When I got married the first time, more than 15 years ago, I had the wedding I'd always dreamed of in a beautiful old hotel with high frescoed ceilings. Surrounded by 200 of my closest family and friends, I wore a wedding dress that I had designed with the help of an amazing seamstress.
Except for this: I had some serious doubts about my relationship with my husband-to-be. Those doubts didn't really hit me until a few months before the wedding took place. Up until then, I had been too busy planning it and attending events in our honor to think about the marriage itself. I mean really think about it.
But I wasn't too concerned. Didn’t everyone have doubts about getting married? Could you ever be totally sure that you were marrying the right person?
The day of the wedding, when the ballroom doors opened and I saw the vast room and all the people dressed up in their black-tie-optional outfits, staring at me, I turned to the wedding coordinator and said, "Oh, s%#t."
Less than 24 hours after that, I was on a plane to Italy thinking, "What have I done?"
And seven years later, I turned out to be a statistic. A recent study found that women who had doubts before the wedding were 2.5 times more likely to get divorced.
I know now that I should have waited before I got married the first time and explored my doubts both with and without my first husband. Who knows what the outcome would have been. But there were no red flags. On paper, my first husband and I looked like a perfect match. I just had a nagging feeling of uncertainty that waxed and waned. It never got to the breaking point because my first husband was a good man and I did love him. I just wasn't meant to spend the rest of my life with him.
I don't spend too much time now thinking about what would have happened if I had broken off the engagement. Because as unhappy as I was for a few years, and as hard as the divorce was, he and I share two wonderful kids and we work well together at co-parenting them.
But I will say that when I got married the second time, in a small ceremony in my parents' backyard, I had no anxiety, no doubts, and absolutely no jitters. And when I walked down the very short aisle to where my second husband-to-be stood, along with my children and future stepdaughter, I felt calm and sure of what I was about to do. Now, seven years later, we are still happy and in love, and I am sure that I married the right man the second time around.
Did you have any pre-wedding doubts or jitters? Did that change your plans to get married?
Image via Jennifer Cullen