I have been engaged for three months now. No one told me what would happen after the engagement day; I’m wearing the engagement ring with so much excitement for the wedding! But at the same time, I feel so nervous. Being engaged takes me to the next chapter of life. And life, I believe, is a learning process. I have learned many things since I said “I do” when my fiance proposed me. I want to share seven of these:
When I was single, I wished I had a boyfriend. When I got a boyfriend, I started dreaming of a dream wedding, and marriage. Then my boyfriend proposed, and we got engaged. My dream wedding is soon to be real.
In the middle of admiring a wedding gown design I have made, and planning all the decorations for the venue, I realized I will not be holding the status of a single woman much longer. Once this engagement ring is replaced with a wedding ring, life will no longer be about me: nor my plans, nor my dreams. Life will become the story of us: our plans; our dreams.
A couple of days ago my friend asked me for advice about a solo camping trip. The conversation took me to the memory of when I enjoyed my life as a single woman. I traveled with no company. I enjoyed discovering nature or places on my own. I loved sitting at the cafe alone. In silence, I watched people from where I sat, and observed their behavior (this can be more fun than watching any movie!) I loved making goals and plans to do this and that. I made it happen at my own pace. Until now, I still manage my own money. I can buy this and that with no one complaining. Yes, this is about me, I have the right to do what I love at my own pace.
I know things won’t be the same after the wedding vows at the altar. I have to be ready to lose my freedom that I have currently, being single. Though Andrew and I agreed to give each other time to be alone sometimes to do our own hobbies, I know many things will change. Everything has to be discussed with Andrew, from making a plan, to money management; everything.
I asked myself; “Am I ready for this?”
2. Two are (sometimes) not better than one
It is written in Ecclesiastes 4:9 that two are better than one. In its context, this verse is well said. We all need someone to help us up when we fall, and working together will often produce better results. Yet building relationships requires skills to deal with characters. Two are not better than one, because when two people agree to walk together, they bring their ‘own way’ to the process, which often makes the journey become tougher.
In the first place, when Andrew and I decided to date, we reminded each other to expect difficulty. We both understood that we two are very different, especially when it comes to the culture in which we each grew up. For example, Andrew is quite straight forward in expressing what he likes and dislikes, while I tend to consider people’s feeling more than my own opinions. In the first months of dating him, I got the impression that Andrew was quite disrespectful. He interrupted me quite often when I said something. This was because, due to English being my second language and it requiring longer for me to think of the words to say, he would interpret these pauses as me having finished in what I was saying, whereas I still had much to say. Another example; washing the dishes. Andrew has no dishwasher at the moment, but thank God, both Andrew and I are good at doing this job. Apparently his way is not good enough for me, and vice-versa. Andrew takes a very long time to wash the dishes even though we only have a few dirty plates, cups and cutlery on the sink. For me, he just doesn’t know how to wash the dishes efficiently. I always wash the dishes in order: glasses, cutlery, plates, and other pots will follow. While I wash the glasses and other small cutlery, the giant pots with stubborn food dirt get soaked. I find this way very efficient. But Andrew washes anything that his eye catches first. Somehow it takes more time like seriously… is he gonna spend the whole evening washing the dishes while I am waiting for him to watch a film together in the sitting room? Erghh!!
Those are two of many differences we have, which can often upset us. In this case, I learned that two is not better than one. Like washing the dishes, I prefer my own way; it saves time. Being engaged makes this point becomes stronger. And what will happen after the wedding? Should I give up my ways and follow his, or he is the one who should follow my ways of doing things?
Soon life is not about my ways or his ways, but it is about our ways.
4. Staying pure is staying pure. No compromise!
Before Andrew and I decided to date, Andrew told me a very good point: sex for marriage. I couldn’t agree more with that. We set boundaries between us and keep reminding each others.
I want to be honest with you, since I started wearing the engagement ring, I realize that staying pure becomes more challenging. Yes, you are loved! Yes, you are wanted! Yes, you will be one with him! But you just got engaged, and not married yet. Don’t let your heart and mind being manipulated by ‘Oh, I’m almost married!’ Then the idea of being in marriage kick on. However, being engaged is not being married. Staying pure is staying pure. Wait until the wedding night for sex. No compromise!
I have been so excited preparing my wedding day. So many things are listed on my to-do list, and it overwhelms me. I set my weekly planner to do wedding DIY: from Invitation letters, flowers, muffin toppers, and else. I want this day becomes very special for Andrew and myself! I have to make sure nothing get wrong on my wedding day. Oh dear, I forgot a thing which is more important than the wedding itself: the marriage.
Once the wedding day has finished, I will enter my new life in marriage for the rest of my life. How could I concern more to ‘one-day event’ than ‘something that last forever’? So, I stopped being busy making a list for the wedding. I discussed with Andrew about the marriage we are going to build, and we are going to meet married couples from the church to share and learn from them.
I have never felt like needing my Mum and Dad like now. I am engaged, but having little knowledge about marriage makes me nervous. The first things that came to mind when I got overwhelmed with this wedding-marriage thing are Mum and Dad.
I wish I could just come to Mum and Dad and ask what to do, but distance and time difference make it difficult. I still can contact them via email or chat, but somehow it is not enough. I want them here to support me. Oh dear, yes… Mum, Dad, I need you the most!