Young couples are often interested in such a romantic, but not completely understandable word for them as “engagement”. Someone has associations with the ancient customs of their ancestors. Others see it as a beautiful western tradition that is all the rage right now. But what is an engagement, really? What features does it have in everyday, public and even legal spheres? Can you name its benefits? When is getting engaged not the best idea?
What is an engagement?
An engagement is an official announcement of the intention of the partners to marry and the subsequent period of preparation for the wedding. After betrothal (another name for engagement), the man becomes the groom and the woman the bride. Views on exactly when a couple can call themselves engaged differ.
However, there are 3 most common points of view:
- from the date of submission of the application to the registry office;
- after a formal offer and a positive response;
- after announcing your choice to your parents.
Sometimes the engagement is considered the day of the arrival of matchmakers – relatives or friends of the guy. The parents of the couple get to know each other, agree to the marriage of their children. After that, everyone sits down at the table and celebrates a joyful event in a family way. This tradition is gradually becoming a thing of the past, more common among residents of villages or small towns.
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The duration of the engagement.
The period from engagement to wedding varies from couple to couple, ranging from a few weeks to many years. If desired, future newlyweds immediately announce the exact or at least approximate date of the wedding, but it is also considered normal that they do not plan to marry at all in the near future.
An obligatory attribute of such a ceremony is a wedding ring, which the groom gives to the bride as a sign of mutual feelings, a common agreement to bind their destinies. According to ancient traditions, the future wife keeps this gift, eventually passes it on to her daughter or daughter-in-law. Proponents of this custom argue that the ring subsequently becomes a personal amulet of the girl herself, a talisman of all women in the family.
Engagement ring and wedding rings are different types of jewelry. Some ladies prefer to wear them at the same time after the wedding, more often on the ring finger of the right hand (in the West – on the left). Although on the very day of the wedding, the ring is usually removed.
Unlike a wedding ring, an engagement ring is usually adorned with precious or semi-precious stones. And each of them has its own symbolism, for example:
- turquoise – well-being, harmony, warmth of relationships;
- ruby – fiery passion, vivid emotions;
- diamond – the inviolability of feelings;
- onyx – care, family wealth;
- emerald – a talisman against negativity, conflicts.
Showing off the cost of such an accessory is a sign of bad taste, a solid reason for resentment. It is not the price that is important, but the symbolism.
Breaking the engagement.
In the event of a breakup, the couple must announce this to the closest relatives and friends. It ends just as publicly as it began.
The controversial issue is the decision to return the engagement ring or leave it to the bride. As a compromise, the problem is usually solved like this:
- if the initiator of the break was a girl, she is obliged to give the jewelry to the former groom;
- if the breakup was proposed by the guy, he leaves the ring to the bride as moral compensation.
The situation is somewhat different if the ring turned out to be a family heirloom. It is usually returned to the family anyway. Although these rules are not clearly fixed anywhere, therefore, in the end, each couple decides this issue in their own way.
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1. Checking feelings.
Betrothal allows you to test love with time, everyday life. The couple feels the seriousness of their relationship, often it is from this period that cohabitation begins. There are many joys ahead, positive emotions, but also tests for the strength of the future family.
Usually, immediately after the engagement, wedding planning begins, painstaking and difficult preparation for it. A previously friendly, calm, understanding couple may suddenly encounter serious conflicts or differences of interest at this stage. The number of guests, venue, style, entertainment, even the wedding menu can be controversial. Future spouses will have to try to settle them peacefully, although this will not be easy, given:
- haste. Even if the wedding is scheduled a year in advance, all the same, some details will have to be done quickly, right at the very last moment;
- pressure. “When is the wedding already there?”, “It’s time to have children”, “My second cousin also got married on that date, got divorced as a result, a bad day”, as well as other tactless phrases will make anyone nervous;
- parallel cases. Preparing for the event is a very difficult task, but no one has canceled work, study, and household chores. We’ll have to look for a balance, try to do everything, although there will not be much time.
This is the reason wedding planning agencies are so popular. However, if the lovers successfully pass all the tests, their bond will only grow stronger. In addition, this is a kind of “rehearsal” of the upcoming family life.
2. Recognition of the union.
The engagement makes the desire to marry public. Firstly, this is a serious step for the couple itself, another proof of serious intentions towards each other. Secondly, such a decision makes others perceive lovers differently, more seriously. The parents of the bride and groom accept new members into their families, get to know them betterYum. With close acquaintance, warm relations, already at this stage, the couple can call mother-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law moms and dads. Unless there are objections from both sides, of course.
