Gentlemen Speak: Please Stop Telling Me How Hard It Is to Be Engaged

Planning a wedding is hard, but don’t lose sight of what’s important.
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Planning a wedding is hard, but don’t lose sight of what’s important.
relationships romance complaining about engagement engaged couples single friends

Photo Credit: Katie Ruther

I’m single. I’ve been single for longer than I’d like to admit on the Internet, and I don’t particularly like it. Don’t get me wrong, I love being the master of my own domain, chatting with girls on Bumble whenever I want and never missing a Twins game. But the truth is, I’d much prefer to have a companion in my life. Having someone who dominates my time and money, whose emotions may mysteriously fluctuate due to the time of the month, and around whom I’m never, ever allowed to pass gas actually sounds pretty appealing.

The way I see it, being single kind of sucks (especially when the Twins go on a losing streak). It sucks when I get asked by relatives why I can’t manage to find a girlfriend. (“Really? In a town of two million people? Nobody’s going to ever be good enough for you, are they?”) And it really sucks when I run out of matches on Bumble. (Really? In a town of two million people?) But it especially sucks when I have to hear from two lovebirds how much suffering planning their wedding has caused them.

Word on the street is that being engaged is something of a burden. A purgatory of sorts. It seems like engaged couples I talk to are all too eager to tell me, with a heavy sigh, how very difficult this whole preparing-for-the-big-day thing is. They’re also quick to point out that they were warned how hard it was going to be by someone else who had been there, done that.

Well, I’ve got something to say to all of you miserable engaged couples out there: Shush!

Here’s the thing, engaged couples of the world: If you are running into frustrating moments in those agonizingly long months between that oh-so-charming proposal and that picture-perfect wedding day, remember that there are plenty of us single people who would give our right eyes to be planning nuptials with the man or woman of our dreams—no matter how “hard” it may be.

I know what you’re thinking: “That’s easy for a single guy to say.” But let me tell you a little secret: I have been there, done that. I was engaged once, and it was hard. So hard, in fact, that we never made it to our wedding day. But suffice it to say that I know what it’s like to go through many of the trials and travails of planning a wedding and engaged life in general. But even though it was difficult, I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat (and I hope to).

In some ways, it has given me greater insight into what a gift it is to love somebody so much who actually loves you back. And it has made me realize how great it is to have someone who, despite all the crazy chaos that comes your way, still thinks the only truly crazy thing is imagining life without you. I definitely took much of it for granted.

There are a lot of single people out there who would love to be in that limbo stage right before their honeymoon. Engaged couples might think that they’re just innocently blowing off some steam, but there are unfortunate consequences that result from doing so.

Complaints make taking “the plunge” look ice-cold.

Sometimes when I hear about challenges that couples face, I get this sinking feeling, and the narrative in my mind goes something like this: “Man, I can’t even get to date number three with somebody. How am I ever going to make a relationship work when it really gets tough?” Engaged couples run the risk of making commitment look like a bad idea, or even impossible, to their single friends. Believe me, we single people don’t need any more of a reason to feel discouraged about relationships. Nor do we need another reason to give up trying.

No, this does not mean that engaged couples should never share their struggles with their single friends. No one benefits from sugarcoating what real relationships are like. But they should realize that most of their single friends want to be shown how commitment leads to fulfillment, not a life of misery. If an engaged couple does run into any serious compatibility problems during their engagement, by all means, they should take those seriously, and it might mean they are better off not proceeding. But if the difficulties they experience are just part of the natural struggle to mesh two lives together, they should be careful not to present those challenges as more flummoxing than they actually are.

As always, perspective is good.

Hearing about the burden of wedding planning is like listening to your rich friend lament about what a hassle it is to keep up a vacation home, whereas you’re struggling to make rent. Let’s keep some perspective here.

Again, this doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t talk shop with their single friends. In fact, both the committed and single can gain from shared perspectives. We just ask that all you soul mates out there be gentle with us single folk. And it doesn’t hurt to make it clear to your single friends that you do really love your fiancé and realize that your problems aren’t the end of the world.

We want what’s best for you, too (and that’s for you to shutchyomowf).

Hitch’s buddy Albert was right when he says, "I've waited my whole life to feel this miserable." Even the agony of getting hurt by someone you love is preferable to having nobody who could hurt you. I joke about time, money, menstrual cycles, etc., but it’s true: I’m happy to take on the not-always-easy-or-convenient aspects of a relationship if it means getting to experience all the good things that come with it, too.

I hate to break it to you, engaged couples, but the stressors aren’t going away. Whenever I hear engaged people complain about seemingly innocuous things (Should he should keep the honeymoon a surprise? Should she have six bridesmaids or seven? Why won’t the pastor call him back? Can she really trust someone else to do her makeup on the biggest day of her life?), I wonder if they realize that they are going to face real challenges in marriage.

Not that wedding-planning problems aren’t real, but by focusing too much on these minor issues, engaged couples risk taking their relationships and their fiancés for granted. Focusing on the joys of engaged life—in spite of the inevitable frustrations—will go a long way in building a solid foundation.

This is all to say: Weep not, emotionally spent engaged woman. Fret not, constantly frustrated engaged man. It’s not that we are simply sick of all the drama; we singles actually want you to be happy. While I ask that you stop complaining about how hard it is to be engaged (because I find it terribly annoying), I do so out of love. You might just be missing out on a great chance to grow in your relationship—while also helping your single friends eventually do the same.