Thoughts For the Newly Engaged
Today we have a guest writer - my lovely husband, Garner - to tell us about being engaged from a guy's perspective.
This time last year I asked the woman of my dreams to be my wife. She said yes, and I was not only elated, but I was relieved! The nervous pit in my stomach that I’d had for the past three months was gone. I was relieved because the “production” of the engagement went (somewhat) according to plan and Paige says it was one of the best nights of her life.
Now when I say production, those of you who have recently been engaged know what I mean. I organized a specific venue, came up with an elaborate story to get Paige to that spot, and even snuck our families to SF to help celebrate. I was in the clear, and I could relax for the next 8 months… my part in this process was done! Woohoo (cue R. Kelly I believe I can fly).
But I could not have been more wrong.
I had a few celebratory beers with my friends that week. They convinced me that most women have their weddings planned since age five. I wouldn’t have a say in anything even if I helped. So I decided the best thing to do would be to stay out of Paige’s way and help when called.
The very next weekend I faced reality when we canceled a beach getaway to go check out wedding venues. Not just one or two, but 7 different tours! We drove all over the Bay Area and finished disappointed, exhausted, and worst of all - hangry.
We began arguing the next several weeks. I didn’t understand why she was so upset with me. We hadn’t fought this much in our entire four years of dating, but for some reason the happiest time in our lives was, at that point, a big headache. I later understood that my perspective was all wrong. Paige felt an enormous amount of pressure in planning (especially since she decided not to hire a wedding planner) and I remained focused on my job, working out, meal-prepping, etc. instead of on our combined task. She felt I wasn't doing my share of the work, and told me this was indeed a team effort... that she wanted it to be OUR wedding, not just hers.
I began sifting through my cheesy teamwork analogies, Instagram memes and dad jokes for #weddinginspo, but decided to open my Bible instead. Grabbing some wisdom from King Solomon was a much better idea (highly recommend the entirety of Ecclesiastes).
"Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
(Even better than a motivational meme.)
I started shifting my thought process toward Paige. I had to initiate this new idea of “us" stranded together. Not just prioritizing what I wanted, but stepping up and becoming her partner - instead of being told what to do, I started initiating tasks. While communicating openly with Paige, I started actively looking for videographers, cold-calling vendors, and interviewing potential bands.
Nineteen venues later, we found our spot. It was a complete God-send - someone canceled for our number one choice in venue (they still got married - just somewhere else) and we jumped to sign for it.
With the venue booked, the food tasting, wine selection and song choices became easier decisions for us. We also began our premarital counseling which spiritually set the pace for us going forward. Paige and I met three times with our pastor, Travis Clark, and his wife Jena. They encouraged us to learn more about our family behaviors, read Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas and to write letters of what it meant to love each other as Christ loves the church (and yes we cried while reading them) - (Ephesians 5:25).
Realizing WHY we were getting married helped with wedding planning and for us to see it as a project we were taking on together. From then on out the months flew by, and so did the wedding!
Just a bit of advice going forward for those newly engaged in today's world (things I wish I knew):
Gradually change your perspective to “our perspective”
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Stay organized, stay diligent, and stay present
Keep a flexible priority list
Celebrate each little victory
Enjoy creating a wedding that will capture BOTH your personalities, and each day stop, thank God for the woman of your dreams, and look forward to the best night of your life.
Special thanks to my in-laws, my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, my three new sisters, groomsmen, my pastor, and my WIFE.