You don’t have to do it all by yourself.

Time spent in preparation for a wedding is magical. But the decisions are many: From reception venues to the font on the invitations, the details can turn even the most angelic of dispositions into the fabled “bridezilla.” But the groom plays a part, too.

As a groom-to-be, I am all too aware of how easy it can be for a man to slip into the background and leave his fiancée neck-deep in RSVPs and seating assignments. With my wedding day quickly approaching, my fiancée and I have run the gamut of decisions already, and I’m proud to say I played an active role. Without the nudge of my bride-to-be, I might have ended up like many men, busying myself with “my affairs” only—things like the bachelor party . . . and the bachelor party. But instead, my fiancée found ways to get me engaged that played to my strengths, my desire to love her, and my male psychology.

If any of you are planning a wedding, you may also be wondering how to turn your partner from a “whatever you want is fine” groom to more of a willing participant in the planning. Here are a few tips from a male perspective.

Ask

I am going to go out on a limb to say that your fiancé is not a mind reader. I know I am often blissfully ignorant of my fiancée’s mental struggles and couldn’t have guessed her concerns and desires even if I wanted to (and believe me, I have tried!). Given this unfortunate reality, it’s highly likely that your guy is oblivious of your desire for help. A good place to start would be to mention that you could really use a hand. Rather than appearing like he doesn’t care, he likely doesn’t see the struggle. That might be all it takes to lighten your load considerably.

Challenge

Men love a challenge. That’s why throwing paper into a wastebasket invariably becomes a Harlem Globetrotters exhibition. If you feel like your fiancé is bearing a striking resemblance to a lump of dough, throw a challenge his way. What man can turn away from a sweet, “I’ve been trying to work out X without success. Can you see what you can come up with?” With a little something at stake, you might just see him “rise” to the occasion.

Engage

The most important item in this list of suggestions deals in strength. Every individual has their strengths, the skills they excel in. Playing to your fiancé’s strengths is crucial. If he has a gift for numbers, maybe he can quarterback the budgeting side of the details. If he has ninja organizational skills, you might ask him to help with making lists or arranging table layouts so everyone including dear Aunt Gertrude has a seat. My fiancée was brave enough to ask me to work on the centerpieces for our guest tables because she knows how I enjoy crafting things.

Affirm

When your guy feels a little out of place or if a role is new to him, he can easily be discouraged. The best way to maintain your fiancé’s desire to assist you comes through affirmation. I know that for myself, when my work is complimented and my efforts are appreciated, I am fired up to continue lending a hand. Whatever good has been done, be sure to let him know you are grateful for his help. Yes, this includes those times when things don’t turn out exactly the way you had envisioned them. Give your man a task and be open to his unique influence on the final product. You are always taking a chance that a job won’t be done exactly the way you would if you don’t do it yourself. This might be a moment to practice sacrificing your vision for a good cause—namely, building up your future spouse.

During engagement, it’s important to remember the saying, “A wedding is a day. A marriage is a lifetime.” Keep your eye on the goal, and use this time to build collaborating skills for the future. If you are able to work well together now, you are off to a terrific start for the next chapter.

Photo Credit: The Happy Bloom