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What To Expect During Engagement

What To Expect During Engagement

Every phase of a relationship has its own joys and challenges–singleness, dating, engagement, and marriage. I recently transitioned from “In a relationship” to “Engaged” on Facebook. The newness of it all since the proposal has dimmed some, but the question has lingered, “Now what?! I’ve never made it this far before!”

For those of you who have, kudos! But for the rest of us, here are some things to know about this new landscape that has opened up in our relationship.

1. There’s a lot of planning

I don’t know if anyone has told you, but engagement is the time of preparation for marriage, primarily planning the wedding! I went into engagement grossly underestimating just how much planning goes into a wedding (and ours is by no means extravagant!). There are so many choices that must be made, so go ahead and brace yourself. Yes, it is a stressful process, but it is also the greatest joy because you are PLANNING YOUR WEDDING!!! It’s finally happening, and you get to decide what color palette to use, what kind and color of flowers to use, where to get a venue… and it’s for you and your spouse-to-be!

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Tip to the dudes from a currently engaged dude: Man up and get involved in the planning process. Your partner needs you (and wants you) to participate–now is not the time to slack off. Jump in with both feet and help your partner out because there’s a lot to be done.

2. There’s a lot of intimacy

The greatest thing about the engagement period is that a whole new level of intimacy opens up between you and your spouse-to-be. The deepest parts of your personalities surface–especially in stressful situations like planning–and you get the chance to learn each other on such a deep level. My fiancée and I are becoming so much closer as we are on the planning path to becoming one. I am growing to love her so much more as we begin the process of building a life together, and it is a beautiful thing. Relish this moment and this season of engagement because it will be stressful, but it will be some of the sweetest time with your future Mr. or Mrs.

3. There’s a lot of family

I’ve heard it said many times, “You don’t marry INTO the family, you marry THE FAMILY!” but I never realized exactly what that meant until engagement. Kels (my fiancée) and I had to spend quite a while coordinating with both of our families to set a date that worked well for them–talk about a task! There is also more involvement from both of our families as we are knitting them both together. Kels and I even talked about how to share holidays between our families–THAT’S a new concept for me.

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Don’t expect the welding of two families to be an easy process–there are two very different cultures of people being united into one. Just like it takes time for two people to get to know each other and learn how to interact with each other, it is the same with families. Have patience and boatloads of grace.

4. There’s a lot of compromise

I’m not a particularly opinionated person, but I still have preferences on occasion. Kels, on the other hand, knows exactly what she wants (even if she doesn’t actually want it…) and I love her for it. Throughout our relationship we have had some disagreements, but even more so during engagement because there are so many more decisions and opinions that go into planning a wedding. But alas, all is not lost! There is a solution to the disagreements. Learn how to compromise with each other. And I don’t mean you each get half of what you want (although sometimes that works). Often it means being willing to say, “You know what, let’s go with your preference.”

There are two kinds of compromise–one of which is an imposter. The first kind (the imposter) approaches a disagreement with the attitude “Well, if I can’t have it all my way, I may as well get it half-way.” This is selfish. It doesn’t solve anything. It just leaves two people unhappy. The real compromise approaches disagreement with the attitude “I want us both to be happy. I’m willing to give up what I want to make that happen.” This method solves problems, and it is a valuable skill to learn for marriage (if you haven’t learned it already!).

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5. There’s a lot of doubt

If you aren’t sure that you want to marry the person you are dating, don’t get engaged. Engagement is not an extended time to see if you want to marry someone. It is a time of planning a marriage and starting the process of becoming one. That being said, I knew Kels was the woman with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life before I got down on one knee. But during our engagement she and I have both experienced moments of doubt and fear and insecurity–marriage is a scary thing! We will be spending THE REST OF OUR LIVES together. I will only be married to HER. And she will only be married to ME.

If that doesn’t give you pause, you haven’t thought about it enough. It’s a HUGE decision. So anticipate some doubt, but don’t let that scare you away. Sometimes you need to make a decision and stick with it. I would encourage everyone to step into engagement with certainty, and then be faithful to the person to whom you have made the pledge of commitment.

6. There’s a lot of joy

Many of these tips seem to have a negative vibe to them, but don’t think for a second that engagement is a drag. As a man currently in the engagement phase, I can tell you that, even with all of its challenges, it is the greatest joy and privilege and adventure of my life. I am stoked out of my mind to be marrying Kels. I am blown away that she is willing to spend the rest of her life building a life with me. Relationships are hard. Engagement is hard. Life is hard. But it is totally worth every moment. I am growing more in love with Kels each and every day–and dang is she getting more beautiful every day, too! I can’t wait to marry her, live in the same house as her, wake up to her, laugh with her, cry with her, get sick with her (it happened this last weekend!), have children with her, raise those children with her… and the list goes on. I have found my treasure, and I’m going to treat her like the precious jewel she is.

