Doubts Before the Wedding Could Mean Your Marriage Is Doomed

Wedding pictureWhen 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.

Picture perfect.

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

divorce, marriage, weddings

9 Comments

To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

amnew... amnewlon8982

I should have had doubts about my first because he lied about three very important things...income (no, I am not all about money but when the lie is a $70,000 difference it makes me have serious doubts about what else you may be lying about), his legal status in this country (he was illegal and I damn near lost my job in law enforcement), oh and we were going to buy my parents property so they'd have a home after my dad had a quintuple bypass and he did the paperwork w/o me and then sold it to someone else in the same week leaving my mom, dad, myself and my 4 yr old daughter pretty much homeless.

amnew... amnewlon8982

I should add that we lived in the back of my mom's business for about six months until I had the money and moved them into a nice rental house. I met my current husband during my divorce and this October 30th will be our third wedding anniversary and in August we will welcome our second child together, a boy, to join his two sisters. No doubts this time. And he is filing to legally adopt my 8 year old whom he treats ad his own.

Freela Freela

I agree, if you are thinking going in that this might not be the right person for you, there is probably a reason. Honestly, I had doubts marrying my husband due to his family. We are from different races/cultures, the cultural expectations are totally different, his family is a bit of an emotional train wreck for a variety of reasons, and I was worried going in that this was going to be a nightmare, but I thought that love would conquer all.


15 years later, my dh and I are still married and still love one another, but damn was I right about the family making our lives miserable, and honestly I think both of us would have had easier lives had we married someone different. I can't say I regret my marriage because I do love my dh a lot and we have three awesome kids, but everything I worried about was absolutely valid, and honestly I had no idea how much more weary I would be of his family 15 years in than I was while we were planning our wedding. Time has a way of wearing you down. I think without the kids, I might have left due to the family angst, but since we have the kids I can never really be rid of his family anyhow, so we stay together and keep on working on it.

mande... manderspanders

I had hoped my first husband would run off before the wedding and was truly surprised he hadn't. We were engaged for 2.5 years, but it was rocky. After 8 years and an emotionally abusive roller coaster with a mentally ill man, I finally left. When I married my husband, I was nervous because of my past...but when I saw him in the church on our wedding day, I *knew* he was my one and only partner in life, I knew it was right. We have a 2 year anniversary on May 28 and our baby boy is due July 10th...through all the ups and downs, this marriage is world's different from my first and I still have no doubts that we will be together into our old age.

Courtney Evans

My sister recently asked me how I knew my husband was "the one"... ironically, his sister also recently asked him the same question. We both, unbeknownst at the time, had the same answers and I think it speaks to the many reasons we're still rather happily married. We each answered that, in our opinion, before you're with someone for awhile, there is no "one" person for other people, just many that are fairly well suited to fill the position. Once you're together for awhile, then the real test begins: is this well-suited person willing to remain in the relationship for the long-haul and grow WITH you, rather than apart? Both of our sisters seemed a little unsure of our responses, but it's worked for us throughout our seven year marriage, thirteen year relationship, and the birth of our daughter. 

MammaSam MammaSam

I refuse to marry someone until I know without a doubt in my mind. I don't ever want to be divorced. Theres no sense in paying to break up. That doesn't mean I never want to be married, it just means Im not rushing into it. At one point I was with a man I thought I wanted to marry. Looking back, I'm glad I didn't, seeing as he turned out to be a cheater, liar, coward, and just overall douche. If I had never had doubts andvtaken a step backward, the bad things might not have been exposed to early on, but they would have happened sooner or later and I would be devastated twice as badly and we would have had a child together... What a sad outcome it would have been. I am now with a man I feel I'm going to spend a very long time with, but until we both know 100% that this is it, we will stay boyfriend and girlfriend.

mande... manderspanders

MammaSam, you're looking for a "guarantee" that isn't ever there. For as much as I am certain that my husband and I are in it for the long haul, I can't predict the future - there is no 100% certain; and you're fooling yourself if you believe there is.  You have to have a good foundation and be with someone who is willing and able to put the effort and work into the relationship - in ways it gets harder, in other ways it gets easier...but if you aren't willing to consistently work at it, then it won't work.


And for as much as screw-up as my first marriage was, I DON'T REGRET IT.  *Because* I went through that experience, it made me who I am now, it gave me a vastly different perspective on some things in life, and brought me to a place where I can truly appreciate all that my life is and my husband for who he is.


No doubt I sometimes lament that I "wasted" 8 years of my life... but I didn't, lots of valuable lessons were learned; I didn't suffer for nothing.  Life isn't easy; and sometimes there are just certain things we have to go through to become who we are meant to be.

nonmember avatar Jen

When you know, you know.
As for Freela's comment, I do find it rather interesting that for white women in particular, the interracial divorce rate is very high (exception being Hispanic man/white woman), but for white men, the reverse is basically true.
My theory is that the families make their lives hell because society tends to protect white woman (and guard their partnering) above all other women.

nonmember avatar Laura

I was married at 21, and now at 40 years old we have been married 19 years and have 3 teenage kids. It's been a good marriage, and I never doubted that he was "the one" during our engagement. I was nervous about getting married, but those nerves were concerning the ceremony itself, not him (e.g., was my dress okay, would the flower girl mess up, would I trip on my train, etc).

nonmember avatar Kay Dee

I love him and he loves me. I am career driven, I had this perfect picture of life with him until he proposed. He isn't rich. His extended family are not at peace with themselves. Since the proposal, i ve been pretty scared that I almost cry every night. I am not happy sometimes when I think about him. I weep when I attend weddings and I see how happy the bride is. I wonder if I would be that glad on my own day. Should I marry him? Is he the one? Is something wrong with me? He loves me more than life itself, should I break up with him? How will I even break up with a man who loves me and loves me again?

1-9 of 9 comments