Engagement and a Sole FocusI think the primary reason engagement is stressful is the nature of taking something so relatively small (a wedding) and making it the primary focus for months. It takes its toll on the system. What do I mean? A wedding is, of course, a magical moment. It’s fun and beautiful and full of life. However, in all the time leading up to the big day, life doesn’t slow down for you. You just have this other major thing that needs to get done. And this gigantic event, despite being so wildly significant, is objectively small in comparison to every day that follows. Now it’s time to start a life. Now it’s time to merge lives. And now it’s time to build a family and learn to live together with another whole person. But shouldn’t something so important as all of this take precedence? Of course it should! But instead of learning how to be a perfect couple, we’re busy getting fitted for dresses and picking out flower arrangements. And the search for the perfect day, the perfect moment, all while pushing to the side everything in your life that comes before or after that day, is inherently stressful.
The CountdownWell, the countdown is on. I am engaged. In a matter of months I will look my beautiful bride in the eyes, and we’ll be starting a new and fantastic life together. I have no doubts that I’m engaged to my soulmate. I have no doubts that dating was an amazing, enjoyable, and life-changing experience. And I have no doubts that we will build a tremendous life together, filled with love and mutual respect. But can we break through the engagement norm? Can we survive the next however many months without quibbles over guest lists or napkin patterns? Can we focus on the big picture, and remember every single day that our love for each other transcends the actual ceremony?
Reality CheckI think another element is the shock of the reality. Up to this point the couple has been dating. It’s fun, with light responsibility, and an easy out whenever needed. And even though there is the ability to back away post-engagement, with each passing day from this point onward, with every element of the wedding getting planned, and more and more people finding out and congratulating you, the weight of the future can become so burdensome as to break the union. Of course I cannot say for sure that the next chunk of time will be fight free. And it would be very presumptuous to assume I have the tools and perspectives to break down what unfortunately normally happens. But that’s what I want. That’s what I so desperately want. And these are the methods I’m hoping to take to get there.
PerspectiveIt’s always a good idea to remember that a wedding is just a giant, grandiose party. No more, no less. There is something far greater being built here. The couple should still date throughout engagement. There should be dates where wedding preparation is not discussed. Phones put away. And the primary focus should be on simply continuing the beautiful relationship, just like when it was “just” dating.
Good enoughI used to take guitar lessons. Whenever my teacher would tune the guitar, he would use the phrase “Good enough for rock ‘n roll.” I loved that. I always have. And I’ve adopted it to my life in so many ways. Even to this here blog. I have a system for I how I write each piece, and how I edit and promote them. If I wanted to, I could spend extra hours in every post far beyond what I currently do. The results would be great, and you beautiful readers certainly deserve that. But at some point the bad starts offsetting the good. Maintaining the blog becomes a chore and not a beloved hobby. And it starts to stress me out. And ultimately I would stop. I believe wedding preparation should be done in the same manner. It shouldn’t take over life. It should be an activity and should be enjoyable. And if it ceases to be enjoyable, it’s time to take a break. Set a timer and say that you’re only doing prep for an hour, and after that it’s dinner and a movie and no more wedding talk. If it interferes with the enjoyment of the life you’re trying to build, it’s likely not worth it. Learn to say “Good enough for rock ‘n roll”!
DelegateMany, many people will ask to help. For sure, it’s your own wedding. No matter what. And you have every right to have every detail done the way you choose. However, that does not mean you should do everything yourself. I know for many of us in this crazy world, we are absolutely certain we could do everything ourselves, or minimally could do things more competently ourselves. But taking upon that responsibility is both daunting and unnecessary. Your friends and family (and probably a few perfect strangers) would love to take some of the burden off of you. Let them. In the end, you’ll be much happier that you did.
Love Conquers AllMaybe it’s a trite and overused phrase. Maybe it’s naive to think it’s really a true concept. Or maybe deep down somewhere in me I’m still a hopeless romantic. Nevertheless, I think that when two people look at one another and they have some perspective, and they know how much they truly care about each other, they’re able to withstand the storm. They’re able to fight against the forces that are producing undue stress. They’re able to look at each other and say it’s all worth it. We were meant to be together. And we will be until the end of time.
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The Storm of Engagement