Now that you’re engaged you might think all of the silly fights and arguments you and your significant other had when you were dating will simply fade into the wind—after all, what’s there to fight about when you’ve got a wedding to plan? As it turns out, quite a lot. In fact, it’s not uncommon for engaged couples to fight even more than they did during their pre-engagement days—and you’ll find that the common fights couples have are pretty similar. “Wedding planning brings a lot of stress and anxiety up for engaged couples as they struggle with the details and demands of how they want their wedding to unfold,” explains David Klow, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Chicago, owner of Skylight Counseling Center and instructor at Northwestern University and Adler University and author of You Are Not Crazy. “Especially when they have different visions of what they want their big day to look like, there can be clashes and arguments.”
Even when couples agree on the planning details surrounding their upcoming nuptials, other issues come to the forefront, namely their impending future life together. Here are some of the most common fights couples have—and how to resolve them without a hitch.
When to start spreading the news—and to whom
“Couples often tell people they’re engaged at different times, since each person has their own fears and worries about what the world will say, even though it’s a very exciting and happy moment,” says Katie Ziskind, LMFT and owner of Wisdom Within Counseling, in Niantic, Connecticut. “For instance, one partner might be really excited to tell their boss and their coworkers, while the other partner might be reluctant to tell their boss for fear that it might negatively affect their work environment.” She recommends that couples take their time when it comes to announcing their engagement—and to always tell immediate family members first.
How and when to wear the ring
You might be used to wearing jewelry on your finger, but your significant other may never have in his or her life! Or, if one of you lives a particularly active lifestyle, you may need to take the ring on and off frequently, which might mean you wear it less overall. Whatever you do, make sure that you get insurance on your engagement ring. Then, talk about a plan together to protect the ring. “It might mean leaving your engagement ring at home before you go to the gym so you don’t lose it—and if someone tries to hit on you at the gym, you may need to explain that you’re getting married,” says Ziskind. “Explain this process to your partner as well so they can feel confident with you walking around without wearing your ring while still being secure with in the engagement.”
While there are some perks to waiting until you get engaged to move in together, there are some definite downsides too—one being that it’s just another thing to get used to and transition into amidst wedding planning. “It’s common for the move-in to be stressful because it forces you to have to negotiate chores, cleanliness, devote, space, etc.,” says Paulette Sherman, Psy.D., psychologist, relationship expert and author of Dating from the Inside Out. “It can help to discuss all these things before you move in so you at least have a plan about how you’ll negotiate them.
The wedding details
After getting engaged, one of the most common fights couples have is about where and what type of wedding they will have—be it small or large, modern or traditional, in the city in which you live or the bride or groom’s hometown. “Even though your wedding is important for both of you, you may need to compromise to have a shared, and a beautiful celebration,” says Ziskind “Get creative and work together—that should be the bottom line.”
Navigating family members can often be troubling for engaged couples. “Learning how to integrate the emotions or demands of family members, especially now that this involves two sides, can be one of the first challenges that an engaged couple face,” explains Klow. “When planning their wedding, a couple often encounters how they will handle the reactions of family members, which can cause tension between the couple which sometimes overshadows the joys of planning a life together.” Setting clear boundaries with family members and being on the same page as a couple, he notes, can help with navigating these pressures and demands.
There’s a reason money issues are among the most common fights couples have—and the fights just might begin around the time you get engaged, especially since it plays a major role in planning your big day. “When you were merely dating, you might not have had to discuss money matters as intimately as when you are now as you consider how you might handle your finances as a married couple,” says Klow. “Figuring out one's values when it comes to finances, and having non-emotional conversations about money can help couples when they consider their fiscal life.”