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6 Ways To Handle Marriage Pressure from Friends and Family

An engaged couple holding hands, ready to get pressure from their family.

There’s something really interesting that happens after you propose and get engaged—everyone around you loses their minds. It’s almost as if you’ve just thrusted your relationship into an irreparable state of vulnerability where all of your friends and family now must see this thing through.

As a newly engaged couple, my fiancé and I were excited to enjoy this new status together for a year, maybe more. But that wasn’t good enough for those around us. We saw the full spectrum of pressure from my mom saying, “I hope you won’t wait too long,” to my grandfather literally walking up to us with his smartphone in hand saying, “Pick a date.”

There are a lot of tricky tactics friends and family will use to get you to expedite your engagement, but I found these six statements to be the best ways to politely ease the marriage pressure and get people off our backs.

1. “We want to enjoy the engagement.”
This will work for roughly half the people who ask you about the wedding date. It seems innocent and sincere enough, but not as effective as you may think. This is how we initially feel people out for how “gung-ho” they’re going to be during this process. Don’t be surprised if you get a lot of eye-rolls…

2. “We’re putting our career stability first.”
This one conveys some subtle complexities that resonate with most people. Obviously, money is important aspect of a strong, durable relationship, but also for financing a wedding. By throwing out the fact that we were focused together on something as noble as our careers, it typically ended up changing the subject away from our engagement, which really wasn’t anybody else’s business.

3. “We might be moving soon so…”
This has worked great with friends and immediately family, but not so much with grandparents or extended family who don’t really connect with your living situation. Grandparents are coming from a generation where there literally should be no obstacle to picking a wedding date. Extended family just wants to know when the party is so they can plan ahead.

We tested this one because we were actually thinking of moving across the country, not just making it up. Since moving is one of the most stressful things a human does, we thought we’d get some sympathy points.

4. “We’re crafting the perfect celebration.”
Since my fiancé and I were handling the planning of our wedding 50/50, this one worked very well for us. Both of us had put together large-scale events that people had attended or known about, so the words “perfect celebration” carry weight in our circles. It implied that the perfect celebration would take time because we were the ones putting it together.

For us, this added some more pressure, but pressure we could handle. We now had to throw a pretty amazing wedding.

5. “There’s so much pressure… we might just elope.”
This is the single, most effective thing you can say to get the best response. When people think there’s a chance you might just run off to Vegas or some courthouse to make it official, they stop dead in their tracks. People are clearly being selfish when they try to hurry your engagement along, so if they think they won’t be included because they’re pressuring you too much… voila! The pressure disappears. 

6. “We’re committed… so chill out.”
When people have come around four or five times asking about a wedding date, it’s hard not to get fed up at some point. We definitely told a few people to stop asking us altogether. The bottom line is, no one should ever be bringing stress to your engagement, so it’s important to create clear boundaries with people. 

One thing I was really happy about was not letting anyone influence our timeline for our wedding. If you allow it to happen, you’ll regret it (and that person) for years to come.

Your engagement is a transitional period for really sorting out your values with your significant other. It’s a time when you both get to experiment with how married life would really be. There is never a need to rush it. This period is crucial and sacred. Preserve it at all costs together and you’ll reap the rewards, guaranteed.

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