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7. There’s a lot of everything

As you may have noticed from reading, or from personal experience, engagement just has a lot of everything. A lot of smiles. A lot of tears. A lot of planning. A lot of intimacy. Just a lot. Everything is amplified during this beautiful season–both good and bad. Roll with the punches. See it all as an awesome adventure. Even the bad things will be fond memories when you look back on it. Because it’s totally worth it.

Featured photo credit: Lemuel Cantos via flickr.com

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Austen Broome

Social Media/Public Relations Manager and Copywriter for Liquid Creative

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Last Updated on August 19, 2019

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

We live in a world that constantly tells us what to do, how to act, what to be. Knowing how to be true to yourself and live the life you want can be a challenge.

When someone asks how we are, we assume that the person does not mean the question sincerely, for it would lead to an in depth conversation. So telling them that you are good or fine, even if you’re not, is the usual answer.

In an ideal world, we would stop and truly listen. We wouldn’t be afraid to be ourselves. Instead, when we answer about how we are doing, our mask, the persona we show the world, tightens. Sometimes even more so than it might have been before. Eventually, it becomes hard to take off, even when you’re alone.

Imagine a world where we asked how someone was doing and they really told us. Imagine a world where there were no masks, only transparency when we talked to one another.

If you want to live in a world that celebrates who you are, mistakes and all, take off the mask. It doesn’t mean you have to be positive or fine all the time.

According to a Danish psychologist, Svend Brinkman, we expect each other to be happy and fine every second, and we expect it of ourselves. And that “has a dark side.”[1] Positive psychology can have its perks but not at the expense at hiding how you truly feel in order to remain seemingly positive to others.

No one can feel positive all the time and yet, that is what our culture teaches us to embrace. We have to unlearn this. That said, telling others you are ‘“fine”’ all the time is actually detrimental to your wellbeing, because it stops you from being assertive, from being authentic or your truest self.

When you acknowledge a feeling, it leads you to the problem that’s causing that feeling; and once you identify the problem, you can find a solution to it. When you hide that feeling, you stuff it way down so no one can help you.You can’t even help yourself.

Feelings are there for one reason: to be felt. That doesn’t mean you have to act on that feeling. It just means that you start the process of problem solving so you can live the life you want.

1. Embrace Your Vulnerability

When you are your true self, you can better self-advocate or stand up for what you need. Your self-expression matters, and you should value your voice. It’s okay to need things, it’s okay to speak up, and it’s okay not to be okay.

Telling someone you are simply “fine” when you are not, does your story and your journey a great disservice. Being true to yourself entails embracing all aspects of your existence.

When you bring your whole self to the table, there is nothing that you can’t beat. Here’re 7 benefits of being vulnerable you should learn.

Can you take off the mask? This is the toughest thing anyone can do. We have learned to wait until we are safe before we start to be authentic.

In relationships especially, this can be hard. Some people avoid vulnerability at any cost. And in our relationship with ourselves, we can look in the mirror and immediately put on the mask.

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It all starts with your story. You have been on your own unique journey. That journey has led you here, to the person you are today. You have to be unafraid, and embrace all aspects of that journey.

You should seek to thrive, not just survive. That means you do not have to compete or compare yourself with anyone.

Authenticity means you are enough. It’s enough to be who you are to get what you want.

What if for the first time ever, you were real? What if you said what you wanted to say, did what you wanted to do, and didn’t apologize for it?

You were assertive, forthcoming in your opinions or actions to stand for what is right for you, (rather than being passive or aggressive) in doing so. You didn’t let things get to you. You knew you had something special to offer.

That’s where we all should be.

So, answer me this:

How are you, really?

And know that no matter the answer, you should still be accepted.

Bravery is in the understanding that you still may not be accepted for your truth.

Bravery is knowing you matter even when others say that you do not.

Bravery is believing in yourself when all evidence counters doing so (i.e. past failures or losses)

Bravery is in being vulnerable while knowing vulnerability is a sign of strength.

It’s taking control.

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2. Choose Your Attitude in Adversity

You can take control of your destiny and live the life you want by being true to yourself. You can start anytime. You can start today.

You can start with one day at a time, just facing what happens that day. Most of us get overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of a big change. Even if the only thing we change is our attitude.

In one instant, you can become a different person with a change of attitude. When you take control of your attitude, you become able to better understand what is around you. This allows you to move forward.

Originally, you may have had a life plan. It could have started when you were little; you were hoping to become a mermaid, doctor, astronaut or all three when you grew up. You were hoping to be someone. You were hoping to be remembered.

