Your engagement is a special period in your life of anticipation, celebration and love. Though it's easy just to think of your engagement as a countdown to your big day, you should realize that this is an important time that you'll (hopefully) never have again. Here's how to make your engagement something unique and wonderful.
Invest in Each Other
There’s a reason why you’re getting married right? You love each other tremendously and want to spend the rest of your lives together.
But it’s easy to let the stress and pressure of wedding planning drive you apart, rather than together. So during your engagement, go on dates, do nice things for no reason, appreciate each other's strengths, kiss frequently, and accept each other's faults with love.
Engagement is a Preparation for Marriage
Did you know that during your engagement, you'll be doing a lot of negotiation about topics that you’ll still need to negotiate once you're married? Common topics include money and budgets, family relationships and roles, friends, and boundaries.
For example. rather than trying automatically to win on the tiny pink bows you so desperately want and your partner thinks are a waste of money, think about how you’ll want to handle bigger money decisions in your marriage. Do you want to decide money decisions equally, compromising? Do you each want to have “splurge” accounts that you can spend freely without consulting each other?
You certainly wouldn’t want your partner to go behind your back, so make sure that you are negotiating fairly.
Consider pre-marital counseling to help strengthen your bonds and prepare you for the challenges and joys of marriage. Or, if you’d rather work on your own, you could use these questions for engaged couples before you walk down the aisle.
It’s not just your future spouse that you need to show extra affection to during your engagement. Take this time to thank your parents for the ways they raised you and prepared you for this time. Check in with your bridesmaids & groomsmen about what’s going on in their lives, and use the engagement as an excuse to get together and strengthen your friendships.
Treat Yourself Well During Your Engagement
Most of all, you need to love yourself. There’s a huge (and understandable) focus on looking good for your big day, and so many brides and grooms use this time to lose weight. But crash diets will leave you irritated, cranky, and lacking the energy to really be investing in your marriage. If you want to lose weight or change your eating and exercise habits, think about making yourself healthier as a lifelong commitment rather than a countdown to a date and a number on a scale.
Think about what you want and what’s important to you. With so many decisions to be made and other people’s opinions swirling around you, it’s easy to get lost. Keeping a journal can be helpful, as can talking to trusted friends and recentering yourself.
Engagement is Not Just a Countdown!
While you do want to be using a checklist to make sure you are keeping on top of your tasks, forget the countdown calendars and tickers.
Instead, you might think to yourself, “What do I want this month of my engagement to be about? How am I going to prepare for my marriage this week/month/day?” And while those preparations will certainly include finding a caterer and deciding on favors, they can and should also include mental preparations and strengthening your relationships.