5 Things I’ve Learned Since Being Engaged

Getting engaged is one of the most life-changing experiences I’ve had short of being born and the McDonald’s Angus Mushroom Burger. Ok, it’s significantly more life-changing then that artery clogging beef steak. Yet I don’t come from a lineage of engaged men, in fact most weddings in my family sprung up quickly as if overnight, and I knew not of the many traditions, facets, and aspects of marriage. And I wound up kind of being shocked at how ignorant I was.

I got engaged about three weeks ago. These are five things I’ve learned.

1. No one takes you seriously about marriage until the ring is on the finger. 

Due to work circumstances we had our marriage date pretty well locked in stone, so for a long time I knew it was approaching. As far as getting people to believe I was actually going to marry the beautiful Emily. Well, that was another story.  

2. Weddings have a lot of customs, traditions, rules.

I know a ton about the aspects of marriage that are emphasized in Christianity, such as reading marriage books. Learning to love. Asking for advice. I read marriage books for years. I have never read a wedding book and now I am and currently trying to escape being absolutely ignorant about every other aspect of weddings. There are traditions and pay-scales and the joining of sands. A wedding has so many facets in American culture today that it’s almost exhausting to quell oneself of ignorance three months on. I knew hardly any of these real world facts until I started watching David Tutera and talking to Emily about weddings. There are a lot of important things that need to be decided on and understood. So don’t be ignorant, quell your ignorance and start reading now, pick up a book and learn what weddings are like!

3. You need a minimum of six months to prevent ulcers and mental breakdowns.

I grew up with the assumption six months was a terribly long engagement. I don’t know how I came to this conclusion but I think in the back of my head, it seemed like TWO forevers plus one. It should take like… a couple months to throw together a shindig right? The truth is more that the wedding culture has gone from the “Everyone has mustaches with a turquoise tie.” to “I need a hipster-vintage-pinterest quality wedding that is unique.” Things such as venues and wedding dress alterations need to be prepared six months in advance on average. Weddings take a lot of time and preparation. This seemed really strange to me as I am accustomed to flying by the seat of my pants. I learned that wedding invitations are not the same as announcements and Save-The-Dates. These are all separate entities. And you cannot send them really quickly.  

4. As a guy you have to make a lot of decisions that matter a lot to your fiancé without the same internal feelings driving you.

Studies have shown that emotional cues play a huge part in decision making (Like in this video). Most of us have strong emotional cues to our favorite sports team, or our favorite restaurant. We don’t realize how emotions are actually a huge driving force in our everyday decision making. Now take something you are not remotely passionate about and try to make critical financial decisions. For example asking a guy to buy a wedding ring can be similar to asking our significant other to walk into the nearest Video Game store, spend two thousand dollars on something that they will like and carry with them for the rest of life. Without any knowledge of Video Games or emotional cues, it may become a frustrating and stressful situation. Preparing for a wedding is really hard when it comes to making decisions some days because I know it matters immensely to Emily what we decide but I have no internal emotional cues to guide the process of what color a dress should be in relation to my shoes. Have hope though! It’s a good time to quell yourself of ignorance now before the big day so that you can be a valuable asset in the wedding. In English this means, dude bro, just cave and use pinterest a little.

5. You kind of see the different ways in which you need to grow up. 

I knew long ago I would have to provide for someone someday. Yet the moment that ring arrived it was as if something switched. Last week I read an entire finance book for fun. That is not my normal way of life. Yet, you choose the life you live, and the joy of marrying Emily is so worth the transition from being a “sleep on a strangers couch” Bachelor to a married man. If you fight that transition it will be a huge burden and you just end up looking butt hurt. Instead there are some really cool aspects about growing into a person who provides such smoothing off the rough edges of your character. Mine sometimes feel like they are Diamond edges but I’m getting there. The transition is a lot easier if you have fun with it, enjoy it, and dive right into the adventure. And I find myself loving finances when before I honestly could have cared less because if I study them, I love Emily better and can make her life freaking awesome.

-Jake

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