Thirdly, this recognition imposes responsibility, because now both partners will be expected to “continue” their story. For example, if lovers begin to delay the wedding, they may soon feel discontent from relatives, their doubts about a serious approach to the engagement. Further, ridiculous rumors about discord will begin. And all because the number of people who want to eat free salads at the wedding will go off scale all the norms of decency.
3. Legal security.
The engagement itself has no legal basis. It is rather a tribute to traditions, a matter of personal tastes, and not an official event, like a marriage.
And yet there are a few “buts” that it is desirable to know about. They are about breaking the engagement. Many states have legalized the right to return gifts made in honor of the wedding, or to demand a reasonable monetary compensation. In addition, one of the partners undertakes to reimburse part of the costs of organizing the celebration that the other has incurred.
Everything is decided in court if one of the parties does not want to agree with the requirements. Of course, in order to get your money back legally, you will have to provide evidence – checks, receipts, powers of attorney and other official documents.
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4. New stage.
Going from a guy to a groom or from a girl to a bride means moving to a new level of relationship. This is proof that partners are growing together, moving towards the same goal, seeing each other as real allies. Relationships are perceived rather as a starting stage, when people just get to know each other, look closely, get used to each other, develop an opinion about each other, and then strengthen it. And betrothal is already a sign of confidence, a conscious choice, approval, serious views.
After such a ceremony, the realization of its significance, the lovers may begin a “honeymoon rehearsal”. This is a period of emotional take-off, when happiness from moving to a new level is overwhelmed by a wave, although it has not yet reached the registration of marriage. That is why for many couples, the chores in preparing for the wedding cause a joyful mood rather than heaviness, irritation.
1. Attempts to bind to yourself.
When a traditionally joyful bright event becomes a means of manipulation, pressure, one should not expect good things. Some get engaged to get a new lever of control. Any transgression of the partner is perceived with hostility, accompanied by the threat “If you (not) … (any desire of the abuser), then I will break off the engagement”, which causes fear in the victim. This fear makes you obey the manipulator, causes an acute sense of guilt, self-doubt.
A similar situation occurs if one of the couple is not sure of the fidelity of the other (not the fact that there are reasons for such suspicions), while he must leave somewhere. For example, a guy going to the army, or a girl going to study in another city, may arrange an engagement to bind a partner to herself, and not out of love.
2. Parent word.
The old custom of negotiating the future marriage of one’s children even at their unconscious age, without their consent, seems barbaric to modern times. And it is all the more terrible that such a tradition still operates in some communities. Parents promise to marry their children when they grow up, without even realizing the tragedy of such a decision.
This usually happens in very religious or dysfunctional families. Although sometimes everything is much more banal.
- Two women gather, one has a son, the other has a daughter, the same age as the guy.
- Start dreaming about what it would be likeaboutIt’s a good idea to marry the kids when they grow up.
- Children really grow up, find other partners in general.
- Mothers do not adequately perceive the choice of adult children, as they are morally determined to see their friend’s son/daughter as a son-in-law/daughter-in-law.
Why not an example of parental pressure? Engagement is the decision of lovers, not their relatives, acquaintances or even strangers.
If, already at the stage of the relationship, thoughts arose that the partner might not be suitable, you don’t want to bind your fate with him, then there is no point in getting engaged. Yes, this is a way to delay time, to sort out your feelings, to observe longer. However, this is all done in the relationship, not in the next stages.
After the engagement, the natural step is to get married, not to think about whether to stay with the person or break up with him. This is a time of clear certainty, not doubt. To agree to such a step, being unsure, means brazenly setting up a potential spouse. You do not want to break off relations, but there are hesitation? Then it is better to say everything directly, calmly state the reason for the (temporary) refusal, continuing to meet.
4. Hope for change.
“As soon as we announce our engagement, he will treat me better”, “If I propose to her, she will improve” – thoughts leading to bitter disappointment. Betrothal is a new stage of merger, intimacy, but it does not magically transform people. An engagement ring does not fix relationship problems, and hoping for it is like deceiving yourself, voluntarily dragging yourself into problems.
Whether a couple needs an engagement is an individual decision of the lovers. Someone can arrange it only for the sake of entertainment, the beauty of the ceremony. For others, it is a symbol of spiritual rapprochement, a strict but reliable promise. It is important to understand that by arranging the betrothal, making it public, the partners voluntarily assume responsibility to society, the law, and each other directly. At the same time, understanding such an obligation only strengthens feelings, makes the family stronger.
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