I’ve been wanting to do this post for a while. This post is different than my typical posts on food and listening to your body, but equally as important since our primary foods (relationships, spirituality, joy, etc.) play such a huge role in our relationship with ourselves and food.
The purpose of this OPEN UP series is to talk about the too-touchy-to-touch-on topics that we don’t hear enough about online.
This particular post – and I know from experience – is NOT talked about enough online and I think there needs to be some conversation and normalcy added to this convo.
I’ll start with a personal story…
Marco and I got engaged on Thanksgiving day of November 2013. We’d been dating for 6 months and best friends for 8 years (see this post on the start of our story). The days before our engagement, our relationship was all butterflies and rainbows. Or, at least it felt like it.
We were on cloud 9.
The day after we got engaged, everything changed for me.
Fear set in. Expectations increased and came crashing down on what felt like a daily basis. Everything in our relationship felt like a bigger deal. Will it be this way forever? Is this all okay? Is this disastrous? Are we really going to do this?
It could be because we were so young (21), it could be because we’d been friends for so long that being in a relationship with each other was a new experience, or it could just be that we had a lot of things that needed to be worked/ironed out before we got married.
Regardless of WHY this was happening, we had some major work to do.
In January of 2014 we started some major counseling together. I went to the counselor on my own thinking maybe I’ll find something to work on. But really, it’s Marco that should be here (Ouch! I quickly and humbly found out that I had a ton of work to do on myself, and the way I communicated).
Marco and I stuck it out through 8 months of intense counseling.
We broke up for a month in between. We learned a ton about each other. We learned why we communicated the way we did and we learned how to communicate so much better.
We had support through some of our most important decisions: getting re-engaged, moving in together, and combining finances… It was the most growth either of us had ever experienced at the time.
It was an overhaul of our relationship, and it’s the best thing that had ever happened for us.
So, yeah. Engagement was friggin hard at that point. But all so necessary.
Here’s what I want to share though… That first day after we got engaged, I felt so alone.
Why is everyone else SO HAPPY when they’re engaged? Why does wedding planning look like unicorns and rainbows? Is it really supposed to be magical/other-worldly? IS SOMETHING WRONG? With us? With me?
NO. You guys.
Engagement is fun & can be exciting. It was for us after we went through that 8 month bout of counseling. But it is ALSO work and can feel a little scary at times! This is normal and even good.
If you have any similar feelings to what I’m sharing, let this motivate you to work on your relationship BEFORE you get married. Seriously, you’ll make your first couple of years SO much easier if you do the work first (not to say that you won’t have to continue to do the work after – you will, but it’ll be a little bit easier because you’ll have a solid understanding of WHY you’re doing the work).
If engagement is feeling a little less rainbow-y and a little more scary… No worries. This doesn’t mean that your relationship is doomed or that you shouldn’t get married (it could mean that, but doesn’t ALWAYS).
When Marco and I broke up during that engagement, a reader (thank you Jenn!) reached out to me and shared her own personal story, which is much like the story I’m sharing with you today. Her story gave me hope, and showed me that Marco and I are strong. We could work through everything we were going through with a little effort and discomfort.
Her story showed me that relationships do take work. Staying in love, creating a life with someone, and making the biggest decisions you’ll ever make together will take work (duh, but it can be hard to see ourselves, right?!). This is the norm. This is good. This is expected. You’re okay.
Disclaimer: definitely don’t take my word for where your relationship stands. See a counselor if you’re feeling any bit of scared. It’ can’t hurt! It’s always good to do work on yourself and grow.
SO. For any of you who need to hear it: engagement is not ALL unicorns and rainbows.
There you go.
There’s this idea out there that once you’re engaged, like, everything will be perfect. The whole world will be celebrating you and you will be ALL THE RAGE.
Really, it’s still just normal life. Sure, it’s exciting, and it’s the only time you’ll ever have a finance (probably!), but it’s STILL normal life. If you get in a fight, or you have a bad day, or decisions are tough to make, it’s okay. This is normal. You are two imperfect humans coming together to create one life.
Unless there is a real problem, there is no problem. If you need help figuring this out, seriously, see a counselor. It’s for growth!
Okay, all that said… seriously, it can STILL be fun. Like I shared, after we did the big work, things got way more fun. I wrote a post here on how to make your engagement fun. My encouragement: do the work AND make it fun. Don’t just do one or the other. Do them BOTH.
I hope this post encourages you and helps you to feel a little more normal. Any thoughts, comments, or questions? I’m happy to (& would love to!) keep this conversation going down in the comments. Let me know if you relate to this post or simply appreciate my sharing – I appreciate hearing this from you!
I hope that me, sharing my story and getting vulnerable is incredibly helpful & comforting for you!