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Marriages and weddings are some of the most important events in our lives, and we place a lot of cultural value on them. It is therefore unsurprising that dreams involving weddings are extremely common.
A wedding in a dream can symbolize a number of ideas such as:
- Wish fulfillment
- Being tied to old habits and patterns
- Concerns about independence
Sometimes we dream about getting married to completely inappropriate people, such as a parent, sibling, or someone already married to whom we are not remotely attracted to.
We'll cover all of those ideas in this article.
Wish fulfillment dreams are dreams that happen when we have desires we either cannot express, feel we cannot have, or we realize are actually impossible to attain in the waking world.
For example, we may wish we could speak with a dead loved one, especially if we feel we lacked closure with the deceased. Since we cannot communicate with the person we love and miss, we will sometimes have dreams about that person so we can experience the closure we want. These dreams can be particularly comforting and helpful.
Often wish fulfillment dreams express desires we may not even be aware we have. We may feel like we are completely happy, fulfilled in our careers, or on the life path we've always wanted to follow. But there we are, having recurrent dreams about marrying some mysterious person. We wake from the dreams feeling oddly happy and contented and have no idea why. One reason might be because the dreams are actually wish fulfillments.
Having wish fulfillment dreams involving weddings does not mean we're lonely or that we will never marry. What they do mean is that there is a part of us that we may be denying exists or that we have a fear that we may never experience something that we secretly desire.
But don't worry! Wish fulfillment dreams serve the purpose of alerting us that we have hidden something precious way deep down in the unconscious, something so precious we're hiding from ourselves. The unconscious is bringing the desire to the surface, gently letting us know it's there, and perhaps telling us it might be time to acknowledge it so it can be brought to bear in the waking world!
Have You Heard of This?
Cultures around the world have rich traditions and lore surrounding weddings. Here is a smattering some you may not have heard before.
Koufeta are Jordan almonds given to guests at weddings, communions, and baptisms. As a wedding favor, koufeta symbolizes the following: the sugar, the sweetness of the marriage and the hard almond shell the endurance of the marriage.
In Italy, the bride and groom get smashed—well, their glasses do, anyway. Newlyweds smash their drinking glasses into as many pieces as possible because each shard is said to symbolize the number of happy years of marriage the couple has in store.
Indian brides and seven of their married pals all get cooking before the wedding. The group gets together and makes lentil balls. They send the balls called chana dal to the future husband of the bride to show the groom's family that their boy will never go hungry.
Have you heard that it's bad luck to kill a spider in the house? Well, in England it's worse luck to kill any spider you might spy on your wedding dress. Spiders on wedding dresses are meant to bring good luck, so leave Charlotte alone if you spot her on your wedding gown!
Always a bridesmaid, never a bride? Well, back in the day, if you were single and you passed a piece of wedding cake through the bride's ring, took it home with you, and ate it, that night you'd dream of the man who'd one day take you for his wife.
Anxiety Dreams and Fear of the Unknown
Are you getting married soon? Are you having recurrent nightmares about forgetting the wedding, showing up late or naked, going to the wrong venue, or your wedding cake melting in the cold November rain?
Wedding disaster dreams are common and you can expect them if you are tying the knot soon. Dreams of these types are typically anxiety dreams. Anxiety dreams are nocturnal expressions of all the fears we repress about all the things that might go wrong with big events in our lives.
Anxiety dreams are also ways the unconscious articulates fears about bigger issues and concerns such as the fear of the unknown. Anytime we move into a new life station, even if that station is better than the one in which we currently reside, our psyche interprets the move as death.
To understand that concept, we have to think of death symbolically instead of literally. Symbolically, death is the biggest of the big unknowns, and as such, it is the place we fear the most.
Anytime we move into an unknown place we leave behind the life we know in favor of one we don't. We know how for certain we can live in the place we're currently living, but we have no idea if we can live in the unknown place. We think we can. We hope we can. We're excited about the possibilities, but that future is unknown.
Mark Twain says that courage isn't courage unless fear is involved. Without fear, one is just a blind fool relying on luck—and luck always runs out. If you are getting married or making a big life change, congratulations! You're making the move despite the fear. Nothing is more courageous!
Mark Twain on Fear
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear. Except a creature be part coward, it is not a compliment to say he is brave.
— Mark Twain
Are you dreaming that you're married to something bizarre like a monster or a person you abhor? Dreams of these might symbolize being tied to something inappropriate or that perhaps at one time was a good fit for you but which you've now outgrown.
We stay hitched to old ways of life because they are familiar. Even if we're completely uncomfortable in the rut we're living, we stay hunkered down because at least we feel like we know what we're doing.
If you're married to a monster or inappropriate person, look at the person or creature symbolically and see if there is something in your life that it might represent. Then ask yourself if it might be time to "divorce" yourself from it.
Independence and Fear of Commitment
We've looked at wedding dreams as a fear of the unknown, but they can also symbolize another kind of fear: fear of commitment.
If you are running from a wedding or have a dream about a wedding that leaves you feeling uneasy or even frightened, you may have commitment phobia.
Fear of commitment may be a facet of fear of the unknown, but commitment phobia usually comes from a space of emotional immaturity rather than one of courage. Fear of commitment usually stems from a believe that one shouldn't commit to anything because something better might come along, something that one will miss because one is committed something else, something inferior to what will eventually come along.
The truth is that the quality of our lives is precisely predicated to the level of commitment we have to them and that includes our relationships with others, our work, and our commitment to using the gifts and talents we are given. The only time that exists is now—both the future and the past are illusions—living in either isn't really living, it's dreaming and not in the way anyone really wants to dream.
While most dream weddings are reflections of waking life hopes, fears, and/or desires, some dreams about weddings have a deeper significance, one that should not be overlooked.
In Jungian psychology, one of the most daunting tasks is the integration and balancing of ourselves, a process known as the "union of opposites." The union of opposites means that we have integrated some fractured, wounded, or unknown part of ourselves.
For men, a primary process of integration is the integration of the anima, for women it is the integration of the animus. For men and women the first step in this process is the integration of the shadow. All of these archetypes are parts of a whole, functioning psyche, but because we are wounded beings, we have isolated ourselves from the parts that cause us pain.
Eric Berne, author of Games People Play, states, "We are born princes and the civilizing process makes us frogs." He means that we're born as individuals with whole psyches, but as we grow we encounter others who, by foisting their wants and desires onto us, influence us to the point where we become like the frog in the fairytale traveling under a curse until we're able to reclaim our original self.
Dreams of weddings can mean that you are trading in your frog skin for a scepter and crown, that you are returning to who you were created to be by reclaiming all the aspects of yourself that went underground while you traveled under a curse. Well done!
Wedding dreams, like all dreams, are messages to you letting you know what's going on in the hidden corners of the psyche. These messages are meant to encourage us when we're on the right track and give us pointers when we're going the wrong way.
Instead of thinking of dreams as prophecies, it helps to think of them as empowering visions designed to help you create a future you'll want to be married to. Accept the invitation!
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© 2019 Aisling Ireland