing for her second marriage. “I was so stressed out planning my first wedding, I didn’t have a good time. I was overwhelmed trying to balance work with having to make decisions, everything I noticed was wrong…” She wasn’t going to allow her second marriage to start out like the first. Joelene says, “It’s all about you, it is your day. Don’t let everyone else run the show.”

Using her own knowledge-base and continued exploration of creative visualization and meditation, Joelene came up with a very personal C.D. focusing on her own needs to construct every step of her wedding in her mind.

This helped her maintain positive thoughts through all of the planning stages. She found herself happy and calm. So much so that people were intrigued and started asking her questions. What was her secret to such a healthy and calm approach? It led to her decision to create Blissful Bride. She realized that a large number of brides-to-be needed guidance to make the preparation period a fantastic experience and not a flustered, stressful time.

As part of her program, Joelene has created CDs that are designed to help brides get a positive perspective and eliminate unnecessary stress. Customization is available and she also schedules one-on-one sessions with individuals who need further assistance with specific visualization and meditation methods. In such sessions, Joelene guides them through a process where the bride visualizes part by part to create a picture of her perfect wedding, as bride would like it to be. Joelene will give practical suggestions and encouragement to help her envision what she wants. As Joelene informs me, some brides are not clear on what they want until they start listening to the CD and start the concentration and visualization process

Don’t let stress get in the way of health and happiness when planning one of the most important events of your life. As a bride you ought to enjoy every aspect of the wedding, from the early planning stages to the first dance as man and wife.

Contact Greg and Patty Kuhlman at or toll free at 866.704.6565 (Monday – Thursday) and 866.704.6561 (Friday – Sunday). Contact Joelene Robinson at or 310.442.3525.

Originally published May 2005



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