Copy ‘n’ paste responses to unsolicited negative advice about marriage and weddings

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Copy n paste responses to unsolicited negative advice about weddings and marriage
Original photo by by onepinkhippo, remixed by CC license

How should I respond when people come at me with negative advice about marriage like “Enjoy it now, it's all over once you're married!” And “You'll have a husband to cook for soon!” And “You're getting married? My commiserations.” I thought you or your readers might come up with something good for the negative marriage/wedding comments.

I know people are just trying to get a rise out of me when they say these things, but it gets very wearing and I'd love a way to shut them down without becoming offensive myself.
Thanks,
-Kate

Ah, yes. The infamous unsolicited advice, fear-mongering, and “you'll seeeeee” game. Well-intentioned friends and family seem to LOVE to tell you how awful your life is about to become, both in terms of wedding planning, and in terms of life once you're married. As I wrote years ago in an infamous post:

The wedding fear-mongering is just one of the stories we tell. The expectations of marriage after the wedding are often heavily weighted. “Marriage is a lot of hard work,” people confide with furrowed brows.”You'll never have sex again,” they wink.

“You'll stop hanging out with your single friends,” they sigh.

“My stupid hubs!” they laugh. “YOU know how husbands are. Stupid, stupid husbands.”

Wedding and marriage fear-mongering is clearly a thing that happens. It seems like it's always happened… so how can you respond when you find it happening to you? Here are a few of my favorite copy-n-paste responses, broken down into three separate strategies depending on your communication style. Some of them are straight-forward, others are confrontational, and others are a bit more facetious:

Strategy 1: tell me about yourself

People are usually seeking validation of their own experiences when they give you negative advice. In a way, they're trying to bond over shared unhappiness, because if we can bond over it, maybe that means that it's ok that I'm unhappy, that I made the right unhappy choice, and that my unhappiness is out of my control. Negative comments about weddings and marriage say so much about the person commenting, and the best response may simply be to let them talk about themselves, instead of trying to defend yourself.

Simply put, when people try to say how you will feel, what they're more often telling you is how they feel. Instead of snapping at them, you can just let them blow off some steam — knowing that it has very little to do with you. Try these responses:

Wow, it sounds like you had it a pretty rough! If you had it all to do again, what would you do differently?
Jeez, that's pretty negative! You know, I'm trying to treat this whole thing as an adventure, so it's actually really helpful for me to understand why so many people are saying negative things like this about marriage. How do you think I can work to avoid the common pitfalls on this adventure?
Are you recounting your own experiences? What happened to you to make you feel that way?
I feel like these things are about 5% experience and 95% attitude. I'm working to try to keep a good attitude about it all, but you're certainly not the first one to say something like this! I find it pretty interesting, actually — why do you think everyone's so cynical about marriage?

Strategy 2: shut it down

Sometimes you don't want to get into empathizing with someone. They're just being a dick, and you don't have any interest in staying on friendly terms with them. In these cases, it's time to draw some boundaries. Remember that when you use blunt communication like this, you need to hold yourself accountable for people bristling. You should say what you feel, but be responsible for the fact that folks may not like it. Sometimes, you can soften the blow by redirecting the conversation…

I know you're just trying to get a rise out of me, but I actually really don't appreciate the generalizations you're making about marriage, and the assumptions you're making about my relationship….So, how's working going these days?

Huh. I guess I'll find out soon enough, won't I?…So, how about that weather this morning?

I'm actually not looking for feedback or advice about my wedding or marriage….So, how's your family doing?

Strategy 3: feign ignorance

Sometimes, “You'll see” and fear mongering can come from a place of resentment, fear, or even worry for the person it is directed at, so treat those who let it slip with gentleness and try not to fight snark with snark. That said, sometimes you can just feign ignorance:

Oh, wow. Do you think I should cancel the wedding?

What are YOUR best compassionate comebacks when people try to fear-monger about wedding planning or marriage?

Comments on Copy ‘n’ paste responses to unsolicited negative advice about marriage and weddings

  1. I don’t even play. Not responding is the best thing I’ve ever done. It shuts them up quicker than anything else.

    • What does your not responding look like? Do you just smile and blink?

      (I am secretly hoping you literally just stare at them, smile, and blink.)

      • I thought this article was about media-site related comments (Facebook, etc). My bad. 🙂

        I guess it helps that I’m old enough to just shrug and ignore it with a sigh of “Whatever”. I clump it in the same category as WIC commentary/cliches, so it washes over me because it simply doesn’t apply to me.

        I guess it comes down to not letting it bother you and letting people nurse their own neuroses on their own.

