What do you do if you’re getting married but at the same time feeling scared to get married?
I remember we once coached a young couple who came to us 4-5 months prior to their already scheduled wedding. They came to us because she in particular was getting very cold feet about getting married. They both still had questions they felt weren’t answered and issues they were worried about getting worse if they did go through with the marriage.
If that’s you, here’s the first thing we’d tell you: Don’t feel bad if you’re feeling scared or having concerns. Getting married is a big deal, so don’t make up that there’s something wrong with you, your spouse-to-be or your relationship.
In fact, getting cold feet or feeling scared to get married can lead to important discoveries that can end up improving your upcoming marriage (or in some cases, stopping you from getting married to a partner who’s not the best match for you).
So for starters, examine why you’re feeling scared to get married. What exactly is it you’re scared of or concerned about. Is it about …
- Marriage itself (the whole idea of marriage)?
- Hesitation about your partner or your partner’s personality?
- Unspoken concerns about your partner’s behaviors (see post about dealing with emotionally unavailable partner here …)
- Concerns about breakdown’s you’ve had in the past, or unresolved issues?
- Or something else?
Whatever your specific concerns are, you want to take a look at those (see this post about how to communicate about relationship issues).
Commitment is great and admirable, but it’s also worth listening to your fears and hesitations before you commit. To this day, Sonika & I have an operating agreement that we don’t move forward with any significant changes in our lives before we’re both on the same page about it. Getting married definitely falls into the category of “significant changes”, so take the time to examine this.
Another perspective on commitment is that you’re not just committing to your future spouse, but to yourself and your own ability to deal with what comes up. You’re in effect saying to yourself, “I trust that I and we will be able to handle any conflict and difficulty that shows up on in our relationship and our life”. If for some reason, you’re not ready to make that commitment, you want to know why.
To get more specific, ask yourself this question:
“What would I need to see change – with my partner, myself and/or our relationship – for me to enthusiastically say YES to marriage?”
For example, some of the couples we’ve coached answered the question like this …
- I need us to work out our financial agreements and how we deal with money
- We need to figure out how to deal with conflicts
- I need to speak up about my partner’s withdrawal
- We love each other, but our sex life isn’t working well … we need to talk about that
Each of your answers to this question will be an item on your to-look-at-list. Once you have that list, reach out to us for coaching, or use a friend or trusted mentor if you need more help. Whatever you do, don’t just ignore your concerns and blow right past them.
Having fears and concerns about getting married is just like any other fear or concern that will show up in your marriage. As a couple, how would you like to see you deal with conflicts, fears, and concerns? Do you want you to ignore them and not say anything? Or do you want to have a relationship where you can safely share your concerns and help each other find solutions and peace of mind?
I’m guessing the latter. And that process starts right now, not after your tie the knot.
PS. If what you need to work on includes making apologies for past breakdowns, check out our mini-workshop for couples, How To Make An Apology That Works here …