It’s Not About Saving Face – Chapter 15 of It’s Not About the Wedding

Betrothal is another way of saying, “engaged to be married”.  Historically, betrothal was a literal, formal contract, blessed or officiated by a religious authority.  Betrothal was as binding as marriage, and a divorce was necessary to terminate it.  Betrothed couples were regarded legally as husband and wife – even before their wedding and physical union.  Modern day engagement is not betrothal.

In Chapter 2, I mentioned a now divorced friend who said to me, “Once the wedding plans start it’s like a runaway train.”  I can readily admit that in my first go ‘round, once I was engaged to be married, I began to feel slightly trapped, as if I was already married no matter what.  This is not a good thing.  As difficult as it sounds (and is), each of you has to have an understanding that everything up until “I do” is a trial run.  This is not a done deal.  You can back out.

One example that hits very close to home is my maternal grandparents, Harlan and Florence Snyder.  You see, when they met, Florence was engaged to someone else.  This was a long time ago, mind you, in the late 1930’s.  Still, she listened to and followed her heart, and broke off the engagement with Mr. Wrong.  I’m incredibly grateful that she did.  Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here.

I know more than one couple that was having big, big problems in the months, weeks, and days leading up to their weddings, and yet they went through with it.  Predictably, these marriages quickly failed.  One couple even knew that they would get an annulment after the wedding, but they couldn’t bear to face the embarrassment and expense of calling it off.  It was all a show, and no one knew it but the bride and groom.  I wonder if they kept the gifts?

A while back, a close friend was engaged to be married one October.  As he and I began to talk in more depth about the state of his relationship with his fiancée, I became very worried about the impending nuptials.  The things I was hearing reminded me of my own unsuccessful first marriage, and I feared that the aforementioned runaway train of wedding plans would overshadow the clear need for counseling and/or intervention.  I shared with this friend some text from what is now Chapter 2 of this book, and some of it really hit home.

A few weeks before it was to take place, the two of them wisely decided to postpone their wedding.  That was not an easy thing to do.  Invitations had been sent to all of their closest friends and family, many of whom had already booked their flights and hotel rooms.  Reservations and deposits had been made for all of the wedding details and services.  At this point, the “happy” couple had to send out new announcements indicating that they had decided to postpone the wedding.  They did so with all of the class and grace in the world.

While I’m certain that one or both of them thought the relationship might be over for good at this point, they eventually realized that it was worth their time, effort, and money to save it.  Several months of counseling brought them to “a completely different place” in their understanding of one another.  The next announcement they sent out said, “With great joy we have set a new wedding date.”  What a contrast to the uneasiness and uncertainty with which they were approaching their original wedding date.  Was it worth the embarrassment and expense of calling things off the first time?  Absolutely.  I was there to celebrate with them as they were married the following April, and that “great joy” was evident on their faces.

The choice is yours:  You can have an “uncomfortable” conversation or two before you tie the knot, or you can have many, many uncomfortable conversations in the years to come.  You obviously care for this person or you wouldn’t have gotten engaged in the first place.  It would seem as if you care enough to do this right or not at all.

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~ by suitenectar on September 27, 2010.

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