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Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Engagements: Long or Short

   On this date in 1935, my paternal grandparents were married after a five year engagement.  It was the Great Depression, so it took considerable time to save up the money for them to start a household separate from their parental homes.  Having known them, the furniture and appliances they would have considered essential would seem rather Spartan to us.
   Long engagements today are usually for different reasons.  In order to book a stylish venue on your preferred date, you need to book it 12 months or more in advance.  The couple wants to finish school first or buy a house first or live together first.  Sometimes couples become engaged without setting a wedding date because one partner is afraid to actually follow through.  It seems to me that maintaining the sense of anticipation until one’s wedding day is difficult to do when an engagement period exceeds a year.

   Long or short, the time before a wedding is more than just arranging for a one-day event that measures up to one’s dreams.  It is a key time for conversations about your plans for the future beyond the wedding and beginning to merge your different backgrounds into a new “us.” 
   Some valuable tools to accompany this journey include the following:
  • Meeting with the pastor who will marry you for "pre-marriage counselling."
  • Marriage Preparation Course by Alpha Ministries  This 5 session course offered in different settings across Canada gives practical advice for engaged couples and plenty of private talking time for each couple that attends.
  • Engaged Encounter.  This intense weekend of teaching and private discussion takes place.  Each Engaged Encounter includes Christian teaching about marriage from the slant of various denominations, from Catholic to Lutheran and Reformed. 
  • Read a book together.  I humbly suggest either Love for a Lifetime by Dr. James Dobson, which introduces some key topics for couples to consider, or Happily Ever After: A Real-Life Look at Your First Year of Marriage...and Beyond  by Toben and Joanne Heim. Each of its chapters closes with conversation starters. 

If you know someone at this stage of life, feel free to pass this on.

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