I recently finished reading a brilliant and life-altering book by Allison Moir-Smith, entitled Emotionally Engaged: A Bride’s Guide to Surviving the “Happiest” Time of Her Life.
I stumbled upon the book in the wedding planning section of my local library. Yes, I’ll admit, I was trolling titles such as 1001 Creative Ideas for A Wedding and How to Have Your Dream Wedding on a Budget in an attempt to find a way to enjoy being engaged, when I came across a book that actually had an answer for what I was feeling.
Allison Moir-Smith is a hero. She has done what millions of women have been too chicken to do: admit that being engaged is not, by any stretch, the happiest time of your life. It’s exciting, yes. It’s a dream come true to marry your true love. But it’s also stressful. And you can feel sadness, hurt, anxiety, depression, and excitement all at the same time. Your life is changing, and no matter how much you love your husband-to-be, change is difficult. It’s confusing. And to top it all off, you’re simultaneously planning the biggest and most important party of your life.
In a world inundated with voices like TheKnot.com and Martha Stewart Weddings, Allison Moir-Smith is one of the few people acknowledging the fact that only 12% of brides feel nothing but happiness and rainbows during engagement. That’s a huge deal! Every single relationship in your life is changing. Your relationship with your parents is changing, as your primary family loyalty is shifting from them to your fiancé. Your relationship with your fiancé is changing as you go from girlfriend to wife. Your relationships with your girlfriends change. Your relationship to yourself changes most of all. You’re undergoing the biggest transformation of your life to date, but everyone from your best friend to your bridal magazine expects you to be giddy with happiness 100% of the time. It’s no wonder the majority of brides are stressed!!
Reading this book, I realized that it is ok for me to feel sad about my changing identity. It’s ok to feel torn inside as I have Sunday dinner with my husband-to-be instead of my mom and dad. Not only is it ok to have these feelings, but it is extremely important that I let myself feel them. Just like grief, the only way to get through it is to feel it. Better to process your feelings as an engaged woman than to bottle it all up and unleash a “rain” of terror on your newlywed husband (pun intended; I’m a historian after all).
I’m so grateful that I found this book. Already I feel much happier. Now I know that yes, I can be sad about losing my primary identity as “daughter” and happy about becoming James’s wife, all at the same time. I’ve only just finished reading, but I feel much more hopeful about the remainder of my engagement. The next 8 months leading up to my wedding day will, hopefully, have more meaning for me as I work to form my new identity. And of course, I’ll always be Connie Ann.For more information about Allison Moir-Smith and her book, please click here.