Engagement: A Marriage Proposal in a Relationship before a Lifelong Commitment
Engagement is the time period from the time you say "Yes" to a proposal until the time you say "I do" at the alter. It is not just a breeze, but a journey. It should involve learning more about each other to make sure you are a compatible pair. Lifetime commitment is a very important decision and should not be taken lightly. 50% of marriages end in divorce, and the engagement period is the time to test the important aspects that make up a marriage. Amongst the items discussed below are compatibility, similarities and differences, the choice of having children, conflict resolution, compromising, appreciation for one another, resolving money issues, courtship, and improving each other without control.
The result of any journey, especially marriage, is not necessarily determined by its actions, but rather by the trials that were endured in the early stages. Engagement is one of the most intense and significant times in a love relationship. This period of time in a romantic relationship is usually misinterpreted as a time of only preparing for the wedding, reception, and honeymoon. Initially, these factors will be momentous. Ultimately, an engagement should be a time of understanding one’s mate and preparing for the precious unity of an endless marriage.
Compatibility is an important part of engagement. An engagement is a mutual promise or compact between two parties, by which they bind themselves together in order to marry. Honesty should be the first and foremost respected quality in the engagement and throughout the marriage. Dishonesty can hurt both partners. The further trust blooms, the stronger the commitment between two people emerges. Commitment means being fully present and emotionally available in a serious relationship. By mastering and utilizing trust and a strong commitment to each other, the couple can respectfully discuss decisions that help them communicate more productively.
People in a healthy relationship have respect for diversity and independence, but agree to travel a third path (the one between each other theirs) together as a symbol of mutual comfort and respect. This path should develop by achieving or nurturing each other’s similarities. It is important to have similar interests, the same moral and religious beliefs. If they do not have the same beliefs, they may be able to share their beliefs and persuade the other to change his or her beliefs.
Another important decision to be made before marriage is whether or not to have children. Parenthood is a larger decision than marriage. Parents have a huge responsibility of growing a child up. They have to practice physical, psychological, and social aspects as a parent. A couple needs to have the same viewpoints on raising children. Decisions such as these should be made during engagement to avoid conflict and confusion in marriage. It can cause a major difference to form between a couple, and fighting on a frequent basis may occur. A couple needs to be on the same page.
Parents must practice with their children:
Conflict, one of the negative aspects of any relationship, is usually caused by misinterpretation, confusion, or tension. After the newness of a relationship wears off, the unexpected problems may begin. A couple must examine the issues behind the problems to prevent them from constantly reoccurring or even escalating. The best solution is to limit the occasional expressions of anger to a particular behavior in question. By doing this, the partner will be more receptive to what is said on his or her behalf. Nothing is worth fighting over if it cannot somehow be changed. Power struggles, another potential problem, can be resolved by embracing your differences, leading to a balance between partners. However, being too much alike can lead to boredom. Overcoming these issues is essential in order to compromise.
In a love relationship, even the most discouraging messages can be communicated in an insensitive way. The motivation underlying the messages differentiates a situation from constructive criticism to destructive communication. It is best to promote change and meet each other’s emotional needs, than to hurt each other. Compromising is a difficult, yet satisfactory solution; an enthusiastic agreement is needed before a final decision is made between the couple. Marriage is the work of two imperfect craftsmen shaping their hopes, dreams, and aspirations together. Hopefully, they have learned how to mold their conflict into harmony. Compromising, though the ideal resolution, is difficult when one’s mate is firm on their opinion. Stubbornness can be avoided by resisting the temptation to fight back. It takes two to fight and argue. If one refrains from making hurtful and judgmental statements and tries to meet the other’s needs, the other usually calms down and does the same. This achievement of peace demonstrates maturity and improvement in the relationship. Growth is seen.
After learning to handle conflict, a couple should work toward strengthening each other as individuals. With marriage you either move towards victory or you move towards degrading each other. When degrading is escalated, divorces usually occur. One must appreciate their partner’s strengths, unique abilities, and contributions in order for progress to be made. This also means that a person should frequently communicate compliments to their mate. Communication is emotional intimacy, involving flattery and sentimental body language. A marriage begins to die when a couple refuses to communicate. By growing together and establishing practical communication skills, a couple prepares itself to face very difficult moments, such as financial issues.
Many different issues and situation regarding money can suddenly arise in marriage causing unexpected conflicts. It is good to discuss these possible situations before marriage. Current and future job changes, possible moves, major purchases, or an unexpected inheritance would change a marital lifestyle dramatically and should be examined to prevent future surprises. The average individual can adjust more easily to a higher rather than to a lower standard of living. It is difficult for someone of a luxurious level of living to adjust to a lower standard of living. The couple should learn to adjust to both income families and become accustomed to any new financial circumstances. A financial agreement is an important marital goal that will benefit and possibly bring prosperity to the marriage.
Courtship or the dating stage of a relationship serves as an essential purpose. It can and should provide the couple with a good look at what their future would be like. A good engagement provides a better understanding of one’s partner and prevents painful surprises when married. The engagement period forces adjustment difficulties to come out into the open. This is extremely important. It helps people from marrying someone who they could not possibly get along with. Dating is a difficult time of growth, because this is when couples begin to see the best and worst in each other. To find “the one,” a person must be rational and evaluate their expectations of marriage versus the expectations of their loved one. A happy marriage can only happen through a tremendous amount of work and love provided by both parties.
After establishing the basics of communication and compromising, a couple can examine their compatibility. Many people decide to remain together whether they are compatible or not. Usually, this is because they do not want to be alone and they have already invested time and energy into the relationship, and they don’t like sunk costs. These types of relationships usually end up in divorce court. If a couple does have compatibility, they need to be sure they are not controlling each other. An engagement should result in 3 examinations:
Making decisions together
Improving each other
Here is further reading you may enjoy on the subject.