Approach your partner when you have plenty of time to talk.

Mending a Broken Engagement

by C. Giles

Planning a wedding can be very stressful, with so much to organize and so many people's opinions to take into account. It can take a considerable toll on a couple, both financially and emotionally. It's normal to experience fleeting moments of doubt in the run up to the big day, but if your engagement has ended due to problems in your relationship, flowers and wedding cake will be the least of your worries. To get things back on track, you need to commit to your partner, your own happiness and your future together.

1. Start Communicating

Without talking to your partner, you'll never be able to get your engagement back on track, as communication is the key to resolving any conflict. By talking and -- equally importantly -- listening, you and your partner can determine what needs to be worked on in your relationship. Take turns talking, advises the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center in the TwoOfUs.org article, "A Game Plan for Effective Communication." When your partner is talking, really listen to what he is saying, instead of simply working out what you are going to say next.

2. Don't Play the Blame Game

Even if you think your broken engagement is your partner's fault, avoid attacking or blaming him. Problems in a relationship are rarely caused by only one person. Use "I" statements when expressing how you feel. For example, instead of saying, "You always put your friends before me!" you could say something like, "I feel unhappy that we don't spend as much time together as we used to. Could we make some plans for the weekend and try to reconnect?"

3. Be Honest With Yourselves and Each Other

If you and your partner both want to mend your broken engagement, get married and spend the rest of your lives together, there's no reason why you can't make it happen, whatever your problems are. However, if one or both of you has doubts or concerns about marriage, you need to have an open conversation about why you are getting married and whether the relationship is meeting your respective needs. Try to see this as a positive step for your relationship. Your partner should know what your needs, fears and expectations are before the wedding, says psychologist Philip McGraw in the Dr. Phil.com article "Are You Ready for Marriage?"

4. Ask for Help

The problems in your relationship may go beyond cold feet or squabbles about the wedding arrangements. If you feel you need some professional assistance to mend your broken engagement, a couples counselor or premarital education course from a religious institution may help. According to the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center in the TwoOfUs.org article "Why Premarital Education/Counseling Matters," premarital counseling can reduce your likelihood of divorce by 30 percent. As well as resolving areas of conflict, it may help you plan for your future together, by sharing your views on work, marriage, religion, sex, children and other important aspects of married life.

About the Author

C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."

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