The engagement period, in many ways, is a return to the “honeymoon phase” of your relationship, where you feel euphorically in love with your partner in just about every way whether you’ve been together just a short few months or several years. You’re about to embark on a brand-new chapter together and being your lives as one family unit. After getting engaged, it’s of course important to celebrate this milestone, but it can also be beneficial to give a little extra TLC to the relationship. Lisa Marie Bobby, Ph.D., L.M.F.T., dating coach, founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling & Coaching, author of Exaholics and host of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast suggests spending the immediate post-engagement period reflecting about your future hopes and dreams and creating a shared vision that you then work as a team to build into existence. “If there are unresolved issues in the relationship, such as communication, conflict management, mistrust or insecurities, differences around important things like finances or priorities, now is the time to deal with those through high-quality premarital counseling,” she says.
While focusing on all of these areas will help foster your relationship and carry you through the engagement period, there are a few things you should avoid doing after getting engaged, according to relationship experts. Here are some worth taking note of.
Jump straight into wedding planning
Of course you’re excited to be engaged and perhaps even more excited to start planning your wedding. But it’s best not to leap right into the nitty gritty of it all, such as obligatory venue touring and cake tastings and photoshoots, right after getting engaged. “These things are all nice and fun, but they can also be big distractors from the relationship itself,” warns Dr. Bobby. “Frequently, relationship issues such as communication problems, differences in priorities, and differing values get swept under the rug until after the wedding making for a difficult first couple of years of marriage.”
Elicit opinions from family about important wedding things
Families can get really opinionated about wedding vendors, venues, and choices, which Paulette Sherman, Psy.D., psychologist, relationship expert and author of Dating from the Inside Out, warns can cause disputes. For this reason, she recommends putting off serious topics, especially those related to the wedding, for at least a month after getting engaged. “Otherwise, you risk missing the afterglow of engagement, which is fun!” she says. “If family and friends try to dole out their opinions, which they very well might, tell them there is plenty of time for all that, but that right now you are just focusing on being happy and on celebrating the engagement milestone.”
Focus on material things that don’t hold any real importance
“Don’t focus on how much your ring costs or start posting on social media how much your partner spent on you,” says Katie Ziskind, LMFT at Wisdom Within Counseling. “Money is just a symbol of the love and commitment that you to share—it certainly should not be a focal point of your engagement.” She also warns couples not to be rude, jealous, angry or focused on material possessions and to instead make sure that you continue to love both yourself and your partner throughout these positive changes in your life.
Stress over wedding planning
Stress can be inevitable when it comes to planning a wedding—there’s simply so much to do and not always with the amount of time desired to get it all done. However, Dr. Sherman urges newly engaged couples to slow down and remember to take care of themselves and their relationship. “You are spending your life with your true love and that’s what matters most,” she adds.
Neglect your relationship
The very reason you are getting married is because you’ve reached a point in your relationship where you’ve decided that you’re ready to start the next chapter in your lives together. Once the wedding is over, this new chapter will begin, and it won’t have anything to do with seating arrangements or whether or not you ordered enough appetizers. It will have to do with the two of you and how strong of a bond you share between you. Don’t forget to nurture your relationship throughout the planning stages by having weekly date nights and free conversations that don’t all surround your big day.