Being engaged is an exciting time in a couple's life. Here are 40 things this writer learned about herself, her partner, and life in the process.

40 Things I’ve Learned From Being Engaged

Being engaged is an exciting time in a couple's life. Here are 40 things this writer learned about herself, her partner, and life in the process.

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I just got married and am so excited for this new venture in my life. But I’m also closing the door on another very important chapter in my life: being engaged.

As my engagement has come to a close, I find myself looking back on a three-year whirlwind. Who knew that a little online tinkering could lead to finding the love of my life? I had never had a boyfriend, dated or even gone to a bar. Setting up an online dating profile was more of a creative writing exercise for me than a mission.

Yet there was a pull in me to connect, a yearning to feel, to reawaken that “happy, carefree” part of me I had as a kid and ignite a wiser, mature woman in me – a part of me I knew I had to acquire eventually.

These two years of engagement have been like living another lifetime. And the exciting part is that by saying “I Do,” suddenly the door is open to many more lifetimes and experiences.

Brandon and I don’t have the most conventional love story. He was the first man I met online, he proposed four months later, and after two amazing years of being fiancé and fiancée, we walked down the aisle. I’ve never felt love like this before for anything or anyone and feel so blessed that I’ve met my soulmate with such luck.

40 Things I've Learned from Being Engaged

Being engaged is its own lifetime education, and I have earned quite the degree. Every day was a new realization, either about myself, my husband-to-be, or about the nature of love, communication, and taking part in a relationship. Here are just some highlights:

1. Relationships aren’t static or set in stone. They’re always evolving, molding, changing as you both change.

2. There is always something new to learn or find out…and not just about each other.

3. Sometimes it takes someone else to point out something you thought you understood all of your life.

4. It’s never too late to say you’re sorry or resolve a conflict

5. Nobody ever got anything out of holding a grudge except frown lines.

6. Creativity comes in all forms, shapes and sizes. Who would know that a computer-genius-RPI-graduate would have so much fun making art with his non-technical-musical-theatre-geek-mixed-media-painting fiancé?

7. Smart is always sexy.

8. The tiniest things can be the most meaningful. From the post-it note he leaves on my laptop saying goodnight to the Mike & Ikes I snag for him at a ballgame.

9. A real man makes you feel beautiful no matter what.

10. It’s great when your fiancé wants to be involved in planning your wedding…but don’t get upset when he gets a bit over-involved. (I wasn’t prepared for lengthy debates on whether my dress was “white” or “ivory”!)

11. Opposites do attract, but sometimes people are not as “opposite” as they seem.

12. You don’t really know someone until you go grocery shopping together.

13. Nothing unites two 28-year-olds like 90’s pop culture nostalgia.

14. Fiance is French for “engaged.” Go figure.

15. Long engagements are the best. These have been the two most amazing years of my life.

16. The most fulfilling way to view “engagement” is as a journey – not just the “time before the wedding.” The engagement period is an incredible opportunity to grow, discover, and learn. Being engaged is an everyday celebration.

17. There is never a “good” time to talk about difficult things, but the “best” time is now.

18. Nothing seems too weird or crazy to the man who knows he’ll be spending the rest of his life with you.

19. A clean, spruced up, well-kept man does not necessarily call for a clean, spruced up, well-kept living space!

20. The best “nights out” are staycations – and made better with pajamas, cereal and SNL reruns.

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21. Expect to be pulled out of the moment every now and then, gaze in on this new relationship, and be completely in awe. Is this really me? Have I really found someone who accepts and loves me for exactly who I am?

22. Shopping for domestic, ordinary things – like a washing machine at Best Buy – will fill you with delight.

23. “Home” takes on a new meaning.

24. Whatever the future holds can’t be scary – no matter what, now that you’ve got someone to hold your hand through it all.

25. Being alone now never feels quite “alone.”

26. Suddenly, being called “baby” doesn’t make you feel like an infant.

27. You make conversation with random strangers just to use the word “fiancé.”

28. You can be quite creative with how you use your left hand – suddenly it becomes the main player of every gesture.

29. A handwritten note always speaks volumes, no matter how brief.

30. A day can be awful, but knowing someone is coming home thinking of you makes everything seem insignificant.

31. Family takes on an entirely new meaning.

32. Even if you don’t want to, you’ll end up taking his fashion advice…

33. …But no matter what you’re wearing or how you feel, he’ll make you feel beautiful.

34. You realize you can suddenly relate to your parents a lot more and need their advice.

35. Football. If you don’t understand it, don’t try. Just let him watch.

36. Money, children, and religion – they’re topics you are going to talk about. So you might as well start.

37. You can win any man over with a really good home-cooked meal.

38. You can win him over just as easily with a bowl of cinnamon toast cereal and some comics from the Sunday newspaper.

39. By the end of your engagement, expect to know a man completely differently, yet entirely the same. The journey is in discovering him.

40. By the end of your engagement, expect to know yourself completely differently, yet feel more “yourself” than you have all of your life. The journey is in discovering.