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Brides: Got Cold Feet? Listen To Your Head

Brides: Got Cold Feet? Listen To Your HeadIt’s not unheard of for either the bride or groom to get cold feet before the wedding. Some pre-wedding anxiety is perfectly normal and natural, as virtually everyone experiences such anxiety to one degree or another.

But if you have real hesitation and doubt about going forward with the wedding, you may want to listen to your head and those doubts. Because new research released last week suggests that a woman’s hesitation before her wedding might predict a bumpy road ahead.

Newlywed wives who had doubts about getting married before their wedding were two-and-a-half times more likely to divorce four years later than wives without these doubts. Among couples still married after four years, husbands and wives with doubts were significantly less satisfied with their marriage than those without doubts.

The researchers, led by Justin Lavner, a UCLA doctoral student in psychology, studied 232 couples in Los Angeles during the first few months of marriage and then checked in on the spouses every six months for four years.

Among the wives who expressed doubts about getting married, 19 percent were divorced 4 years later, compared with only 8 percent women who did not report doubts. For husbands, those figures were 14 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

In 36 percent of couples, both partners said they had no doubts before the wedding. Four years later, only 6 percent of those couples had divorced.

Among couples in which both spouses reported premarital doubts, 20 percent got divorced. Of couples in which only the husband reported doubts, 10 percent got divorced, compared with 18 percent of couples who got divorced when only the wife had doubts.

What Do I Do If I Have Doubts Before My Wedding?

Doubts don’t mean doom for the relationship. There’s a few easy things you can do to put those doubts to bed.

  • Talk to your partner before the wedding. If communication is key to a relationship’s health, there’s no better time to put that to the test before the wedding. Sometimes talking about your insecurities and doubts with your partner can help reduce your anxiety and answer any questions you may have.
  • Talk to others for an objective point-of-view. Perhaps the emotionality of the wedding preparations are clouding how you see your significant other. Talking to an objective third-party might help put things into perspective — and see if they’re grounded in reality or not.
  • Don’t ignore real problems. Sometimes real problems crop up as a result of wedding planning, or just getting to know one another better in a deeper relationship that’s moving to a lifetime commitment. By dealing with these problems head-on, you can figure out if they are solvable before you make the commitment. By ignoring them or putting them off, you may be trying to convince yourself they’ll solve themselves.
  • Don’t allow yourself to be pressured. Weddings are often large, well-coordinated and expensive events. Don’t let the event take on a life of its own so much that you feel like you couldn’t call it off if the doubts aren’t resolved by the time of the wedding.

Anxiety and doubt are not the same thing. If you have real doubts about getting married, listen to those doubts and take action. It may not mean anything, but you won’t know unless you make a concerted effort to address it proactively — before the wedding.

Read the full article: Premarital Doubts are Legitimate Warning Signs

Brides: Got Cold Feet? Listen To Your Head

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder of Psych Central. He is a psychologist, author, researcher, and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 1995. Dr. Grohol has a Master's degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member of the Society for Participatory Medicine. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

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APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2018). Brides: Got Cold Feet? Listen To Your Head. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 16 Sep 2012)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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