Doubts before marriage: why they appear, and what to do
Having doubts before marriage is a more normal phenomenon than we think.
In this article we will see what are the possible causes of this psychological state of anxiety and uncertainty, and what we can do to manage it.
Why do doubts arise before marriage?
It is true that in relationships where a wedding is planned, fidelity is the most important thing, but being nervous and asking questions during the weeks before the wedding is part of the need to think about everything that implies changing one’s lifestyle.
The implications of being someone’s husband or wife go beyond the realm of love: they involve changing one’s marital status before the state, making longer-term plans, being perceived by others as someone who devotes time to their family, and in many cases experiencing more pressure to have children.
In short, there are different reasons why doubts may arise before marriage . Let’s see what the most common ones are.
1. Uncertainty about living together
In many cases, getting married means consolidating a lifestyle in which one lives with one’s partner on a daily basis, for many months at a time without interruption. This can be problematic for some people who are used to seeing their partner more intermittently .
In this way, the wedding acts as a symbolic beginning of a period of life in which the other person will always be there. And that means adapting to another phase of life, which is a challenge.
2. Social pressure for non-breakup
Doubts before marriage are also a response to the social pressure experienced once one has passed the altar ; fundamentally, the environment of married people expects them not to divorce or separate.
Although divorce is a legal possibility, that does not mean that being divorced or not being divorced is the same in the eyes of others; at best, such a separation generates disappointment and sadness in others, and at worst, it also produces stigmatization.
This is why many people who are getting married do not only think about their relationship with the person they love ; they also think about the possible impact on their family and circle of friends that a divorce or separation would have.
3. Doubts about being prepared
Both future wives and husbands often wonder if they are ready to get married, in a broad sense that does not have to do only with the daily living with the other person. Married life is glorified to such an extent that it acquires an almost mystical status, as if only those who have gone through certain experiences and reflections can try to move on to that phase of life.
This is partly true, but the importance of previous experience should not be exaggerated; in many ways, one learns to be married as one goes along.
4. Premonitory thoughts
Because of this idealization of marriage that we have seen before, some people fear the premonitory moments that may indicate that the married relationship has no future .
Since getting married is seen as something very important, it is very easy for many people to relate the idea of the future wedding to other events that happen to them, so that they interpret apparently banal situations as premonitions that getting married would be a mistake. And this, of course, generates doubts before marriage.
5. The cost of opportunity
Being married predisposes us not to be seduced by other people in a romantic or sexual sense, if you follow a traditional monogamous model. This means that getting married has an opportunity cost; while you are with that person, you miss opportunities to meet other possible lovers or even potential husbands and wives, as time goes by.
And sometimes the doubt that this idea triggers is: “do I know for sure that my partner is the best thing that can happen to me? Not having much experience having boyfriends or girlfriends predisposes one to ask this question.
How do you handle pre-marital questions?
Here are some tips on what we can do to not let pre-marriage doubts play against our psychological well-being.
1. Give yourself some time and think
This is the first and most important step; you have to look for materially situations in which you can reflect calmly : parks and natural sites are especially recommended.
2. Classify your motives
The second advice about what to do about doubts before the wedding has to do with sorting out ideas : what are the causes of these doubts? Do they all point in one direction, or in several?
For example, it is not the same to ask yourself questions about whether you are ready to get married as it is to ask yourself if the other person is right. The latter is much more important.
3. Avoid Manichean thinking
We must avoid judging our thoughts and ideas in a very morally rigid way; in a person there can be thoughts that are partly contradictory to each other, and that is normal.
4. Consider if you are doing it all by inertia
Do you really want to get married, or is it all because you’ve given in to pressure from others? If the latter happens, it doesn’t have to mean the end of a relationship . Not only is it legitimate to postpone the moment of marriage, but it is not even obligatory to get married to show love.
5. Ask yourself if you have done anything that amounts to infidelity
In relationships, infidelities are signs of unresolved conflicts, or a lack of commitment to the relationship that cannot be covered by more layers of apparent commitment (in this case, a wedding). When faced with infidelity, the relationship must be reformulated, and in many cases it is advisable to attend couples therapy .
6. Discard magical thinking
Premonitory thoughts must be rejected outright; they are a simple illusion fed by anxiety. This is very important to keep in mind.
- Gu R., Huang Y.X., Luo Y.J. (2010). “Anxiety and feedback negativity”. Psychophysiology. 47 (5): 961 – 7.
- Hartley C.A., Phelps E.A. (2012). “Anxiety and decision-making”. Biological Psychiatry. 72 (2): 113 – 8.