What I’ve Learned After Being Engaged for ONE YEAR

It’s hard to believe that, as of this past Tuesday, 4/4/23, I have been engaged for exactly one year!

I know, crazy, huh? Exactly one year ago, Steven asked me to marry him in the most beautiful, heartfelt, emotional and special way ever. (Starting with the fact that “4” is my favorite number, and so he asked me on 4/4).

He asked me at his parents’ home in New Jersey, and his entire family was there, including his late father. In fact, this was one of his last days on this earth, as he was in hospice at home after battling an aggressive form of cancer, and I just thank God and am so grateful that he was able to watch his son get engaged and be part of that special moment.

My entire family was there as well, albeit virtually. They had a front row seat on Zoom, and it just makes my heart swell thinking that everyone we love and care about was there with us on such an important day.

You can watch the video here:

And it’s been an entire year since that day.

I have definitely learned a lot since that day.

Sure, I’ve learned the ins-and-outs of “NFP” — aka Natural Family Planning. I’ve learned about the stress of moving across the country. And the growing pains of trying to establish yourself in a new city.

But I’ve also learned some things about relationships that I thought I’d share with anyone who may also be going through an engagement period, in a relationship, or just budding in a crush.

I've been engaged for exactly one year! And here's everything I've learned so far. Spoiler alert: the wedding is only ONE DAY. #wedding #engaged #engagement #bride #bridetobe #weddingplanning #WIL #advice #tips #love
  1. Respect must be at the root of every word, decision, and action you make towards your partner.
    • This is an underlying foundation that must be present so that all parties feel valued, seen and appreciated.
  2. Faith is a critical ingredient in a successful relationship. There is such joy to be found in worshipping together, and simply being in the presence of Jesus can heal a lot of things. That is the rock upon which your family is built.
  3. Communication is another foundation that must be solid. Now is the time to work on any unproductive communication styles or habits you may notice. Bad patterns are hard to break, so it’s best to work together to form new methods of communication.
  4. Same with conflict resolution. Look for the underlying theme when conflict arises over something seemingly “miniscule.” It’s usually not the dirty dish that you’re fighting over, but rather, the underlying need that is not being met.
  5. Wedding planning is stressful, but not enough to make yourself literally sick over. Speaking from someone with an autoimmune disease, I started getting an Ulcerative Colitis flare when pressure was being put on me about our invitations being late. It was out of my hands…the vendor told us one thing and then it took three weeks longer than expected. I had to protect my health, and just distance myself from all the criticism coming my way. Nothing is the end of the world. It’s just an invitation.
  6. At the end of the day, it’s just you, your spouse and Jesus. The wedding will be over. The honeymoon over. And it will just be you two. That is what needs to be your priority, even through all the planning and stress. Continue to date each other. Put quality time together on the calendar. Don’t neglect your relationship over your wedding prep list.
  7. It’s okay to cry. Don’t bottle up your stress until you burst. It’s not good for you, it’s not good for your partner. And it doesn’t help alleviate the situation by pretending it doesn’t exist, or it doesn’t bother you.
  8. This is the most beautiful time of your life. Enjoy every single moment.

That was a very weird list, I know. I’m in a weird headspace. Like I said…those late invitations have got me in a way, and it’s all I can do right now to keep from bawling my eyes out.

So. Keeping my head above the waves for now.

Have a wonderful Easter weekend, my friends.

Love, Caralyn

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23 responses to “What I’ve Learned After Being Engaged for ONE YEAR”

  1. These are not weird points, rather excellent pointers for a solid marriage, Caralyn. I absolutely love the photos of you guys! So sweet. 🥰🙏🏻❤️

  2. This is a great list! I am waiting to see wedding photos. I am so happy for you. I love the fact you recognize it’s just the two of you and Jesus! Sending best wished to you from Arizona.

  3. You are such a special person. Just think, you had such a mixed up opinion of yourself before, and now you are sharing such wise words. God bless you! Can’t wait for the wedding!

  4. In twenty years no one will remember or care about the stupid invitations. I have been married thirty two years and still feel weddings are overpriced unnecessary stress balls. It’s hard to even enjoy it when you are so busy trying to speak to everyone. It really is just you your spouse and Jesus. And no part of this is worth an UC flare. Rachel (aka endoscopy nurse)

  5. Yeah, what Rachel said! After 53 years, today I don’t remember what our invitations look like (being a man, ya know!)! But my wife has one or two tucked away in our wedding book. 🙂

    Every single point in your list is true.

    Allow me to add, it’s also okay to cry TOGETHER.

