7 Ways to Know if Your Wedding Jitters Are a Sign You Shouldn't Get Married

wedding jitters nervous brideIt's normal to feel nervous about getting married. You're about to make a (hopefully) lifetime commitment to another person. That's a big, heavy, serious door you're opening together. And it's easy to feel like you're not ready or adult enough. But there are ordinary wedding jitters you'll get over after the wedding, and then there are serious doubts, the deeper kind that you really should not brush aside. How do you tell the difference?


First of all, if you're having serious doubts, don't hunker down with your bridesmaids and a bottle of wine to figure it out. Have a deep discussion with the guy this concerns the most: your fiance.

"Talk to him about your jitters, ask the questions you’re feeling insecure about," says Tina B. Tessina, psychotherapist and author of Money, Sex, and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage. "This is a big decision, and the beginning of a shared life, so begin now to share it with him."

Here are some of the issues that go beyond an ordinary case of the pre-wedding nerves.

1. There's abuse or deceitfulness in your relationship. Let's just get this big one out of the way first. If you're being physically, emotionally, or sexually abused and you have cold feet before your wedding, run. If your fiance has lied to you or cheated on you already, go with your doubts and get out now, before you get in any deeper.

2. You have different ideas about what commitment means. "If you don't know what your relationship means to both of you, you risk repeating past mistakes, getting stuck in uncomfortable roles, or fighting about what a healthy relationship is," Tessina says. Make sure you agree on the meaning of words like "relationship," "commitment," "love," and "faithfulness." Talk about these words, Tessina says, and "you'll be amazed by what you learn."

More from The Stir: Having Doubts Before Your Wedding Is a Good Sign

3. You don't agree about money issues. What does everyone argue about? "Next to sex, money is the biggest generator of problems, arguments, and resentment in long-term relationships," Tessina says. You should figure out whether or not you pool your money, and how, who pays for what, and whose income determines your lifestyle.

4. One of you doesn't handle anger or other strong emotions well. We all get upset sometimes, and hopefully you're both good at being supportive and defusing each other's anger in healthy ways. However, Tessina warns, "if your tendency is to react to each other and make the situation more volatile and destructive, you need to correct that problem before you live together."

5. One or both of you has substance abuse problems. This is another issue you need to deal with before you get married. Get treatment and live sober first. Marriage will not fix this.

6. You're not sexually compatible. A sexual dry spell is a pretty common reaction to the stress of wedding planning. If your sex life was thriving before your engagement, it's pretty likely to resume after all the fuss is over. But if you've never been on the same page about frequency and level of adventurousness, that problem is only going to get worse.

An aside: If he's thinking maybe, possibly, he's kinda-sorta gayish, but you're THE ONE woman who can make him straight, he should THINK AGAIN. Getting married doesn't save you from being gay. It just keeps you in the closet longer and then more people get hurt when you can't take it anymore and have to burst out.

7. You keep polling your friends to see if you really should get married. A writer for XO Jane talks about how she kept asking her friends if she was doing the right thing by getting married -- even at her bachelorette party. "'If you have to ask, I think you know the answer,'" one of her friends told her. Her marriage lasted 13 months.

As someone who deals daily with married couples in crisis, Tessina naturally recommends seeing a therapist together before the wedding. "Because I see so much of the damage caused by people blindly connecting, rushing through the stages of commitment, and not creating the solid basis a true relationship needs, I always welcome the chance to do pre-commitment counseling." It's not a bad idea!

Did you get cold feet before you got married -- or do you have cold feet now? What do you worry about most?


Image © iStock.com/CareyHope

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