If you’re new here, I recently got engaged in December 2020 and being engaged has been revealing A LOT of lessons to me. Now the points in this blog post are definitely subjective and based on my own experience, so I want to set the record straight that not every woman will feel like this or have this experience.
But here are some lessons that I’ve been processing over the last few months and they are lessons that no one really told me. So here are 5 things they don’t tell you when you get engaged!
1. The proposal won’t feel like the movies, no matter how romantic it is.
I had an amazing proposal and don’t want you to get the wrong idea, but I quickly realized after the proposal that it was nothing like the movies. I guess I was expecting to have some panoramic camera flying around me and the wind blowing through my hair while I’m sobbing uncontrollably because I’m so in love. Yes, I know I’m dramatic LOL.
But I realized in that moment that my life was not a rom-com movie and that I was an actual human being living on planet earth. Who would have thought? LOL But it’s not that the proposal wasn’t good. It’s just that it was very different than what I expected.
Keith was VERY intentional about making that moment special. But I realized as I was picking up fake rose petals off the ground after the proposal (because we weren’t allowed to leave them since they were fake) that there are parts that the movies and fairytales don’t show. They don’t show what happens immediately after the proposal and they can cut out parts that don’t fit the scene so they can build a sense of fantasy.
In fact, when we posted our proposal photo announcing our engagement, I thought the pictures looked better than how the moment actually felt. Again, the moment was so special! But as I was literally looking at this photo of Keith on one knee, all I could remember is that how I felt in the moment didn’t match how the photo looked. I was living the reality, but through pictures and social media, people were living the fantasy.
2. Your life is over.
Something else that people won’t tell you when you get engaged is that your life is practically over (in the best way of course). Growing up in church, I always heard the famous line that you have to prepare to become a wife before becoming a wife, but I don’t think I understood what that really meant until I got engaged.
When you get engaged, you are making an internal decision that you are preparing to commit your life to another person. It’s not just sleepovers with your best friend. There is more than just traveling the world with your partner. It’s not just romantic dates on a Friday night and dance parties in the kitchen.
It also involves the selflessness of choosing someone other than yourself and denying yourself as an act of love towards your spouse. I know that sounds great in theory and it’s something we all want, but it’s a lot more difficult in practice. So when I got engaged, it started to hit me that my life would be extremely different.
And it wasn’t in the big moments, it’ was the little ones. You know? Like I would have to consider my husband before taking on more commitments. I would have to ask about his availability before scheduling appointments for us together.
I would need to think about him before paying for large expenses. I would need to offer my time and support on projects he was working on in a way that I didn’t have to when we were dating. I would need to pray for him in a different capacity and I would have to be open to his parents staying over just as much as I would with my own parents.
Personally, coming to grips with that was a lot to take in for me. Having my own routine and way of doing things, I realized that settling into married life would be an adjustment.
3. You’ll still feel like a 12 year-old girl.
Even as I’m writing this, I still can’t believe that I’m old enough to get married. I can’t even imagine people who get married when they are 18. If this is you, serious kudos! I mean when I was in 5th grade, I always said I wanted to be married by 25 but at the time of this blog post, I’m turning 27 this year and the idea of me getting married is slightly shocking.
Like how in the world am I old enough to be marrying someone? I still feel like a 12-year-old girl. If I can be completely honest, there are times when I still feel shy to call this man my fiancé. It’s not because I don’t want to shout it from the rooftops, but there’s that part of me that still sees myself as the middle-schooler wearing high-water pants and scared to talk to the cute boy whose locker was right next to mine!
4. You’re never really ready.
I mean you would think I was ready for all of this after dating Keith for four and a half years. If I can keep it one-hunnit with you, I practically gave him an ultimatum to propose. I told him I was not going into 2021 without a ring, and I was definitely not planning to stay with him past 5 years.
I know it sounds crazy, but I knew (or I thought I knew) what I wanted. Even being engaged now, there are still moments when I realize that I’m about to be someone’s whole wife!
And even though I thought I was ready, now that I’m here, I realize that I was never really ready.
Throughout this season, I’ve been asking myself questions I’ve never really asked myself. Will I be a good wife? How will I know how to take care of my husband and my family? Should I be ready to have kids soon? Will we have a good sex life? Will my husband be attracted to me 10 years from now?
Prior to engagement, my answer was 100% yes to all these questions, but now that I have a ring on my finger and I’m faced with this looming next chapter, I’m sitting here like … oh, this is really happening! LOL
This is one of the primary reasons why I’m so grateful for the season of engagement. I know engagements are a man-made idea, but God in His faithfulness and grace has been using this time to prepare my heart, mind, soul, and body for marriage.
As much as I’m excited to marry Keith, I am in no rush to rush the process. I don’t care what anyone says. The season of engagement is so beautiful and it is a blessing. For someone like me, I personally need time to adjust to the idea of having a new life as a married woman. So I am enjoying this time of being caught in the in-between and in the wait of being committed to someone without the responsibilities yet.
5. It feels like nothing has changed, but everything has changed when you get engaged.
The last lesson people don’t tell you when you get engaged is you will feel like nothing has changed. There are moments when Keith and I look at each other and we’ll literally say, “I can’t believe we’re engaged and getting married to each other.” We are both looking forward to our season of marriage, but there are still moments when we don’t feel engaged.
For example, if we’re hanging out or going on a date, the moment still feels the same as when we were dating. And to be honest, I think there is some beauty in that. It’s amazing that everything has changed. We are getting ready to start our lives together, but at the same time, the dynamic of our relationship remains the same.
We still share a deep emotional and spiritual intimacy with each other. We are each other’s best friends. We love to have fun with each other even if that’s just going to random coffee shops and getting our favorite chai lattes.
I can only anticipate that this is what marriage will feel like. I’m sure there will be moments when I’ll wake up and can’t believe I have a husband LOL. I’m sure there will be moments when I’ll look over at him and wonder how the heck I got to this point in my life. But there will also be moments when I’m grateful to have married my best friend. There will be moments when we’ll be laughing and being silly with each other in the same way when we were dating.
So yes, it’ll feel like nothing has changed, but the truth is, everything has changed at the same exact time.
So those are my lessons, and I hope you enjoyed reading about my season of engagement! Any married or engaged people out there? What was something you noticed during your engagement that no one told you about?
Share some advice in the comments for some aspiring fiancés. I’ll be reading too because I need all notes.
Signed, a soon-to-be wife!
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Hanha Parham is a Christian author and speaker. Her personal mission is to provide the millennial woman with fun and practical resources that help them confidently believe who God has called them to be. When she is not encouraging others or writing her heart out, she enjoys watching Grey’s Anatomy, drinking iced chai lattes from Starbucks, and connecting with friends on Instagram. Come say hi!