Forever Engagements

By  Tommy Peske
Updated on 01/19/24
Forever Engagements

Forever Engagements

By  Tommy Peske
Updated on 01/19/24

Part of the Engagement

Forever Engagements

By  Tommy Peske
Updated on 01/19/24

Couple in an alarm clock

A forever engagement is an engagement that is meant to last a lifetime. The term was first used in the late 19th century when it was popularized by Queen Victoria’s lengthy engagement to Prince Albert. 

Since then, the idea of a forever engagement has been adopted by couples from all walks of life with unconventional views on marriage. Of course, a forever engagement isn’t right for every couple, so it’s essential to ensure that both partners are on the same page before making any long-term commitments.

Why Choose a Forever Engagement?

A forever engagement allows two people to make a major commitment to each other without all the stress, expenses, and pressures associated with weddings and marriage. 

Forever engagements put the focus on the relationship rather than the wedding. People who choose this type of engagement do not have to deal with the stressful and hectic wedding planning process and can instead dedicate their time to connecting with their partner.

Couples can also save an enormous sum of money by passing on the ceremony and reception. Some couples use these savings for a down payment on a house or an extravagant getaway. 

With divorce rates notoriously high, many couples see a forever engagement as a way to improve their chances of maintaining a lifelong commitment. After all, you can’t get divorced if you don’t get married. 

Some couples choose a forever engagement because it feels right for their relationship. Maybe they are against marriage outright, or perhaps they have had bad experiences with marriage in the past; at the end of the day, choosing a forever engagement over traditional marriage is a personal preference. 

Downsides of a Forever Engagement

Of course, not everyone is on board with the idea of a forever engagement. Some people see it as a cop-out, indicating a lack of commitment. Others worry that it will lead to an overly-long courtship or put unnecessary pressure on the relationship. 

A couple may face legal and financial issues (or miss out on benefits) in the future if they choose a forever engagement over traditional marriage. Couples who aren’t officially married can’t combine life insurance policies or open a spousal IRA. Unmarried couples don’t qualify for certain tax breaks and aren’t allowed to make vital medical decisions should one member of the couple become incapacitated. 

There can be social consequences of choosing a forever engagement as well. People are nosy and generally intrigued by the non-traditional; you may have to deal with intrusive questions about your relationship decisions if you go the forever engagement route. This interrogation from friends, family and even strangers can lead to annoyance and resentment. 

Couples weighing the pros and cons of a forever engagement should keep these downsides in mind as they consider their options. Ultimately, though, whether or not to choose a forever engagement is a personal decision that only the couple can make.

Engagement road signs

How to Decide Between a Traditional Marriage vs. Forever Engagement

It’s a question that many couples face at some point in their relationship: should we get married or just stay engaged forever? Both options have pros and cons, and ultimately, the decision comes down to what is best for the couple. Those who are undecided may want to consider a few factors:

  • Are You Ready for Commitment? Getting married is a big step, and it’s not something to be taken lightly. If you’re still getting cold feet, staying engaged may be the better option. 
  • Can You Afford a Wedding? A traditional wedding can be expensive, and if you’re unable or unwilling to spend a lot of money on a wedding, staying engaged may be a good way to save money.
  • What Are Your Views on Marriage? Views on marriage can range widely, and many couples may see weddings and marriage in a negative light. If you and your partner are on the same page about your distaste for traditional marriage, a forever engagement can be a good middle ground.
  • What Are Your Relationship Goals? If you and your partner envision a white picket fence and children, traditional marriage and its benefits may be the smart choice. Forever engagements can make family planning and traditional family life more difficult for a variety of legal and financial reasons. On the other hand, if you do not plan on having children and just want to solidify your commitment as you enjoy living life together, a forever engagement may be suitable for you. 

Putting on the ring

Can You Still Celebrate a Forever Engagement?

If you and your partner decide against traditional marriage, you can (and should) still celebrate your commitment to each other. 

In couples with a forever engagement arrangement, it’s common for the woman to still receive and wear an engagement ring as a sign of her commitment. Sometimes, the man will also wear a ring on his left ring finger to signify his relationship commitment. 

You can still hold an event or party to celebrate your engagement in lieu of a wedding. Forever engagements are non-traditional arrangements, but couples should feel free to include the common traditions of an engagement party, like speeches, toasts, and dancing, in their engagement celebration. 

Your engagement party can bring together the family and friends of both members of the couple, and everyone will have the chance to get to know each other in a more casual and relaxed setting. Also, if you’re feeling selfish, your engagement party is a great way to receive gifts you’re missing out on by not having a wedding.

How to Make a Forever Engagement Work

There’s no proven method for making a forever engagement work, but there are a few things you and your partner can do to set yourselves up for success. 

  • Get to Know Each Other: Going beyond the superficial stuff and learning about each other’s hopes, dreams, and values can help ensure a successful forever engagement. If you’re on the same page about the big stuff, you’ll be more likely to weather the inevitable challenges that come with any long-term relationship.
  • Communicate: Keep the lines of communication open and be honest with each other about what’s going on in your lives, both good and bad. This will help you address any relationship issues that may arise before they become too big to handle. 
  • Celebrate Each Other: Just like in any other partnership, it’s essential to take time to celebrate your relationship. Whether this means weekly date nights or traveling the world, spending quality time together will help keep your relationship at its best. 
  • Maintain the Spark: Just because you’re committed to each other forever doesn’t mean you should put a pause on romance. Surprise your partner with things that make her feel special, like flowers, a love note, or a spontaneous date night. This will go a long way in strengthening your relationship and love for each other. 
  • Prepare for the Future: Sam Holmes, editor of Feel and Thrive, recommends on a legal front, “decide on how you’re going to manage your finances and affairs. Still have safety nets and contingencies in place for each other, especially where children are involved. This means setting up savings, trusts, wills and so on.”

Couple swinging

It’s the Relationship That Matters, Not the Ceremony

When it comes to partnerships, it’s not the ceremony that matters; it’s the relationship. An engagement is a commitment to spend your life with someone, which doesn’t need to be registered with the government or sealed with an engagement ring. What matters is that you and your partner are on the same page about your future together.

If you’re not ready for traditional marriage, there’s no need to force it. Take your time, enjoy being together, and let the rest fall into place in its own time. Maybe the two of you will get officially married down the road, or perhaps you will spend the rest of your lives joyfully engaged. Every relationship is different, so ultimately, you should do what will make you both happy. 

The Groom Club has all you need to know for a successful engagement, whether you’re wondering how to announce your engagement or how to look your best in your engagement photos. Another great idea that we have is to still have your bachelor/ette/x parties whether you want to party together or with your tribe, we have TONS of great ideas. Check out our blogs about bachelor parties from Nashville, TN and beyond, how to plan a bachelorx party, and more! You’re engaged, go have fun, cheers!

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