Written with love, by Pastor Dave Page
We were six months away from our wedding day. We had dated for nearly two years. I proposed. I gave her a ring. I loved her. We had taken our engagement photos and ordered boxes of matches with our names and wedding date on them. I felt horrible but I knew in my heart that I shouldn’t go through with the wedding.
I confronted her. As nicely as possible, I told her that I wanted to postpone the wedding. I saw her right hand out of the corner of my eye coming toward my face. I caught her hand just before it would have slapped my left cheek. She was extremely angry. Could I blame her?
“I’m keeping the ring. I’m not giving it back!” she shouted.
“That’s okay you can keep the ring,” I said.
Breaking an engagement is difficult, but instead of beating myself up over it, I gradually learned to accept it and still feel it was the right thing to do at the time. Nobody tracks how many engagements are broken each year and those in the upbeat wedding industry don’t like to talk about it. However, one national poll conducted by Match.com that polled hundreds of single adults, found that 20% said they had broken off an engagement in the past three years and 39% said they knew someone else who had done the same.
The book, There Goes the Bride: Making Up Your Mind, Calling It Off & Moving On, claims that 15% of all engagements are called off each year.
“This is a growing phenomenon,” says co-author Rachel Safier, whose own canceled wedding inspired the book. “I thought I was alone, but people have been coming out of the woodwork. It's just not discussed, because it's clearly not the romantic side of the wedding story,” she explained.
Below are 5 reasons why I broke off my engagement.
1. I Had a Gut Feeling - I Just Knew.
I can’t explain it. I just knew in my heart that she was not the one for me and I was not the one for her. I prayed and prayed for wisdom and just didn’t feel a peace from God to marry her.
2. My Dad Had A Dream.
Believe it or not, my dad dreamed that my fiancé was pushing him around in a wheelchair in his elderly years. She was smiling and happy, as was he, until she pushed him off a cliff. The ironic part is that my dad really liked her prior to the dream.
3. I Felt Pressured to Marry Her.
We had been dating for two years and I felt obligated to marry her. I loved her and thought I should marry her because of the length of our time together. She would often hint that she wanted me to put a ring on her finger. I felt I owed her.
4. We Fought on a Regular Basis
The engagement period is a relatively carefree and happy time in most couples’ relationships. That’s not to say that wedding planning isn't stressful (it is) or that happy couples don't fight (they do), but if you’re fighting more often than not, something may be off. It was for us.
5. I Sensed She Was Seeing Somebody Else
We dated for a year while I was home and then I moved to the Bay area to attend graduate school. We only saw each other a few times during the year but talked a lot on the phone. I knew we needed to be together in the same proximity prior to our wedding so I moved back to LA. Things weren’t the same as before.
“Are you seeing somebody else?” I asked.
“No,” she said.
After a few months of a mediocre relationship, I broke it off.
The End of the Story
My ex-fiancé gave me back the engagement ring a month after I broke off the engagement. Her anger subsided and we began talking again.
A few months later, she confessed she’d been seeing a friend of mine for six months while I was away at graduate school. She owned up to her betrayal and with tears in her eyes asked me to forgive her. She then asked if we could get back together? I thanked her for her honesty and shared that I totally forgave her but that I didn’t want to get back together. We went our separate ways.
I didn’t date for a year after our breakup. When I began dating Carrie (my wife), I just knew in my heart that she was the one. We dated for only six months, I proposed, and we were married three months later. My ex-fiancé married somebody else before I married Carrie. As couples we ran into each other at a local restaurant in the Valley and instead of the meeting being an awkward moment we both just laughed and shared how grateful we were that we didn’t marry each other.
What do you do with a returned engagement ring?
A friend of mine was getting married and bought a gold band for his fiancé but couldn’t afford a diamond. I gave him the diamond from my returned ring and he surprised his fiancé on their wedding day by slipping the newly enhanced ring onto her finger. She was shocked and began to cry. I performed the ceremony.
What do you do with the gold band?
Carrie and I went to a jeweler to purchase my wedding ring. I showed him the 24 carrot gold band my ex-fiancé returned. He said he could melt down the gold and use it to create my new wedding ring. “No way,” said Carrie. She didn’t want my wedding ring to be made out of the gold from my ex-fiancé’s ring. Can you blame her?
Carrie and I were married and had a blissful honeymoon in Hawaii. Upon returning home, Carrie moved in with me at my home. One morning she was reaching for something on the top shelf of our closet when a number of matchbook boxes came tumbling down on her head. These were the matches with my name and my ex-fiancé’s name on them. I just couldn’t throw away perfectly good matches. She could. We both laughed.
In summary, as difficult as it is to end an engagement, I believe it’s far better to experience a broken betrothal than a broken home.