You can still dream those dreams, but eventually reality sets in. Obstacles and struggles arise. You set on a different path when the last one didn’t work out. You think of all the “shoulds” in your life in living the life you want. You should be doing this…should be doing that…

Clayton Barbeau, psychologist, coined the term “shoulding yourself.’[2] When we are set on one path and find ourselves doing something different. It becomes all the things you should be doing rather than seeing the opportunities right in front of you.

But in all this disarray, did you lose sight of the real you?

It may be in our perceived failures and blunders that we lose sight of who we are, because we try to maintain position and status.

In being who we really are and achieving what we really want, we need to be resilient: How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You

It means that we do not see all possibilities of what might happen, but must trust ourselves to begin again, and continue to build the life we want. In the face of adversity, you must choose your attitude.

Can attitude overcome adversity? It certainly helps. While seeking to be true to yourself and live the life you want, you will have to face a fact:

Change will happen.

Whether that change is good or bad is unique to each person and their perspective.

You might have to start over, once, twice, a few times. It doesn’t mean that everything will be okay, but that you will be okay. What remains or should remain is the true you. When you’ve lost sight of that, you’ve lost sight of everything.

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And then, you rebuild. Moment after moment, day after day. We all have a choice, and in this moment, that matters.

You can choose to have a positive attitude, seeing the silver lining in each situation and, where there is none, the potential for one. Maybe that silver lining is you and what you will do with the situation. How will you use it for something good?

That’s how you can tap into yourself and your power. Sometimes it happens by accident, sometimes on purpose. It can happen when we aren’t even looking for it, or it can be your only focus. Everyone gets there differently.

You can rise, or you can remain. Your choice.

When the worst happens, you can rely on your authenticity to pull you through. That’s because Self Advocacy, speaking up to let others know what you need, is part of finding the real you.

There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Or sometimes, helping others can help us deal with the pain of a hurtful situation. You decide how you’re going to help others, and suddenly, you become your best self.

3. Do What Makes You Happy When No One’s Looking

Being the best version of you has nothing to do with your success or your status. It has everything to do with your Character, what you do when no one’s looking.

In order to create the life you want, you have to be the person you want to be. Faking it till you make it is just a way to white knuckle it through your journey. You have the fire inside of you to make things right, to put the pieces together, to live authentically. And Character is how you get there.

If you fall down and you help another up while you’re down there, it’s like you rise twice.

Along with attitude, your character is about the choices you make rather than what happens to you.

Yes, it’s about doing the right thing even when obstacles seem insurmountable.  It’s about using that mountain you’ve been given to show others it can be moved.  It’s about being unapologetically you, taking control, choosing your attitude in adversity and being the best version of you to create the life you want.

How do you know what you really want? Is it truly status or success?

Unfortunately, these things do not always bring happiness. And aspects of our image or “performance driven existence” may not achieve satisfaction. Materialism is part of our refusal to accept ourselves as enough. All the things we use to repress our true selves are about being enough.

“Enoughness” is what we truly seek, but ego gets in the way.

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Ego is the perception of self as outer worth. It’s not REAL self worth.

Ego represses our true self with a new self— the self of chasing ‘“Am I ever enough?”’ questions. And instead of filling our true selves with self-love and acceptance, when we “should ourselves” and chase “enoughness,” we feed the ego or our image.

It’s important to realize YOU ARE ENOUGH, without all the material trappings.

Stanford psychologist Meagan O’Reilly describes the damage of not thinking we are enough. One of her tactics for combating this is to complete the sentence,[3]

“If I believed I were already enough, I’d ____”

What would you do if you felt you were enough?

By believing you are enough, you can live the life you want.

So many fake it to try to get there, and they end up losing themselves when they lose more and more touch with their Authenticity.

Final Thoughts

By being yourself, you are being brave. By acknowledging all you can be, you tell the universe that you can until you believe it too. The steps are easy, and you are worth it. All of it is about the purpose you are leading and the passion that is your fuel.

Being true to yourself is all about mastering how to live life authentically rather than faking or forcing it. Having the life you want (and deserve) is about being trusting in yourself and the purpose you are living for. Both need passion behind it, fueling it each second, or you will experience burn out.

When you are authentic, you can call the road you walk your own. When you live your life for you and not just the results of all your actions (faking it till you make it), you can let go of what you don’t need. This clarifies and pushes purpose to you, living for something that is greater than you.

You will find that making decisions based on what will actually achieve your goals, will help you attain the life you want, and your success with each step, will allow you to enjoy the process. Good luck!

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Featured photo credit: Ariana Prestes via unsplash.com

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