It’s not at all unusual
for couples to experience doubts about marriage and commitment,
even (and in some cases, especially) when they have announced their
engagement or set a date.
Don't cancel the wedding
When we are first involved
with someone, we tend to focus on the things we have in common with
them--our similarities--and even our differences with them can seem
exciting. As intimate relationships progress, differences come more
to the fore and lead to conflict and even feelings of alienation.
This is normal, but many people are confused by this dynamic and
it is a big source of affairs.
Many people have the
notion that there is a 'perfect match' for them and that the happiness
and success of marriage depends on finding this match. With this
view, there is a lot of pressure riding on the choice of partner.
Normal differences between partners--including natural differences
in intimacy and communication styles--induce doubts about compatibility.
If you're expecting everything to be conflict free and close to
perfect, it can produce a lot of uncertainty when the reality isn't
The fact is that even
the best matched couples have 5 - 7 areas of difference and that
differences in intimacy and communication styles are nearly universal.
Couples need to learn to expect these issues and agree on success
strategies to help them work together to manage these in their relationship.
(See our article on Differences for more about this.) It is frequently
the case that as couples get closer to marriage, they encounter
new areas of conflict that surprise them.
The terrible thing about
these feelings is that they can be a lonely burden. Most people
view cold feet as unacceptable feelings that cannot be shared--certainly
not with their partner. Contrary to this impulse though, you should
consider talking with your partner.
Of course, it's not easy
to share your doubts. Your partner's first reaction may be discomfort.
If your partner loves you, they will eventually understand and accept
your feelings. They may even have some of their own to share. There
are many stories of all night, soul-searching conversations that
brought partners closer together than they had been beforehand.
Since the feelings can
be normal, the important thing is to understand the reality of the
challenges that you will face with your partner in your marriage
and what you can do to make negotiating challenge a growth experience
that will strengthen your bond and deepen your intimacy.
If you haven't done so
already, consider taking one of the many excellent relationship
inventories available. The assessment will help you understand each
other, differences in your expectations, your styles and the challenges
you will face. We encourage couples to do their inventory as part
of a pre-marriage prep program like MST, so that you'll be prepared
to address the results in the most constructive way for your relationship.
Click here for more info about relationship
Of course, there are
a number of very valid reasons to have serious doubts or concerns
about your choice of marriage partner. If you have experienced physical
or emotional abuse, betrayal, dishonesty, addiction, differences
in sexual orientation, drastic disagreements about crucial issues
(e.g., whether to have children) in your relationship with your
partner, you'd be well advised to seek counseling. Don't be reluctant
to postpone the wedding to seek counseling in these circumstances.
MST will help you identify
and work though some of the underlying sources of your concerns.
It will give you and your partner more confidence in your capacity
to succeed in your marriage. You will be reassured by your
improved understanding and preparation for the reality of marriage,
including its tremendous prospects for enriching your lives.
MST will maximize the success potential of any couple’s relationship.
Deciding whether to get or stay engaged?
Click here for more info.
Click here for info on private premarital prep packages and consultations including phone options.
Click here for info on premarital educaton seminars.
here for related reading and references list.
helps couples handle the increased stress of the pre-wedding period
in a much more healthy way, so that they can use the pre-wedding
experience to deepen their intimacy--not stress their relationship--
during this special time. Click here to learn about the benefits
2003-2005, Patricia S. & Gregory A. Kuhlman. You may copy this
article for non-commercial use provided that no changes are made
and this copyright notice, author credit and stayhitched.com source
citation are included.