Oceans ebb and flow. Mountains have peaks and valleys. Time moves in and out of seasons. It’s the nature of the universe, and if you pay enough attention, it’s the nature of your life—isn’t it? Some seasons are full of activity, others are slow-moving. Some dreams become realities, others fade away. Some relationships are life giving, others are life sucking…you get the picture.
And everyone tells you that your engagement is one of the happiest seasons of your life…but they were all lying. Ok, ok—they were just misinformed.
There are people to coordinate, checklists to work through and toes not to step on, and you have to manage this stuff while you live in a season of personal transition. And that’s not even the half of it.
So if you’ve found yourself weeping your way through your engagement, don’t worry—you’re not alone. Here are the four main reasons engagement is not the happiest time of your life.
1. It’s a season full of extra stressors.
Unless you’re an event planner, planning something at this scale is as hard as it sounds. The details you have to manage and the people you have to talk to are enough to cause a full-on meltdown by themselves. But add a non-responsive bridal party and opinionated in-laws to the mix? Yeah…stress is one word for it.
2. It’s harder to have boundaries.
Especially if you and your partner aren’t paying for the wedding on your own, this is probably a season full of compromise, conflict and general tension with your family and/or in-laws. Should your parents’ opinion on food trump yours when they’re handing you a fat check for the reception? It’s hard to say, but the key is communicating every step of the way so that your wedding vision gets as close to reality as possible.
3. Speaking of fat checks…finances.
Money can stress people out (really at any time), so adding an event and a time crunch only inflates the issue. You and your partner are likely acquiring some extra expenses while you’re also trying to plan for your future, so you’re having to be extra intentional about spending and saving. You know the extras will come to an end one day, but while you’re in the middle of the engagement-fog, it can be hard to stay optimistic about your checking account.
4. You have less time to connect.
During your engagement, you and your partner are talking a whole lot less about your relationship and a whole lot more about your wedding day, which can leave you feeling ill-prepared for the marriage itself (can somebody say Wedshock?). There are only so many hours in a day, so when you leave work to spend time with your favorite person, you’re less inclined to chat about your day or dive deeper. You have things to plan and discuss, and while this might not take up all of your time together, it can take up more than you realize.
Ok, so your engagement isn’t necessarily the happiest time of your life, but what are you supposed to do with that information?
Well, first of all, remember that knowledge is power. If your expectations are aligned with the reality that engagement is a hard season, you’ll be less disappointed and discouraged by it. Second, you can be more intentional about managing stress, your finances, and spending quality time with your partner. And finally, you can find ways to add joy to this season so that it can still be a happy, albeit stressful, season. Plan extra fun dates like the trampoline park, remove as many responsibilities from your plate as you can, and soak in the little joys…like a warm chai tea latte while you make your guest list.
Your engagement might not be the happiest time of your life, but it’s certainly one of the most significant. And remember, when it’s all said and done, you get to spend every day with your best friend…that’s pretty damn worth it.