The holidays are a popular time of year to get engaged. If you’re newly engaged, congratulations! The engagement period can be exciting and fun, and it is definitely a special time. However, for many of us, the proposal and engagement is stressful, scary, and anxiety provoking. If you’re feeling some of the more difficult emotions, you may feel like there’s something wrong with you, question whether you’re in the right relationship, or wonder if you’re ready for marriage. This is not uncommon in premarital counseling in MD.
When my fiancé and I got engaged, even as a couples therapist in MD, I felt overwhelmed. Despite our shared vision for the future and our mutual decision to get engaged, almost immediately, my mind started racing: was I ready for a lifetime with this person? Would I be a good wife (and, by the way, what does that even mean?)? How would marriage change our relationship? It wasn’t long before I felt embarrassed by my reaction and wondered if I had ruined what was supposed to be one of the best moments of my life. Here are two strategies that helped me manage my worries and feel excited and more confident about marriage:
Be patient with yourself and your partner. If one or both of you are feeling scared or worried, that’s okay. The engagement period is an extended transition, and transitions are rarely easy. In fact, it is natural for transitions to be disorienting and stressful. Try to allow yourself to experience the range of emotions associated with getting engaged and preparing for the next stage of your life. Even though it may be difficult, share your feelings with your partner. You don’t have to be feeling the same thing to support each other.
Take a closer look at your relationship. The engagement period is a great time to take a closer look at your relationship and identify your strengths and growth areas as a couple. While good relationships come in all shapes and sizes, there are some things that are never okay. If there is coercion, significant deception, and/or abuse, your cold feet may signal a larger problem. Remember it is always okay to end an unsafe relationship. If, on the other hand, your relationship doesn’t have any red flags, but you still feel uneasy, it might be a good idea to consider premarital counseling in MD. A good therapist can teach you and your partner valuable communication and problem solving skills and help you discuss difficult topics in your relationship.
It took several months before I was able to identify the uneasiness that would creep into the otherwise joyful moments of my newly engaged life. I realized that my internal alarm was not signaling that my fiancé was the wrong person for me, but rather, that marriage is, in many ways, an unknown journey. There is no way to predict what challenges you will face. Though scary, maintaining open and honest communication and being curious about yourself and your relationship will help you create a solid foundation for the rest of your lives together.
How did you respond to getting engaged? What are your biggest concerns about getting married? What advice do you have for newly engaged couples? Comment below!