What They Don’t Tell You about Engagement: How to Find Beauty in the Chaos
Picture taken by the amazing Shelley Hartman
My eyes were met by his… so vast and blue I could’ve sworn I was looking into the ocean. He knelt on one knee, and my heart skipped a beat as I realized what this moment was holding - the moment all young girl’s dream of - the moment the love of my life decided to propose. My eyes widened, my heart pounded and my hands trembled. I gazed into his eyes in utter astonishment and said “Yes.”
Although this description of the story is absolutely true, I left out some less “glamorous” details. Along the trek to reach the designated proposal spot, I was bickering the whole time. I mean, my fiancé (Josh) decided to propose on July 4th (one of the hottest times of the year here in NC) in the middle of the day in the middle of a river-bed. Not only was the sun scorching hot, but the humidity was out of this world. By the time we reached the proposal spot, my hair had become a frizzy mess, and I was dripping in sweat. Let’s just say I was a hot mess. As Josh knelt down on one knee, he nearly dropped the ring into a plethora of little pebbles, but luckily he caught it. After saying yes, I was so excited, anxious and nervous that I couldn’t stop sweating. Literally. I was dripping in sweat, guys.
It wasn’t necessarily the proposal I had envisioned, but to me, it was perfect.
Every single messy, complex and “unglamorous” detail of our proposal brings a smile to my face. Why? Because it’s a part of our love story. It may not look perfect written out on paper, but all of those messy details makes it our own. Little did I know that this proposal filled with loads of unexpected, messy details would be the start of an engagement filled with moments very similar.
Like anything else in life, engagement is FULL of surprises - some beautiful and some painful. From the outside looking in, engagement seems so magical, perfect and blissful… We often enter engagement with the expectation that it will be all of these things, but engagement can actually hold some very imperfect, painful and hard moments too. It isn’t all bliss and happiness, and it’s so important that we share both the beauty and complexity. If we choose to share a fuller picture of our engagement, other people may not feel so alone in theirs.
Here’s three things I didn’t expect to feel going into engagement:
1| Immediately after the proposal, I felt the pressure to lose weight and tone up for the wedding day. Our society puts so much pressure on women having the perfect body, but this pressure is especially prevalent for brides. I remember battling these feelings for months. “I have eight months to lose 15 pounds. I’m running out of time. My stomach needs to be flatter. I need to get rid of my cellulite.”
2| The last thing I expected to feel during engagement was loneliness. I thought all of my friends would come together and help us with the big stuff, but that didn’t happen. I had a lot of expectations of other people that weren’t met… And some of that is totally my fault! Don’t get me wrong, I did have support, but at the same time, I felt so alone in certain moments.
3| I knew that I would be stressed, but man, I didn’t realize I would be THIS stressed. Josh and I had fights (yes, this does happen during engagement), we were on the hunt for a place to live, trying to figure out our budget, dealing with different family dynamics and building a business together. It was way more than we expected to say the least.
After going through all of this, here’s three pieces of advice I would’ve given myself going into engagement:
1| Your health is so much more valuable than the number on the scale.
Engagement is a stressful time, and the last thing we need to be worrying about is losing twenty pounds in a matter of months. Focus on enjoying and celebrating this time in your life. Be present, eat the donut if you want it and hit the gym when you have time. Don’t set strict schedules and diet goals for yourself - this is going to make you miserable. You will be celebrating with family and friends, and this is going to involve food. Enjoy it!
2| You can’t make everyone happy. It’s absolutely impossible.
In the act of trying to make everyone else happy, you’re going to lose yourself. You’re going to make yourself miserable, and you will lose sight of what’s really important to you. There’s a lot of transition happening during engagement and a lot of people with very different opinions. Let everyone have their own opinions, but make decisions based off of what you want. Shut out the noise and focus on what matters most to you. It’s the only way you’ll stay sane!
3| Find beauty in the chaos.
Engagement can be stressful, but at the same time, it is also very beautiful. It’s a very positive, celebratory and fun time in your life. So, don’t waste time focusing on the chaos, stress, anxiety and insecurity. Look for the beautiful moments, the simple things that make you happy and the people that make your heart well up with thankfulness. Focus on those things. Always, always, always acknowledge the beauty.
If you take one thing away from this conversation, know that engagement is filled with both chaos and beauty.
Like anything else in life, it isn’t perfect, but it is absolutely filled with wonder, beauty and so much love. The point of this post is not to scare you but to shed light on the truth behind what engagement is really like. You are not alone in feeling insecure, lonely or stressed. You are actually amongst really great company! Search for the beauty amongst the chaos and fix your eyes on it - there's so much to be thankful for!
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Have you experienced similar feelings during engagement? Do you have any thoughts on this topic? Share with us in the comments below!