Taken, hopefully not for granted

importance of engagement

The notion of romance attached to love does not however discount the practical considerations of it in all universality of them catering to the expectations of the sensibly emotional and societally acceptable as well. As treasured as the fantastical first flutters of love would be the evolution that the relationships entailed out of that most magical of the life feels go through. In being at once a stemming of fairtytalesque sorts and harbouring also the promise of rosy realities, romantic relationships happen to be a rather peculiar premise upon which the human heart embarks to discover a whole different world of existence. Incredibly soulful and necessarily physical as well, catering to virtually every single aspect of the tangible and the intangible summing up life in all its myriad experiences is this experience of romantic love and love relationships that only fans and furthers the beauty in being.

Love might be uniquely felt and differently interpreted by each of the many souls perceiving this emotion in all the immense intensity of it. But such is the universal manifestation of love that necessarily endows upon everyone partaking of this experience in surreality the desire to chart out their own together forever with their beloved. So ingrained is the belief of the happily ever after in the domains of love unfurling with a mystic aura of charm that love transcends this singular identity of many a composites to gather also understanding in terms of companionship and friendship and so many such assertions of the relationship realm. And from these virtues in sticking by each other through thick and thin just like friends do or in cherishing the company and presence of the one bound to their hearts by that strand of the strongest affection, love comes to rest in a necessity of committing oneself fully to their beloved.

In this expectation of absolute commitment, love relationships and romances often dwell in such fantasies in anticipation that lead them on to cherish the ultimate dream of being betrothed to each other not just emotionally but also socially and legally, and indeed fully and completely. And thus arises in romantic relationships the assuming of an immense importance by the sacred institution of marriage. Revered in tradition and celebrated in love is this idea of being married marked though by not one single entity in expression of the vast multitude of what sums up the experience of the emotions leading to this exciting prospect of life changing potential. Equally consequential are the many a ‘build ups’ initiating this whole wedding extravaganza that rest each in a significance of their own.

Engagement ring with flower
Source: iStock

Because marriages are so typically ‘seen’ through the profound hollowness of rings as being one of the most prominent signs in the public display of (committed) affection, wedding rings tend to be a very precious presence in the lanes of lifelong love. And in its wholesome essence in exchanging of rings to secure for once and all the bliss of that certain experience in love exclusively pertaining to that particular couple, engagement ceremonies happen to be one of the most remarkable experiences upon the romantic trail. More a formal and social declaration of love and making evident as well the impending intention of marriage is this tradition of being engaged so happily adhered to by those in love setting themselves up for a new saga of happenings to characterise their existence in love filled and life long togetherness.

But while marriages or the wedding day itself is exalted as being one of the most important events of one’s life, the engagement ceremony remains comparatively subdued in the hums of love despite its importance being recognised in terms no less certain as well. Obviously less elaborate than weddings would be the engagement ceremonies in which the to be bride and groom ‘claim’ their relationship in all officialness by exchanging rings symbolising the ringing in of a new beginning for themselves. Considered in this manner of holding importance, the occurrence of the engagement rituals therefore also bring about a different realisation upon the couple now no longer adhering to the informal alluding of boy/girl friend. Evolving instead to being the more ‘dignified’ fiancés of each other in their recognition in society and assuming by that account also a newfound clarity in their status of the relationship, it is the engagement ceremony indeed that in fact ushers in the real experience of the newness for those till now experiencing love in not entirely a worldly appreciation of it.

engagement ceremony
Source: Hitched

So while the way engaged couples are perceived in society is noticeably different, the more surprising changes that makes way into the connection between the lovebirds is what makes engagement all the more revealing an experience of real, practical love. Even with the most committed of relations, the sense of security that accrues to each partner after the official announcement of their relationship status tends to come as a rather immense realisation. Even when one would not have expected a mere customary mode in exchanging rings to affect the very nature of the bond they share with their partner, they still can feel the definite change in this perception of themselves once they take on that ‘officially engaged’ tag.

Whether that be the validation availed out of the public announcement of love or their personal belief in the surety of the relationship being more deep founded, the psychological shift in experiencing a greater degree of certainty brings into effect almost calming a sense of emotional stability so conducive in making the onward journey all the more fulfilling. And while it is unlikely that couples would have mutually agreed on in embarking upon a relationship for life without taking into consideration many a crucial life aspects not so much dependent on love, the setting of the official premise for them to identify as partners for life induces indeed much greater a tendency to take to the other important matters in greater conviction of necessity. So whether it be the general talks of the future or the particular exploration of the finances, or embracing responsibilities and addressing obligations, engaged couples find it easier for themselves to be charting out life goals as a single unit.

indian engagement
Source: IndiaMART

Sensibility and maturity therefore makes deeper inroads into romances once they are officially established through the engagement process. The other side of the picture in exchanging rings though can present a different context in what needs to be dealt with after this initiation into a new phase of shared existence. Because engagement marks the beginning for wedding preparations to get underway, there sets in a new experience of stressing over virtually every single thing. Not just the prep for the ceremony, also weighing down upon the heart and mind of the couple would be the jitters on embracing something so unfamiliar to them despite all the looking forward to this new phase in conjugal living. Preparing them thus for what is to follow outside the luxury of love and in more real an awareness of it is what makes engagement ceremonies an important event to deliver the first lessons in practical love of the forever kind.

Between these two extreme experiences of the surreal and the stressful, the ring exchanging tradition also leads love to manifest in the many different numbers of what it more absolutely is beyond that emotion in heady euphoria or utter bliss. In also signifying the numbered days of bachelorhood for either of the partners, the engagement ceremony can in fact spur the desire to tick off certain things from the bucket list. Whatever it is that one might have wanted to experience all by themselves would for sure assume greater priority in days following the kickstarting event of the D Day.

This might sound insignificant compared to the greater realisations that sets in in both physical and psychological awareness of and prepping up for them. But in being the ultimate defining moments of a stage of life, making the most out of them and as per one’s heart’s content makes for a deeply personal necessity to unfurl. And the engagement period provides just enough time for one to pursue whatever it is that they had always wanted to as a single soul so that they can set out on the marital path without any hint of any kind of regret whatsoever.

Despite not being a very favourable fore on which one would expect to weigh the essence of something as defining as an engagement ceremony, this official countdown to the winding up of one’s life with someone might also at rare times serve as a wakeup call. In all the rosy desires of a love till then not bound by as much practical considerations, it would be easy to believe that one indeed is all ready to take that plunge into marriage despite a certain uneasiness coming to characterise the ‘feel’ of that decision in tremendous importance. But with the binding almost doctrine of exchanging the rings, one would come to gain greater clarity on what is indeed that they desire out of this love- or even if they really desire it for life after all.

Calling off a wedding after all the officiality of it is established courtesy the first and foremost occurring of the engagement rituals might not be a very happy prospect. But if and when that happens, it only calls for a contemplation upon the fact that broken relationships are way, way better than a suffocated lifelong of compromised existence. And in providing this premise for couples to ultimately realise and choose what matters most to them, the engagement ceremony can indeed be the revelation one would never have expected it to be.