Engagement is supposed to be a breeze - a time of dress shopping, parties and blissful love. It might take you by surprise if you and your honey are at each other's throats. The truth is that the engagement period is full of hot topics that are sure to trigger heated emotions. Psychotherapist and author Tina B. Tessina says that your engagement period and particularly planning your wedding together is a dry run. What you fight about will show you what problems you may have in your future marriage. It may be that you're simply both stressed, or perhaps your fights are signs of serious problems in your relationship. It's up to you to make the call.
When You're the Bridezilla
If you find yourself acting out and picking fights with your husband during your engagement, it's important to think about why. It's very likely that it's not about him but about you, according to psychotherapist Allison Moir-Smith. You may be mourning the loss of your single life, detachment from family members as you draw closer to your spouse-to-be or disappointment over the gulf between your fantasy engagement and reality. Moir-Smith recommends honoring your single life with a private ritual celebrating mementos of your singlehood and commemorating the passing of this time in your life. Draw a family map of all your family members including your fiancé and think about how your connections will change after you get married. Finally, write down all your expectations for your engagement -- this should help defuse them just by acknowledging their presence.
It's Not a Match
It's sadly possible that you and your fiancé just aren't right for each other, or are perhaps simply not ready to marry. Many runaway brides don't regret calling off the wedding -- they only regret not doing it sooner, according to Rachel Safier, author of "There Goes the Bride." Often, says Safier, people know what they need to do, but accepting the truth is much harder to do. To know for sure your truth, talk to people who are happily married and determine if your feelings are normal. It's also important to talk to your partner -- even though you're engaged, the conversation isn't finished. You still have the right to communicate doubts and fears. Write down your thoughts too, recommends Moir-Smith, and look at them later when you feel less emotional. If you're projecting an affair and other problems, then there's an issue. Also, tune in to any aches and pains, says Safier. If you're constantly sick or experiencing pain such as migraines, your body might be trying to tell you something is up. Just remember, it's better to call it quits now than later, no matter the expense and embarrassment.
You Can't Stop Fighting About the Wedding
Now that you're engaged, the expectation is that you'll plan the perfect wedding. It's no wonder that you and your fiancé can't stop butting heads with all that pressure, says Moir-Smith. The two of you may have different ideas of what exactly the ideal wedding is, which is going to reveal differences in taste and personality you never encountered in the dating phase. Plus, a wedding is a rite of passage and planning it is a time of self-discovery, transition and evolution. It's important to let yourself feel your emotions, mourn your single self and get ready to build a foundation for the future. Psychologist Dr. Patrick Gannon suggests taking a deeper look at conflicts, even if they're simply about the guest list or his level of involvement. There's likely to be hidden issues there. For example, it could mean you're sensitive to issues about balance or fairness. Or, perhaps one of you feels greater obligation to your parents. Skip the details and get to the heart of the matter.
You're Reevaluating Your Compatibility
You'd think that with the ring in hand the decision should be final. However, the engagement period often makes partners re-evaluate each other, perhaps with even closer scrutiny, says Moir-Smith. When you were simply a couple, the ideal of spending a life together might have been a bit hazy. Now that the future looks a lot clearer, you may both be looking at each other more critically, causing you both to bicker more. It's best to think of this process as a way to recommit to the marriage. If you analyze his or her attributes and your relationship and it all comes up good, you're once again saying to yourself that this is the person you want. If the answer is negative, you might need to think harder about your choice.
Alana Vye is a Canadian writer living abroad. She had a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Toronto and has worked in online marketing and publicity. She's also an avid traveler who has visited Asia, Europe and Central America.