        • Totally agreed that the older/more experienced you get, the less people’s stupid fear-mongering affects you. When I was pregnant, the “oh you’ll see…” comments about childbirth, babies, etc, used to drive me crazy. Now when I hear people fear-mongering with pregnant women, I just roll my eyes.

          Ignoring it and rolling your eyes is a hard-earned skill, though. 😉

      • I tend to respond to things like this and/or other unsolicited advice, etc with a simple, “Huh!” or and a shrug, smile, and change the subject.

  2. I think most of the people doing this don’t even believe what they’re saying. My theory is a lot of the more annoying/offensive things people say around weddings are copy/paste to begin with. People just repeat what they’ve heard elders and peers saying. People file away clichéd responses and regurgitate because they are searching for something relevant or appropriate to say.

    • I was reading some things by Napoleon Hill before and he said a lot of what we say is regurgitated from what we heard our parents say/do.
      So for example, if someone comes home from work everyday and complains they’re tired, a lot of the time they just say it because they heard their mum/dad say it, not because they actually are.
      Its an interesting concept, but i think for a lot of big life changes (and even basic everyday stuff) thats what people do.

  3. Someone (who didn’t know me) told me that, “You’re gonna need to cook for him now” bs, and I said, “Good. I’m a culinary student. Gotta practice somehow.”
    They shut up then.

  4. I don’t mind some cynicism on marriage as long as it’s not personally insulting to either partner (worse case in mind, “he was never good enough for you”). In fact I’m the one who reminded my sister she could still run away minutes before her wedding ceremony, and I know I’ll need to down a few shots when it comes time to marry my fantastic partner. . . Maybe it’s a jinx kind of thing. If I can joke about us not standing each other in a few years, then hopefully we still will.

    • I think of the share count at the top of the post as the post’s THIS! count, so if you love it… share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Reddit. 🙂

  5. I have different types of responses for different types of comments. I’ll do one of the following:

    “OMG NOT MY HUSBAND. He’s so perfect and sweet and amazing and LOOKIT HOW AMAZING HE IS.” (the super-sugary-snappiness is great for people who just want to husband-bash.)

    “Actually the relationship is the exact same. But now we have a piece of paper and some jewelry to make it ‘official’.” (for the people who like to ask, “how’s marriage going?” or the “you’ll seeeee” comments.)

    “Well, you know it’s a marriage of convenience.” (Sarcastically, for people who like to say how sorry they am that I’m married or whatever.)

    “We talked about it, but he decided not to change his name.” (when the non-issue of not taking his name comes up)

    “OMG WHAT I’M PREGNANT?! When did THAT happen?!” (I said this many times when people like to point out how “large” I was getting when I was pregnant. This tended to happen more when I was in the late stages and I was damn tired.)

  6. This to this whole post.
    Being british and all about the sarcasm, i quite like ‘well its a good job im only with him for his money’ (i earn more) or ‘yeah i totally hate him already, im pretty sure its because of all the conditioning that marriage is awful’ paired with a deadpan look. Might not work on the other side of the pond, ive heard some americans aint so hot on sarcasm. To be fair most people i try it on look totally appalled, to which i normally just laugh and say something like ‘shall we both stop the bad vibing then yeah?!’.

    • I love sarcasm! This also sometimes makes me wonder if I was born in the wrong country.

  7. Lol!
    I always responded with “Our life’s no different. Except if I die he gets the life insurance now.” 😉

  8. I tend to respond as if the person has said what I want to hear. Like, “Oh, that’s so sweet of you to say! I’m so thrilled to be [whatever, getting married, having a kid, moving to Antarctica, becoming a crime lord, joining Cirque de Soleil].” And then a quick pivot to a totally unrelated subject.

    If the person has said something truly egregious, or is particularly persistent, I resort to something along the lines of “Oh, my god, I can’t believe you just said that, you must be so embarrassed, we all have those moments when stuff comes out of our mouths that we didn’t mean to, I’ll just pretend I didn’t hear it and we can move on without any weirdness.” Charming smile. Subject change.

  9. My beloved Doomy One and I dealt with a lot of people who lost their minds when we got together including being told I was a gold digger and people spewing statistics that our marriage would fail because we’ve each been married before. I have both in person and in live broadcasts just slow blinked at people that have the balls to say anything usually followed by a “Wow”

    We both have rather odd senses of humor so our reaction to the gold digger accusation is that it’s fine that Doomy is only with me for my sweet sweet porn money. 😉 Life is too short to let anyone think they have a vote in our happiness.

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