On Being Engaged: Pre-Wedding Thoughts
I first met my fiancé in 12th grade. I was attending an arts high school in the northwestern part of the city, while he was going to school in the southeastern corner. We both frequented the same dimly-lit coffee shop in Minneapolis, and although we went to school in different cities, we had several mutual friends and several interesting “missed opportunities” to meet one another throughout our entire lives. Eventually, we started talking to one another, and what initially seemed like a high school romance ended up being much deeper than either one of us could have expected.
Now, after six years of friendship, hardship, romance, break-ups, and reunions, we’re engaged and due to be married in the spring, only two short months from now. While planning a wedding has been an adventure in and of itself, the experience of simply being engaged is something that should be treasured. Over the past eight months, I’ve had some time to reflect upon what this means for me, for my relationship, and for the rest of my life.
A lifetime is the forever we can hardly comprehend. For some, this is the reason marriage is scary. For others, like myself, this is a great source of comfort. As a child of divorce, it’s important to me that my relationship withstand any force of time, and that no matter what, my best friend and companion is next to me every step of the way.
The person your marry today is not exactly the same as the person they were when you met, nor are they they person they’ll be in 30 years. Neither are you. Josh and I were 17 when we met. We’re now in our 24th year, and a lot of things have changed about us over the course of six years. While many basic personality traits remain, many of our life goals and whole-world perspectives have been altered, and they continue to evolve every day. It’s essential that, when you commit your life to someone, you embrace these changes, and that they embrace yours. When you marry, your agree to not just look at one another, but look together in the same direction. Such is the way of life.
You’ll probably want to establish household responsibilities early on. Trust me: this will save both of you a lot of trouble in the long run.
Hardship is a shared experience, and so is happiness. When you agree to spend your life with someone, you agree that their hardships will be your hardships, and that their happiness will also be yours. For anyone in a long-term relationship, this is an essential part of growing together. Even the strongest relationships can struggle when the weight of a hardship is placed solely on the shoulders of one person.
Your home is your sacred space. Whether you’re living together in a small one-bedroom apartment, or are moving in together after marriage, your home should always be a place of peace. Embrace the time you have together to make it your own.
You learn to love idiosyncrasies. You know those little ticks everyone has? While they might annoy at first, as you truly come to love and respect the person you’re with, they’re no longer a bother. For example, I’m horrible when it comes to remembering the simple things, like my keys, or my phone, or my wallet. I tend to make a mess of my bedroom by throwing my clothes all over the floor in the mornings. I’m so thankful I’ve found someone who can accept those little ticks of mine as a part of my whole self, and love me all the same.
You are still your own person, only part of something bigger. Being married or in a long-term relationship doesn’t mean giving up your own self. The best part of being committed is developing your individual lives while working together toward building something bigger.
Planning a wedding is one of the most exciting and stressful events you’ll go through. From a bride’s perspective, this is especially true. From coordinating vendors and wedding day events to buying your rings together and putting your dress on for the first time, it’s essential that the entire process is cherished and experienced fully by anyone involved. My piece of advice: choose your colors and themes early, discuss budgets as soon as possible, make sure your lines of communication are open and free with everyone involved, and have fun making the experience unique to your relationship and your personality as a couple.