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Dive into your relationship when you're engaged

By: Kim Cramer, Associate Planner

Working on your relationship during engagement season—it seems like a given, right? I think we all have heard the infamous words: marriage takes work. Well, I am here to say that all relationships take work, even in blissful engagement season. You can start that work now!

From my own experience, I know that while being engaged with all the planning and checklists, remembering your partner and their needs can be difficult. Sometimes we get so busy that we are not necessarily forgetting the other person involved but are focusing on the goal of walking down the aisle rather than working on the relationship during a pivotal, very quick season of life.

Reality has changed quite a bit this year. Couples have had to move their wedding date, find alternative solutions like eloping, and canceling their wedding until further notice (and even all together). Just typing it make me want to cry. It has been a STRESSFUL season.

In order to help you during this time, I have come up with a couple of things to help slow you down, think about your partner and connect.

1. I want you to pause and think about your partner and answer these questions.

What do you like about them?

What do you l

ove about them?

When was the last time you both just had a conversation with no phones and distractions? What are some compromises you want to work through (before and during marriage)?

2. Think about your feelings and how to express it to your partner. Sometimes when we are so overwhelmed with what is going on in the world, we internalize it and forget to tell our partner. Som

etimes we blow up at our significant other and it has nothing to do with them.

My husband and I have a random, special word we came up with to signal the need of temporary space (physically and mentally). We use the word “squash” (told you it was random). It clues us in on how the other person is feeling and when that alone time matters. This helps me when we were stressed before our wedding and continues to help us in marriage. We pause and refocus on the issue at hand, rather than arguing over something minor. Sometimes, you have to hear your own thoughts before having the ability of engaging or letting your partner in on what’s troubling you when you may need to process it in yourself. Having the hard conversation in the end turns out better than you expected.

3. SHARE. Dive in! Put phones away, keep your dog or cat (maybe a bird) close by/in between the two of you, and just start talking. It may seem quirky at first and you have probably rolled your eyes by now, but sometimes the quirky, awkward moments gets the ball rolling and ultimately gets you connected.

4. Quality Time. Pull out a new game. Make a meal together; maybe their favorite (and not necessarily yours). Show them you care and are paying attention to the little things. Do they like their jeans folded a certain way? Or prefer a specific fork from their pasta? The little things sometimes become the biggest things. And, if they do this for you, comment on it, say thank you, and show your appreciation. Recognition goes a long way.

5. Go down memory lane. Recreate your first date regardless of when it was. Go back to that old bowling alley from high school, or dinner and a movie, perhaps put-put golf. You could recreate your favorite date and then have your partner recreate theirs next time. Mine? It would be a cute little picnic table set up at the park complete with a tablecloth, electric votives, flowers in the center, with nice plates and we would have Taco Bell. Hey, that was all him guys. You recreated a moment that stuck out in your mind. You remember the spark (the best feeling in the world)!

6. Get creative. Remember writing notes to the boys/girls you liked in Middle School? Do that! (Check below for yes or no). The key is to throw them off guard and have them be reminded of you. Because no matter how busy we get, we have tendencies to start dwelling on what is bad instead of what is good. You both have gotten this far regardless of what state the world is in right now, and that is something to be proud of. Marriage is your goal, and working towards it NOW will be beneficial to both of you.

Checking in, sometimes “squash”-ing out, and surprising your favorite person can really help with the stressors that have been coming at us lately. Learn about their Love Language by Gary Chapman, or find out their Ennegram here and see how they need and want to be loved. There is never a finish line, only goals and a destination.

Photo by: Hillary Shedd

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