    Be anxious for nothing, but in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:5-7)

  6. Congratulations 🥳 You both look so happy and in love with one another. It’s nice to see 🤗 so will you be celebrating your anniversary of your first date, engagement along with your wedding anniversary? I’ve always thought the three dates are equally significant but here in the uk it is just the wedding anniversary that is celebrated?!

    I was engaged but it didn’t work out. I learnt a lot from the experience. Especially with the pressure it brought to the relationship. It’s fundamentally something that shouldn’t alter your relationship or anything like that but it’s a show of love and your happiness to your partner. Response to your happiness which your partner brings to your life. In the uk it seems to be a invitation for others to start being interested and involved in your relationship, volunteering for wedding planning and stuff. It’s not what I envisioned for it to be. Nevertheless, I can also surmise it as not being with the right person?! I learnt love will generate effort and respect but all the effort in the world won’t generate love. I’m just settling down to the moment I meet the person who is for me.
    You have met with yours and your smile speaks a thousand words. I bet you can’t wait to make some unbelievable memories together 👌
    Wishing you both a beautiful Easter 🐣

  7. Ephesians 5:22-32. Wives, submit to your husbands as to Christ. Husbands, make your love sacrificial as Christ sacrificed for the church. It’s no longer WIIFM – What’s In It For Me? It’s not WIIFY – What’s In It For You? Loyalty to the other instead of self is what strengthens the relationship. My wife and I saw a counselor for a long time after my illness last year – not to solve marital problems, but stress problems.

    Our therapist told us that she wished her other clients had the kind of marriage my wife and I have. It would solve so many of their problems. She enjoys her sessions with us, as it’s such a relief from the usual sessions. I told her she should pay us for helping her out, but that’s another story! 😊

  8. Only one mistake in this blog 😳: “This is the most beautiful time of your life. Enjoy every single moment.”
    After 32 years of marriage, you will find even the most beautiful moments of this time of your life are but distant memories and fading, as you and Steven keep Jesus at the center of your marriage. For as wonderful as this season seems, there really ARE better seasons ahead, as unbelievable as that may seem. 😎
    Such as:
    Being separated for a couple weeks and finding an ache in your heart that nothing and no one else can fill… until he/she comes back, and your “in-person” love is renewed.
    Standing in a room with a huge group and giving each other a look of understanding that does not even require words.
    Comforting each other when loved ones pass away; the strange sweetness of knowing we have not said “goodbye,” but only “see you later.”
    Sharing in the wedding of a wonderful daughter to a man who treats HER like a queen.
    Getting arthritic fingers rubbed to perfection while watching a movie together.
    Sharing with a visitor from another country why your love is so durable, because Jesus is at the center of it.
    Leading a longtime colleague and friend in prayer together to repent of sin and receive Jesus as her savior; repeat with another “brother” in his home; repeat as often as possible.
    And thousands of other “moments” when your love for each other will find depth and strength that will see you through the trying times of disagreements and differences that will in the end make your love for each other stronger, because you truly “know” each other, and the love flows anyway! 😉
    ❤️&🙏, c.a.

  9. I love this post!! Come back and read it a year from now. 🙃 Marriage, more than engagement, is a grand and epic venture! It is so beautiful to read your advice, and as a girl who has been married almost six years with three little ones…I’d love to share my heart! Also ITS BEEN LIKE TEN YEARS! Ten years I’ve been reading your life unfold and it is wonderful. 😭❤️

    Everything you wrote is absolutely legit. And, truly, communicate communicate communicate. Know your purpose as individuals and know your purpose as a couple and prioritize that. Friendships are great, hanging out is great, but ultimately you two are going to stand before Jesus someday.

    Don’t stop dreaming together! There is SO MUCH MORE TO COME! I am so excited for you to experience all there is in building a family together! But a couple who shares a dream and a vision can get over a lot more of the little stuff than a couple who is wrapped up in the details.

    Ultimately, you won’t remember much of your wedding. And if you do..it’ll be a fond memory. Our wedding began in tears and prayers, and ended in the dorkiest reception ever. (My mom convinced me in my stress that walking tacos would be an acceptable reception meal. Lol!! NOO! So tacky. 🤣🤣🤣) But we love it all. ❤️

    You are an amazing woman, and you continue to walk before the Lord with courage.

    • Hi Yael, thank you so much for such a beautiful note! You’re right – we are really going to try and soak up every moment of our wedding, so it doesn’t go by in the blink of an eye, like we’ve heard it does! and you’re right – sharing our faith together is such an important thing. so glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

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