Engaged, but not ready for Marriage? – Part 2

Oh my, the engaged life! From frothy dance parties in your honor, to lavish dresses and night outs as a legitimate excuse to the life you are about to embark upon. But hey, every love story has that sour moment hidden within. Shouting match over the wedding guest lists, calling each other’s family names and swearing at each other in in the bridal registry.

Planning the event provides a great opportunity to test drive your relationship for the future. At the same time, it is vital to recognize this is one time both of you want to turn up the best image of yourself possible, so there could be differences which are hotly debated and trigger bigger fights.

In the second part of our discussion, we cover the aspects which are more human, and deal with people skills and personnel, rather than material things and associated monetary value.

  1. Family – Try as you may to ignore, the fact remains that engagement or any earlier phase of the relationship is about you two. Marriage is however much more about connecting and accepting each other’s families, relatives and friends. See a licensed counsel if you think there are issues regarding fairness of monetary engagements, value and ethics associated with the families. It is obvious that the guest lists being longer would come up as a point of conflict, as would the fact that they are contributing to the wedding or not. Ultimately, it’s you both who have to live together but families are important (and unavoidable). If you’re open to suggestions then gently convey each other what you consider a fair involvement.
  2. Wedding vanity – Let’s accept it; wedding is that one day the bride wants to look like the most beautiful creature around. But what often stumps the grooms is the transition from detail-oriented to a bonafide ‘Bridezilla’. Grow up! Drop the act and see what your man isn’t saying in as many words. If the wedding day shebang is getting more important than the relationship and the life after marriage itself, it may be time to do a double-take. Besides, your partner might be wondering already if this wedding day eyeliner-obsessed you is the same person he loved watching a game with a beer in hand.
  3. Past Relationships – You want to invite your ex-boyfriend, he hates the mere mention of it. Or he wants to have his ex over, and you can’t care if she’s six feet under. If either of you are jealous or possessive (or worse, insecure) in the presence of the other person maybe it isn’t the right relationship to seal with a marriage anyway. Being petty wouldn’t help. Instead, maybe see if you can get them involved. You never know how you may even become friends or share the same pet peeves about the person who you’ve known as a partner. Share your discomfort, but also see through the fact that you both are past that point. You chose each other!
  4. Religion or Political Affiliations – Among the silliest things which could strain a relationship are the aspects of religion or political choices which are poles opposite. Politics is probably still something to do with personal ideologies, though it may well be something passed down from generations of family affiliations. But don’t turn it into a “does he even get me?” discussion. Religion, traditions and their impact on marital rituals could be a sensitive thing. Make an effort to understand the cross-cultural differences. This might be a wonderful chance for both of you to find new aspects to respect and discover new dimensions of faith which you never knew.
  5. Friends  – Friends could be assets during a good wedding. They selflessly put in the long hours helping you prepare the event; they plan surprises and even take away all the logistic headaches of planning and organizing resources so you can focus on what’s important. But then there are friends who are there to get you drunk (or get drunk themselves), rake up old incidents about past relationships, reveal embarrassing stories and generally make you wonder if you’re getting hitched to the right person. Stay clear; if you already know a potentially aggravating personality, try to talk your partner out of inviting the person or at least get him in a company of your relatives and sane cousins of same gender so it doesn’t go out of hand.

Every marriage involves a huge gathering of several different kinds of personnel and personalities. Focus on keeping it neutral with respect to all parties than trying to keep everyone happy. You can’t! And know that the best marriages are built on exceptional people skills.

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