Love, Sex

How To Get Closer Than Ever During Your Engagement (Without Wanting To Kill Each Other Before The Wedding)

Photo: Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
12 Things To Do As A Couple During Your Engagement To Deepen Intimacy Before Marriage

Yaayy — you’re engaged! The period of time from now until your wedding day really is a magical time.

Of course, you’ll be dealing with all the logistics of creating your special celebration, from finding the venue and deciding on your music to booking your caterer, photographer, and florist — and don’t forget picking out your wedding dress and fun little gifts for your bridal party!

Planning a wedding can feel pretty overwhelming, so you want to be extra careful not to lose sight of the reason you’re spending all this time and money on a single event, no matter how fabulous it’s going to be.

You’re marrying your sweetie — the love of your life!

Not only can the two of you keep your relationship front and center in the midst of the pre-wedding whirlwind, but there are things you can do together as a couple during that engagement period that will deepen your emotional intimacy before you embark on the unparalleled adventure of married life.

The key to making it through any intense time in one piece is to remember to practice what I call “radical self-care” on every level — mentally physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

RELATED: 7 Self-Care Practices To Help You Stay Sane On Your Wedding Day

Whether it’s a stressful change like a job transition or a fun one like planning a wedding, you can manage the inevitable ups and downs much better when you’re operating on all cylinders.

Doing that means making a dedicated commitment to maintaining your own mind/body/heart/spirit balance. And in this case, it’s equally important to get your partner on board with the idea of couples self-care as well.

You want to be sure you both arrive at your wedding fully energized and ready to enjoy every minute!

Here are four things to do as a couple during your engagement period to deepen physical and emotional intimacy in your relationship before marriage, using the four-pointed crown of self-care:

Stimulate your minds

1. Read a terrific relationship book together.

It may not seem very romantic but it can really put you on the same page (pun intended) when it comes to creating a shared vision for your marriage.

Marriage counselor Dr. John Gottman’s classic book, “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” is a perfect place to start.

Assign yourselves a chapter each week with an agreement to really do the exercises, and find a regular time to talk about it. This will serve you for the rest of your marriage.

2. If you like a little more structure, take a communication or relationship class at a local YMCA or community center.

If you’re up for going deeper, check out the couples workshops or retreats offered by the Gottman Institute and/or by practitioners trained in Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt's Imago Relationship Therapy method.

Doing your own couples work is powerful, and hearing other couples’ experiences is really helpful, too.

3. Make some lists!

Brainstorm together about everything from the kinds of vacations you want to take to all the annoying projects you want to complete around the house (though not necessarily before the wedding!).

Getting all of those thoughts out of your head and onto paper is the first step to making them happen.

RELATED: The 50 Best Marriage Tips Of All Time From 50 Marriage Experts

Nurture your bodies

4. Schedule regular couples’ massages and give each other foot rubs.

When we think of self-care, it’s usually connected with some yummy way we can take care of our bodies.

Definitely do some of your favorites on your own, but also plan on sharing the love with each other. Then let it evolve into some sensuous engagement love-making!

5. Plan a work-out routine together.

You both want to look and feel your best for your big day, so why not use each other as your loving (not nagging!) motivator?

Pick something you can both get behind.

Maybe you’re a runner and your partner is a gym rat. Take turns doing your respective favorites, or you could also take a class together in something new for both of you, like yoga, Pilates, or Zumba.

6. Take regular walks together.

This is actually a multi-purpose self-care activity. Yes, it’s great physical exercise, but it’s also a wonderful way to clear your minds and re-connect at the end of the day.

Mix it up with some brisk striding and some leisurely meandering when you can hold hands and be lovey-dovey.

RELATED: 5 Beautiful Wedding Ideas & Rituals That Are Spiritual, But Not Religious

Soothe your hearts

7. Write love letters to each other.

This is definitely a lost art! In addition to actually saying what you love about your wonderful fiancé, reminisce about how you met and some of the favorite experiences you’ve shared together.

This can also be great prep if you’re writing your own vows for your wedding ceremony.

Then, read your letters to each other and get ready for some more fun engagement sex!

(Are you seeing the theme here ...?)

8. Share something that you appreciate about your partner at least once a day.

This one is sort of like a verbal mini-love letter. Get creative.

Send a random text in the middle of the afternoon, leave a voicemail when you know they can’t pick up, or just greet them with appreciation when you meet up at home and watch them light up.

9. Start and end each day with big, heartfelt bear hugs, heart-to-heart.

The heart-to-heart bit is the really intentional part. Most of us lean to the left when we hug, but if you stay to the right, your hearts will literally be touching.

Just be sure to holler, “Heart-to-heart!” when you head in, otherwise you’ll bump noses!

RELATED: 5 Magical, Meaningful Honeymoon Rituals To Start Your Marriage Off Right

Re-connect with spirit

10. Make your home a sacred space.

You don’t have to be big meditators to infuse spirit into your life.

One of the key components in creating a soul-full environment is to activate all of your senses. Light some aromatherapy candles, play soft music, surround yourself with colors and images that comfort you, have yummy snacks and drinks on hand.

Then just snuggle up and touch each other ... A lot.

11. Play together, every day!

Life can get pretty intense when you’re planning a wedding, so make regular play dates.

Go to the movies, play miniature golf (non-competitively!), or actually take a trip to the nearest playground and zoom down the slide, climb the jungle gym, jump on the swings, and throw a Frisbee around.

The idea is to shift gears and re-connect with your inner child in the midst of all of the serious, grown-up wedding planning.

12. Be quiet together.

Just cuddling without an agenda can be very sweet and soul-nourishing.

Your engagement period could also be a good time to do some spiritual exploration. Take a meditation class together, visit a Buddhist center or ashram, or attend a kirtan (sacred chanting) event at a local yoga studio.

Even if you’re planning a traditional, religious wedding ceremony, exploring other traditions can be enlightening and bonding.

Creating an ongoing habit of nurturing your body, mind, heart and spirit during this busy engagement period begins with intention.

Add a little creativity, a pinch of love magic, and some spontaneous spice, and you have the recipe for maintaining a well-nourished relationship throughout your engagement.

Now imagine what might happen if you got your entire wedding team onboard — your parents, siblings, and wedding party — and they made that same commitment to re-connect with and re-energize their whole beings.

What an extraordinary power-grid of support you’d have on your wedding day!

RELATED: 10 Realistic Pieces Of Marriage Advice That Actually Work

Spiritual Life and Relationship Coach Deborah Roth is also an Interfaith Minister and has married hundreds of couples from different faiths, or simply those who are looking for something “spiritual but not religious”. To learn more about how you can create a unique, personalized wedding ceremony or plan for a really magical honeymoon, visit her website.