We need a cultural overhaul when it comes to the topic of engagements, fear, and doubt. It's time we understand that getting married is a significant life transition, and transitions -- even positive ones like a new job or having a baby -- are accompanied by a host of uncomfortable emotions as we leave behind the familiar lifestyle and identity and step into something new and unfamiliar. It's normal to grieve the end of being single. It's normal to be scared of the unknown of marriage. It's normal to place your relationship under a microscope to make sure you have what it takes to begin marriage on the best possible footing. What I've seen thousands of times over the 14 years that I've been doing this work is that the more someone is willing to explore the "darker" feelings of grief, fear, anxiety, confusion, vulnerability, and feeling of control -- in other words, the feelings that we don't typically associate with being engaged -- the more peaceful, clear, and joyous they feel on their wedding day and during their first months of marriage.
If you're anxiously engaged, you're one of the lucky ones. I know you might be in the trenches of misery right now, but if you take the conscious approach and address your fears, grief and anxiety now, you'll arrive on your wedding day feeling present and ready to begin your marriage on a healthy foundation. If, on the other hand, you distract from the uncomfortable feelings by running full force into planning a "perfect" wedding and thereby turning into the dreaded bridezilla, you'll feel like a zombie on your wedding day and will likely fall into post-bridal depression. It's a cardinal rule of transitions: what isn't addressed on the front end will make itself known in unpleasant ways on the other side. Take heart and find your courage to attend to the uncomfortable feelings now. It's not easy, but the gifts of clarity and serenity will be worth it.