UPDATED: September 16, 2021
We decided to revisit this post and give it a lift. It’s been over 5 years since we originally posted this article – we’ve learned SO much about marriage since then. In light of that, we thought we could add a few more tips for making the best of your engagement.
Congratulations! You’re finally engaged! If you’re the woman, you thought it would never come. If you’re the man, all the nerves and planning are finally over.
You’ve had a million different people tell you cliché sayings about being tied down, and now, you’re starting the planning process (or maybe the woman already has the whole thing planned out on Pinterest).
Planning a wedding can be overwhelming. Guest lists. Photographer. Food. Songs. Bridesmaids. Groomsmen. Dresses. Tuxes. How are you supposed to keep all this straight?!
In the midst of this whirlwind of planning, phone calls, emails, and forms to sign, it’s easy to get caught up in the experience and forget to actually enjoy the time before you are married. This should be one of the most exciting times in your lives.
You’ve just gotten engaged to the love of your life. You’re going to be spending the rest of your life with this man or woman. Instead of focusing on being so concerned with making sure every TINY detail is exactly how you’ve always imagined, stop and enjoy your engagement!
Take this time of engagement to ENGAGE with your fiancé. Get to know them even better. I mean, you are going to be spending the rest of your lives together. Go out of your way to spend more time together and learn more about each other.
Ask each other deep, meaningful questions like, “White or dark chocolate?”, “Beach or mountains?”. Okay, maybe something a little more meaningful than that, like, “How many kids do you want?”, “Are you okay with living 2 hours away from your parents?” These questions are important, and the engagement is a perfect time to dive in, if you haven’t asked them already.
Something that was very helpful to us (and something that our marriage counselor/pastor that performed the wedding ceremony/Katie’s cousin suggested) was to look at all of the house chores and who we expected to do them.
We looked at the sheet of paper and listed things like “washing dishes”, “vacuuming”, “dusting”, etc. After that, we put who did those chores when we were growing up, mom or dad, and then who we expected to do that in our own marriage.
Be warned, this little exercise can EXTREMELY eye-opening. If you are anything like us, your answers are going to be very different. It was helpful for us to discuss our expectations BEFORE the wedding.
Another important exercise for engaged couples (at least, it was for us) is to ask each other about what your goals are for your careers, family, and friends. Does she plan on being a stay-at-home mom?
Maybe you want to go back to school to get another degree. Would you ever move to a different state? Learn each other’s goals, dreams, and plans.
Enjoy this phase of life together. Don’t get too wrapped up in deciding the color of the flowers or if you want to have glass vs. plastic cake plates. Heck, we forgot cake plates altogether. Engage each other. Remember, marriage is about more than just the one day when everyone gets dressed up.
There is a lot of work to get done while you’re engaged. You have to plan a wedding, figure out your living situation, get all the paperwork done, register for gifts, meet with vendors, and still live your normal life. Honestly, it can be exhausting.
When we were engaged, we kind of got wrapped up in everything and forgot to really enjoy the moments of being engaged and all the fun that season of life brought. If we could, we would rewind time and go on more dates in our engaged season.
Go on fun day trips. Have a picnic or just go for ice cream. Whatever it is — go out and enjoy it! You have the rest of your lives to do all the important mandatory paperwork.
Now back to the serious stuff.
While you’re on those dates and getting coffee, have a good heart to heart. Figure out what’s most important.
Probably none of these things are going to surprise you. I’m sure you’ve already learned a lot about your significant other, including their values. But this includes things like a job or your family.
How much value do you put in your career and are you willing to sacrifice your weekends for work if needed? Where does your religion play into your relationship and how will you raise children if you want them? These questions won’t be easy, but there are VERY NECESSARY.