Almost everyone suffers from a bout of cold feet or two before getting married—even people who stay happily married their whole lives. Feeling anxious about tying the knot then, doesn’t necessarily have to spell doom. That being said, there are some concerns and worries that when they come to light during or just before an engagement cantruly spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E.
Whether you mean for it to or not, a couple’s engagement phase can get pretty heavily bogged down in wedding plans, and that can lead to stress. Selecting just the right gifts on the registry, finding the perfect diamond eternity wedding bands, deciding whose childhood minister gets the honor of officiating, figuring out how to pay for all it—it’s a heady trip unlike any other, and it can elicit all sorts of uninvited and hard-to-discern emotions. Nerves are bound to enter the picture. Here is a closer look at a handful of common pre-wedding concerns and how to judge their seriousness in terms of your and your partner’s long-term happiness.
Fear of Divorce
The high rate of divorce among Americans is certainly enough to give anyone pause before tying the knot, but fear of divorce doesn’t mean you’ll get a divorce. While being afraid of failure can be a red flag, it is only if your fear of divorce masks an underlying desire to remain single and avoid a life with your fiance or indicates other marriage-avoidant feelings that you should worry. Fear of divorce is a common anxiety, and it is in no way predictive about a marriage’s success or failure.
Doubt can be a very difficult feeling to maneuver when you’re about to make a decision that affects the rest of your life. However, you would be highly abnormal if you had no doubt. What if you and your spouse fall out of love? What if an accident changes your lives forever? Life circumstances can shake even the strongest unions, but unless your doubts center on whether or not the person you’ve chosen is a good match for you, then they aren’t anything to put too much stock in.
If you’re feeling decidedly less attracted to your partner during the engagement season, relax! Wedding planning and life transitions are stressful, and stress definitely affects all of life—including sex and attraction. Unless you feel extremely put off by your partner, that lull in attraction should pass.
If you know or suspect that your partner has an issue with addiction—whether to alcohol, drugs, pornography, gaming, disordered eating or anything else—talk to him or her about it and see if there is a willingness to address the problem and get help. Addiction will make life difficult for you and any children, and it should be taken seriously, but it is also a problem that can be overcome.
Discordant Family Goals
Do you want a lot of children, but she doesn’t want any? Is he convinced that homeschooling is the only option, whereas you have your heart set on sending your little ones to Montessori? While it may seem light years away, differences in opinion and expectations regarding having children and how to raise them can create fierce battlegrounds in a marriage. If you can’t resolve these issues before you take your vows, reconsider.
Unless you and your fiancé are casual about your religious beliefs and affiliations, this category of concern can be a deal breaker. From concerns over how to raise children to arguments about reality, different religious views can make for a fretful union. Unless you’re on the same page of tolerance, different religions can create a never-ending storm that may leave both of you exhausted and estranged from one another.
Do the things you used to find endearing about your fiancé now drive you crazy? Is his laugh suddenly unbearably annoying? Are you tired of how she always eats her sandwich crust first? Almost every couple finds something less than ideal about their mate, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to feel annoyed your whole life. Engagement and wedding planning can make stress levels rise, which means you have less room to make room for your partner’s idiosyncracies. Don’t worry about it, and keep in mind that you’re probably doing something that drives your fiancé crazy, too.
In many ways, negotiating the upheaval in your emotions is similar to maneuvering between options when you’re first looking through womens wedding rings: The important thing is that you know yourself and your partner well enough to know when something is right, and when it’s wrong. If you’re feeling some anxiety about your walk down the aisle, but it isn’t in one of the categories where real trouble brews, breathe a sigh of relief. While the future will always be uncertain, a loving and well-matched pair of people has a good chance of creating a happy environment that lasts a lifetime.