The days after the question has been popped are usually filled with more high-pitched squealing and hype. But once reality dawns in, anxiety takes on its roll. Many couples experience a wide range of emotions, from bliss and glee to fear and stress.
Unfortunately, those ups and downs can take a toll on the relationship. So we’ve sketched the three phases of the engagement period and provided stay-tight tips to help you both survive with your sanity intact.
First Phase: The Aftershock
So you’ve flashed your bling-bling at everyone you know. Now here comes the creepy part: the realization that you are about to enter into a legally binding commitment with one man for the rest of your life. Now that’s enough to make any soon-to-be-bride freak… but wait, this panic mode is perfectly normal. The enormity of the situation tends to hit women in the early stage of the engagement. Men have usually thought it out before they got down on one knee.
And if he’s acting so damn blustery about it that you would think he just bought new sneakers, you might end up resenting him.
There’s a big misconception that you are supposed to be on cloud nine once you get engaged, but many women go through a bit of emotional numbness in that first month or two. Since you are afraid to admit to others that you are not floating on air, you might take your frustration out on him.
If this happens to you, then remind yourself that he didn’t do anything wrong. Next, talk about how you are feeling with your fiancé. Have a discussion about what you both want out of the marriage, what will remain the same and what will change in your lives. Understanding what lies ahead will alleviate and ease both your fears and bring you both closer to one another. Perceptibly, you can not cover all the martial bases in one sitting, so agree to address any issues as they come up over the next several months.
Second Phase: The Burden
Once the wedding planning has started, you and your man will hastily find yourselves sucked into a vortex and a whirlpool of stress and loads of uncalled for drama. Whereas your Saturdays were once spent going to brunch and walking the dog, now you are using that time to register for cheese graters and pick out the perfect shade of mauve. As a result, the relationship can fall by the wayside. Suddenly, the focus is on event planning rather than each other. With all the decision making going on and constant demands from various people involved in your wedding, couple often find them self at odds. To keep tensions from flaring up and coming onto the surface, it is crucial that you agree to maintain a united front with all third parties. Whether you are dealing with wedding planners or in-laws, acting as a team will thwart any feuds between the two of you. Moreover, it will create a partner-in-crime vibe that will bring you both even closer.
It is also very essential to take a time-out from the stress. You are creating a marriage, not just a wedding, and you need to get back in touch with that. So come up with a spontaneous ritual that is just about enjoying each others’ company. Routinely sharing an activity helps you bond, and it will give you a necessary reprieve from all the wedding drama. It can be anything from hitting the gym together to watching flicks on Friday nights to trying a different ethnic cuisine once a week.
Third Phase: The Freak-out
If you have successfully survived the first two phases with your love intact and minimal meltdowns, you might just coast through this last stage and boogie down the aisle together in perfect harmony and bliss. In this final stage, many women obsess about the tiniest details because they have not done the emotional homework to prepare themselves for the commitment they are about to make. If the choice between French tips and pale pink polish is keeping you up at night, then you might need to get some perspective. Take a step back and focus on what is really important: the bond between you and your guy.
One final point: If the past several months were filled with fighting, you might be afraid that the marriage will just be more of the same. But that is not necessarily true. The engagement is one of the most stressful, difficult times in a relationship. It is more than likely that the marriage itself will be much easier. Get back in touch with what made you fall in love in the first place. Relive the good times by going to the restaurant where you had your first date or by simply recounting funny, memorable moments in your relationship. If all goes well, you will quickly remember why you said “yes” in the first place.