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Calling it off

By - | Updated Sat, October 27th 2012 at 00:00 GMT +3

Breaking an engagement is a difficult thing to do, however, it is better ending one instead of ending a marriage, writes NIKKO TANUI

Back in the good old days, once a couple got married, they knew it was for keeps. That is why even when they fought viciously, they would soon sit down and settle the matter without tearing their marriage apart.

But these days, couples are no longer ashamed to ink a marriage certificate and rush to divorce court tomorrow, seeking to annul it before the ink even dries.

And some of them will not be filling for divorce over real irreconcilable differences; the matter could be so simple, a judge has to fight from chuckling.

Interestingly, some of the couples who have ended up earning dubious distinctions of having the shortest marriage around admit they knew it was headed for the rocks right before their wedding day, but instead chose to go on with it anyway.

Such couples ridiculously find it easier to break a marriage than an engagement!

A newlywed woman now estranged from her husband and requested not to be named, discloses that she knew that her marriage would run off the rails throughout her wedding planning, but was afraid to call it off.

“I thought the wedding would change things and so I let my mind settle on the fact that women fall in love gradually. I thought I would learn to love my husband and I might as well as love him the rest of my life. However, shortly after the wedding, I came to conclusion that a wedding certificate should not hold me ransom to a man I don’t love” she says.

Her case illustrates how couples, in spite of realising at the engagement period that they will probably not make the best partners for each other, push aside such fears and red flags, and marry anyway — only to regret later.

However, rather than plunge headfirst into a marriage, one or both of the partners has misgivings about, breaking the engagement should be a smaller price to pay than a divorce or a loveless marriage.

Of course, breaking an engagement is not as easy as breaking a twig, however, here is how you can do it:

Soul search

Even a couple enjoying a fruitful marriage will tell you that before they jumped the broom, they had doubts whether they would make it in marriage together or were right for each other.

Everyone has doubts. Doubt means you’re giving this serious matter serious consideration.

But even after deep soul-searching, you still feel your instincts telling you it’s not the best move to make, the best thing is to call off the wedding than regret later.

It’s your life

Much as you might disappoint some people such as the folks who on hearing the word engaged began expecting dowry or a feast of their lifetime, it’s your happiness that maters. After all, it’s your life at stake not theirs.

Therefore, don’t let their disappointment hold you hostage into entering a marriage halfheartedly. Make your decision and let them deal with it.

No stunt

The stories of runaway brides — rarely do we hear of runaway grooms – are too many. There are even several hit movies based on it.

But it’s height of bad manners to fool everyone that you will be walking down the isle, but come the D-day go MIA.

Just don’t pull that stunt. If you develop cold feet or has misgiving about the marriage, let your partner know what you feel in advance. At least in this country, no one will hold a gun to your head to force you marry anyone against your will.

Engagement ring

After breaking off an engagement, often the temptation, especially for most would have been brides is to keep the engagement ring, especially when it’s worth a fortune.

However, etiquette requires that it always be returned no matter who calls off the marriage and this is for closure purposes.

Mean your words

Don’t play games with your partner. That is, don’t break off an engagement today and turn around tomorrow and blame the devil or alcohol for making you do or say things you didn’t mean to.

For heaven’s sake, if you are breaking off the engagement, be a man or a woman about it and mean it.

Civil

Technology has made it easier for people who are not good at delivering bad news.

But much as breaking an engagement is a hard thing to do, using a text or email, is cowardly. Deliver the ‘news’ in person gently and politely. Good luck!

Time

If you must end an engagement, you must be considerate of the time and place to do it. See, even if you are a cruel person choosing to end it on a would-have-been-partner’s birthday or during a family gathering or a funeral is simply not fair.

Simply put, breaking an engagement is not the time to be cruel or create enemies with anyone.


 

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