The Rules of Engagement

Author Tamara Rajakariar
This article first appeared in the FamilyEdge section of MercatorNet, a news site dedicated to reframing modern complexities in a framework of human dignity: here

Yes, I know, I’ve only been engaged for two weeks. Two weeks and four days, actually, and yes, I am counting. But amidst all the happiness and excitement, I feel like I’ve already leant a few lessons that I plan on keeping in mind until the wedding. Let me tell you about them:

Make sure you focus on the marriage, not just the wedding day

There’s nothing wrong with being excited about the wedding day. But I’m trying to focus on the fact that the most important thing is the marriage, and the world won’t end if my dress is a little less puffy than expected or the wedding singer hits a bad note – being aware of this is probably the difference between a psycho bridezilla and a calm, happy bride-to-be. It also prevents me from getting caught up in materialism, since I know that the wedding is a celebration of our union, not a “my party is better than your party” kind of bash.

Also to be noted is preparation. There will be plenty of this for the wedding of course, but how about for the marriage too? Statistics show that couples who do some kind of marriage preparation course have less likelihood of divorce and more likelihood of a happy marriage. And as for day-to-day preparation, engagement is the perfect time to be training oneself in the practice of living selfless love.

There will be times where you don’t agree with your fiancé – this is not necessarily a bad thing, but rather a good way to grow

It’s inevitable that we’ll disagree on something along the way – whether it be the reception venue, the colour scheme, or the number of guests. Long story short, there’s no need to make a mountain out of a molehill. Take it a chance to communicate what you’re thinking and make a decision together. That said, I also appreciate the times where we can just stop and enjoy each other’s company rather than always discussing wedding details.

It’s not all about you a lot of the time

My fiancé definitely had the element of surprise in his proposal. He got my manager at work to tell me that I was flying interstate to review a hotel, but instead he was there, waiting for me, complete with fancy set-up and all. As you can imagine, we were pretty tired when we flew back that evening, but our families were waiting to celebrate with us. That’s the moment I knew that it wasn’t all about us. Even regarding the wedding day – so many people have told me that I should be selfish; that the day should be exactly how I, the bride, want it, and not to care about anyone else. But to be honest, it makes me happy to take into account what my family and friends will also enjoy. After all, the point is to celebrate with them!

Great opportunity to be a good example for other couples

During the period of engagement and early marriage, I feel like others are more aware of your relationship – they take a closer look. What an opportunity to be a good example for them! Case in point: a few years ago, my younger sister was dating a guy who wasn’t good for her. Needless to say, I thoroughly disapproved. But one of the things that helped her to break up with him was attending our cousin’s wedding. Seeing the love that the couple had for each other and hearing the genuinely beautiful words from the groom to the bride helped her to see that she too deserved a man that loved her as selflessly as that, with a much more genuine love.

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Tamara Rajakariar

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