Today’s post may not be what you are expecting from a wedding photography site. It’s a post about breaking up, calling off your wedding, and losing your deposits. It’s a reality of the engagement process that many people don’t like to talk about. Kristin was going to be one of my 2009 brides. I knew she would have an amazing wedding, and after their engagement shoot, I could not wait to shoot the wedding. They were everything I love in a couple: fun, flirty, attractive, and super confident in front of the camera. A few months after their engagement session, I found out the wedding was off. I don’t blog or write about it when couples break up, but it does happen from time to time, so I know it’s something that might be relevant to my readers. A few weeks ago, I approached Kristin about opening up and sharing what her experience was like. Before we get to it though, there are a couple of things you should know. Kristin has never spoken an ill word to me about her ex-fiance’. I also checked with him to see if he was OK with this being posted, and he gave me the go-ahead. I can’t tell you how honored I am that both of them agreed to let me share this part of their life with you all. Now that that’s out of the way… here is part of her story.
I have been sitting here looking at my computer waiting for all the right words to come flowing out, but nothing that comes to mind seems sufficient enough to describe what I have been through these past few months. Recently I made the decision to call off my engagement with a man I had been dating for the past few years. It was beyond the hardest and most painful thing I have yet to experience, but I can say with full confidence that it was the best decision that I have ever made.
A few weeks after we became engaged and all the wedding excitement had worn off, I began to have some uncomfortable doubts about our relationship and future together. The moment I found myself thinking about these concerns I would almost immediately dismiss them and switch my attention to things that were much easier to deal with (cake, dress, guest list, etc.). One day I was reading in our pre-marital counseling book and I actually caught myself skipping an entire section because I subconsciously knew it would make me look at all the things I had been fighting so hard to avoid. It was in that moment that I realized how badly I needed to separate my emotions from the situation and take a look at the bigger picture before me.
First let me say that everyone has some concerns before they get married. Marriage is by far the biggest decision that we will ever make. If you’re walking into a marriage with nothing but butterflies, then chances are you’re taking marriage too lightly. My own personal concerns were not just feelings of “cold feet”; they were legitimate problems that I knew wouldn’t be solved by getting married. After many sleepless nights and much debate, I knew in my heart that this wasn’t the person or the relationship I was ready to commit my life to. So I decided to end our engagement.
Even though I knew without question that this was exactly what I needed to be doing, I almost let my concerns for what others might think hinder me from going through with my decision. I was BEYOND terrified of my friends and family’s response. Can’t lie, having to tell everyone about my decision turned out to be even worse than what I had anticipated. It was a nightmare! With the exception of a few, my friends and family were completely shocked and therefore questioned my judgment. Aside from the actual break up itself, this was by far the most difficult part of the whole process. Ugh, I feel sick just thinking about it. Looking back now I see that all the opposition that I first endured came only out of love and concern for my well being. At the time however I pretty much felt all alone.
The only reason that I’m even making myself open up these wounds to write this is because I’m hoping that maybe some good can come out of my mistakes. Alex told me a few weeks ago that he has 2-4 couples a year who end up calling off their engagement. Somehow I let myself think that I was the only person in history who ever broke off an engagement. It’s so important for people to know that ending an engagement is NOT the end of the world! It may feel like it at that time, but wouldn’t you rather hurt for a few months than for the rest of your life? It doesn’t matter how far along in the wedding planning process you are, people will understand. What matters is that you do what is best for you and say to hell with everything else. Love is more than just a feeling, it is a choice. We get where we are in life by making choices. So take a look at where you are and choose how your future will be.
It may seem like this entire experience of mine is completely depressing, but the truth is I feel more encouraged about my future now than I ever have. Thanks to all who supported me and encouraged me to continue seeking God’s best for my life. I see many great things ahead and I’m looking forward to love. Best of luck to all engaged couples out there!!
Marriage is one of the most wonderfully hard relationships that you will ever have. If you have any doubts or questions at all, NOW is the time to talk about them with someone. Someone who can look at your relationship from the outside. Someone whom you respect and admire. Someone who has been married for more than 5 years who will give you honest feedback; even if it hurts.
There is no rule that says once you take engagement photos you have passed the point of no return. What’s interesting is that many of my couples that break up, do so while going through premarital counseling. I can not recommend this enough. WeVowNow offers some great programs and there are tons of other services out there. The purpose of these programs are typically twofold. They help prepare you for what being married is all about, but they also help you realize if you are even ready to get married.
Big weddings, pretty photos, and cute save the dates do not prepare you for being married. Sitting down and talking, studying, and learning about marriage helps you prepare for being married. I hurt for my couples when they break up. I am aware of the pain they are going through and I hear it in their voices. But, I also know that as Kristin said, “wouldn’t you rather hurt for a few months than for the rest of your life?”
Marriage is an amazing journey, but it’s also a long and difficult one at times. Sitting down and asking the tough questions now, can save you even more pain and heartache down the road.
Thank you, Kristin, for opening up your heart and sharing your story with us.
A few books and resources for ALL my couples out there.
WeVowNow (Start here, do everything they say to do.)
The Five Love Languages
Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts
Capture His Heart / Capture Her Heart