Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What I learned about love through engagement

Being engaged was one of the most exciting times of my life!
Preparing for marriage when you can see it right around the corner is SO much fun.
You sometimes hear that engagements are terrible, long, painful, and nerve-wracking.
Well, I'm sure some are, but also realize that there are plenty of engagements that are fun!
While many external factors can help or harm and engagement, most things are in your control.
In my opinion, two of the most important things to keep control of are these:
your preparation and your attitude.

For me, the preparation began before Jason was ever in the picture.
A few weeks before we met, I was convinced I was going to serve a mission and began preparing to go to the temple more consciously than I ever had before.
Because of that, and other decisions I had made in the years prior, by the time he popped the question I felt pretty prepared for the next phase of my life.
This was a huge blessing, and probably the main reason our engagement went so smoothly!

As for attitude -- have a good one!
Bumps in the road will come, but it's your choice to make those out to be little speed bumps or huge pot holes.
Looking on the bright side and remembering who you're marrying will make all the difference!
Yes, weddings are cool, but marriage is even better!
So remember to keep your fiance your #1.

I'm no expert, but here are a few things I learned through my own engagement!

If possible, don't be involved in every detail of the wedding planning

This one is circumstantial for sure. In my situation, it didn't make sense for me to be planning the entire wedding when I had a mom and family friend (with excellent taste!) who were thrilled with the idea of helping with anything they could! I was in my final semester of college and living a state away, which also made handing off most of the planning an easy choice. Yes, I planned the things I really cared about, but anything I could pass on, I did! And boy am I grateful. I know not everyone wants to do this -- or has the support to do this -- but if you do, I highly recommend it. When I walked into our reception the only thing I felt was awe and extreme gratitude.

Stay busy

Find productive things to do! Get out of the house. Find hobbies you both enjoy. Stay physically active. Continue to go to church activities. Continue to spend time with your friends and roommates. When possible, group date. Include others. Don't be weird.

Two of my favorite things we did during our engagement were taking a ski class together and getting yoga memberships. We had a blast doing both of these things, and it gave us something to do when options were more limited in the winter time in Utah. Some of our greatest memories came from these two activities!

Take time during engagement to decide what kind of spouse you want to be

If you haven't really thought about it, make some conscious decisions during your engagement on the things you will and will not do as a spouse. Write them down in your journal so you can look back on them. For example, when we were engaged, I decided I didn't ever want to call Jason a mean name or demean him in any way, so I made that decision ahead of time. Choices like that are much better made before marriage rather than in the heat of the moment.

By deciding certain things before hand, you can literally design your marriage. I know that sounds crazy and idealistic, but if you and your fiancé share similar goals (I hope so, you're marrying this person!) then you should both be willing to do whatever it takes to achieve them. If your goal is a happy, healthy marriage, you can have it! Just decide now that's what you want, and choose to fight for it every day. Decide now to be fiercely loyal to your spouse. Decide now to be happy to see them every time you meet after a long day. Decide now to be a good listener and put your spouse's needs before your own. Whatever it is you want, decide now!

Realize that marriage won't change your relationship; you change your relationship for marriage

If there's something you don't love about your relationship dynamic, try to find a solution during your engagement so you never have to bring it into your marriage. Another thing to recognize is if you fight while you're engaged, you'll probably fight when you're married, especially as a newlywed (and no, not everyone fights when they're newlyweds!). Don't blame it on the wedding stress, you're still in control of your emotions and the way you act now will carry straight into your marriage.

Don't wish your engagement away

Engagements can be amazing! Enjoy it! I know that's easier said than done, but enjoy the anticipation, the celebration, the excitement, and the joy. Soon enough you'll be married, and this period of your life will be over. So decide to enjoy every moment!


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