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Are your feet too cold before you get married?

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Many people get cold feet prior to marriage. We almostexpect it from guys, and it seems a rite of passage prior to the wedding day.A new study published online in the Journal of Family Psychology fromresearchers at the University of California in Los Angeles have reported thata four-year study of 464 newlyweds finds that those with uncertainty wereless satisfied with their marriage, and it seems the women with doubts were 2.5times more likely to divorce than women who were doubt free.

The surveyquestion they asked was so simple that the answers limited their ability todetermine if the doubt was stemming from their potential husband or marriage ingeneral. The question the researchers asked was, "Were you ever uncertain orhesitant about getting married?" The test subject answered yes or no.  Among the newlyweds, 47% of husbands and 38%of wives reported doubts. Although husbands had more doubts than wives, whenwomen had doubts they were better predictors of divorce.

When helping couples in pre-marital counseling it is quitecommon to see both partners have pre-marital jitters. Many times, the guysexpress a bit more anxiety due to their ability to be a good husband forever.Women are commonly concerned with the wedding itself and may get swept up inthe excitement of the wedding day. Guys will often withdraw from engaging inthe wedding plans because they feel that since it is "her day" they will lether organize the plans the way she wants to. This may be a mistake, because thestress from planning the wedding day and his lack of involvement may make hisbride-to-be wonder if this will be his approach to other events they celebrate.Is she marrying someone who is going to celebrate and help with the work, orsomeone who just shows up? Men may deny problems until they become extreme, andmay not notice his fiancee's disappointment or resentment. She may becomeanxious and begin to consider what this person will be like as a lifelongpartner. 

If you are getting married and worried about the way youfeel, it will be worthwhile to try and get to the bottom of your cold feet. Iwork with married couples, and also note that many couples that had pre-maritaljitters are still happily married after twenty plus years. There are alsocouples that never doubted their choice and married lifestyle, yet stilldivorced. The key is realizing marriageis a lifestyle, not an escape. All marriages have bad days, months and years,but the commitment and wanting to do and be better together keep the marriagealive.  Below are few suggestionsthat can help you and your fiancee with pre-marital anxiety.

  1. If you suffer from anxiety and depression priorto the marriage, there is a good chance you will suffer from pre-maritaljitters. Life happens, and when people are stressed they go back to learnedpatterns. Getting married is a stressful event. If you are feeling depressedand anxious, your first stop is always taking time for stress management and seeinga doctor if you're not able to stop obsessing.
  2. Couples who plan the wedding together and areboth active in making decisions suffer less from cold feet. If one of youwithdraws saying you don't care about the wedding day, or you leave all theplans to your fiancee, serious pre-marital jitters can happen. Marriage takes ateam. Start from the first day you begin to talk about the wedding day.
  3. Couples who have pre-marital counseling haveless pre-marital jitters and learn how to argue and voice their concerns moreeasily. When you can talk about anything with your fiancee prior to themarriage there is less need to worry about the things that are unsaid. If younever argue with your partner, then most likely, a lot of things are goingunsaid (it is probable that these unsaid things are important).
  4. If your cold feet are all consuming, and youhave doubts, the worst thing is not calling off the wedding. The worst thing isgetting married, having kids, and then remembering that you felt from thebeginning the marriage wouldn't work. In all things, the best time to addressissues is before they begin affecting innocent people. Your future children areinnocent souls, and children should not be born in an attempt to save astruggling marriage.

This study was interesting, because it offers insight intowhat couples are thinking prior to marriage. Women are the backbone to ahealthy family; they bear children, help care for the children, and themarriage offers women stability in order to achieve this. Women are wired withintuition, and many times that becomes blinded with their fantasy of being abride. This study supports the need to talk to your fiancee about your fearsprior to the wedding. Studies are pending, but I am hopeful the morepre-marital counseling couples can engage in, will be the key to healthier,stronger marriages. If we as a societycan build stronger marriages, we can build healthier families, economies,education systems and communities.

– Mary Jo Rapini

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