Should I Call Off my Engagement?
Has your engagement made you question whether you should be getting married right now? Have things gone from lovey dovey to frustrating and angering real quickly? You're not alone. Fighting before marriage is common- especially during the engagement period. Planning a big event while looking ahead to lifelong commitment brings up a lot of concerns.
The engagement period gives couples a chance to confront their different perspectives. Each person has a different upbringing that informs how they think things should be done. Engagements also surface what hidden expectations haven't come to light until facing a long-term commitment. At first, differences may seem jarring if they don't appear to align, but a lot can be worked through with a bit of guided conversation to help find even ground in the relationship.
One of the benefits of working with a relationship counselor is to have a safe and guided space to navigate the difficult and stressful conversations that come up during engagements. If you're curious about what's normal, here's a look at some of the common things people deal with in pre-marital counseling...
Different Money Management Styles
Hot-button topics in relationships often come up around finances, money, and spending habits while planning for a wedding and deciding who will be responsible for what, as well as determining what each family or partner should contribute. The solution is different for each couple, but if it's difficult to even begin conversations about money, doing the work of learning how to talk about it during your engagement will set you up for better success when you need to talk about it while you're married.
Different Tastes and Priorities
The difference in each person's expectations is revealed quickly during wedding planning. One partner may value music and food over flowers or venue, while the other person has completely different values in where they want to invest more energy and preference. At first, these may seem like competing interests, but in a marriage, it may actually be better if one person focuses on a particular quality of life while the other person focuses elsewhere. Having different priorities means that you can divide up responsibility in the relationship and yet both benefit from each other's tastes and interests in different things. A little help on how to make these differences work together will go a long way.
Different Ways of Communicating
Engagements often reveal the ways that couples disagree more than the dating period does. When you're just dating, it's easy to just take a break and let things pass, but when you're getting ready to consider sharing a home and life together, suddenly the way you deal with conflicts and disagreements may become a much bigger concern. If a partner expects to talk through a problem, while the other partner needs alone space after a problem occurs, a counselor can help provide tools and techniques to manage this difference in communication styles.
Learning How to Work with Differences
The most successful relationships are ones that learn strategies for navigating these differences more compassionately. Relationships that don't take time to work on these issues early enough, often have more difficulties to work through later on. It's much easier to make needed changes in the early part of commitment. So, if you know of someone who is having a challenging time during their engagement, remind them that challenges are to be expected, but they are easier to work on with professional relationship counseling.
For further inquiries:
Check out Rachel Moheban-Wachtel, LCSW, at www.relationshipsuite.com
Phone: (917) 273-8836