On Engagement

There are ten thousand books on dating, and ten hundred thousand on marriage. There are hundreds on singleness and at least dozens on being widowed. There is though, as far as I can see, only bare units on engagement. Maybe it’s because in today’s society engagement is just an expensive arrangement that you do next if you want to please the missus. (True story, the fiancée and I a were at a wedding reception the other day and found out another couple were engaged. “Congratulations” we say “have you set a date?” “yes” she replies “next year”. Her partner squeezes her hand and smiles at her awkwardly “I was surprised when we actually set a date, I thought we wouldn’t.”) Or maybe it’s because engagement is seen as something to survive through. It’s dating that’s the hard work; deciding who your partner should be and at what stage you should change your status on Facebook to “in a relationship” and whether or not you do get engaged. That’s the tough bit. Once you’re engaged though you’re effectively strapped in so you’ve just got to tough it out.

Or maybe just as some people send their idle moments working out how to secure their current location from zombie hordes, so some people spend their days dreaming of their perfect partner, the beautiful house and their seven children. And so while a lot of forward planning can be done –where to go on the first date, what food to stockpile– once you’ve said yes and the approaching zombie hordes are coming, you realise that you haven’t really planned for this stage and just fall back on the few basic rules you know and try and make it through; don’t go off alone, don’t sleep together, plan a good wedding, aim for the head. And then hopefully, you’ll make it through the long dark night / period of engagement.

And that’s probably the end of sustained metaphor on this website.

So maybe there’s just not much to say on the subject. But then, I’m currently engaged and the question I have to wonder about is how do you live being engaged? And it’s not like the Bible doesn’t speak rather a lot about engagement. I mean the church is currently engaged to Christ so maybe it’s a bigger idea than people make out.

Or maybe it’s just that books don’t sell on engagement because when people get engaged they go “Oh bother, I’ve got to pay for a wedding”. So maybe it’s just that engagement is not the best time to market a book.

One thought on “On Engagement”

  1. Hey, is this your first comment?
    Actually yes I did find engagement to be a “long dark night”, something to be survived through and generally worse than “dating” – I don’t quite see what you’re aiming at here, there are plenty of marriage prep books out there and that’s what engagement is, preparing for marriage. Aside from doing marriage prep and other marriage-related things like starting a joint bank account (which only I used until we got married), looking for places to live together etc., we did live as we did before we got engaged.
    However I would agree completely with “in today’s society engagement is just an expensive arrangement that you do next if you want to please the missus”… it’s a sad fact that in my office, we have about 20% single, 20% married and 60% in “long-term relationships”…

Comments are closed.