This week marks the third anniversary of the day my husband proposed to me. The day was a whirlwind from the surprise proposal to the surprise family lunch and surprise two day getaway to celebrate.
I love reminiscing on those days. Those days were and continue to bring me such a feeling of being loved and cherished. And honestly, I kept those feelings and memories close by during the stress of our 14 month engagement.
Here’s the thing that no one seems to want to talk about an engagement: that is isn’t always blissful. Nope, it seems like everyone wants to pretend like it’s all sunshine and roses the entire time. False. Absolutely false. I am the first to tell everyone this, especially friends who are engaged.
Fortunately, our engagement was better than one would expect considering I graduated from my masters program three months before our wedding. The entire engagement was during the most difficult months of my program not to mention that I was working full time and my husband was running a business. It’s no wonder it wasn’t always blissful.
I’ll share the secret to how we were able to manage life while planning one of the biggest days of our lives: therapy. Yes, therapy. Shortly into our engagement we decided to begin therapy.
I remember when my husband first suggested therapy. It was during the wedding of a close friend of his. The minister was sharing some details of the work the couple had done during their own therapy. My husband turned to me and said “let’s do that” and I said “yes, let’s”.
Two things struck me when my husband suggested it. The first was, why in the world had I not thought of that? The second was how it made my heart feel like it had been hugged. He cared so much about me and us and there just isn’t a better feeling in the world than when a belief is validated by your sweetie’s words and actions.
As I began my search for a therapist, I was shocked at what I would find. I chose the nearest ten marriage and family therapists to us. I called each and left a message for every single one of them. Only three returned my call. Two of the three told me they only work with “couples who have problems”. Seriously. The third was not only willing to answer any questions I had, but was also more than happy to see us despite our “lack of problems”.
I cannot fault the two clinician’s if they have never planned a wedding to truly understand the stress and work it requires- regardless of the kind of wedding- and yet, I thought of all people they would be aware of it from a professional standpoint. Perhaps this lack of knowledge from these professionals was also perpetuating the myth of blissful engagements.
Nonetheless, I am here to dispell the myth. Engagement isn’t always blissful and here are some reasons why:
- it is possibly one of the biggest days of your life- emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually
- it is possibly the biggest event/party you will ever plan and throw
- it may be the very first big thing you and your sweetie will work on together- this will bring up all kinds of strengths and struggles for any couple
Please keep in mind, this is a general list and for each relationship the list can shift, expand, or shrink.
My intention in dispelling this myth is to let other engaged couples know that this period is rarely perfect and stress-free and that is OK. By having more accurate expectations, we can manage and navigate the less than blissful moments with our sweeties rather than being blindsided and disconnected by it.
In short, this process and period brings up all kinds of things that will impact the relationship. Having a therapist there to help you connect over these things during this time rather than disconnect is one of the best things you could do for your present and future relationship. For my husband and I, therapy was what made the difference in our 14 month engagement and continues to be in our marriage.
If you are in need of relational support during your engagment, I invite you to connect with me at 970.414.0954 to schedule your complimentary consultation. PS- if you had an engagement that wasn’t always blissful, please comment below and share some of your tips. Let’s dispell this myth together!
Until next time,
About the Author:
Dr. Lily A. Zehner, MFT-C is a therapist who specializes in sex, intimacy, and relationships. Her private practice is located in Denver where she helps others reach their fullest relational and sexual potential. To learn more about her and her services, please feel free to take a look around her website.