No matter how long you’ve been together, how well you know each other, or how much you’re in love, everyone, and I mean everyone has at least a minor brush with a case of cold feet right before they walk down that aisle. Cold feet is a totally normal and natural reaction to what is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make in your entire life.
Unfortunately there are times we make a horrible mistake and knowingly marry the wrong person by turning a deaf ear to that intuitive voice we keep trying to shush. Sometimes we do it it because we think it’s the right thing to do, or because it’s what our family and friends want, or we simply feel that it’s just “that time”. Regardless of the reason, it’s a feeling that breaches past general nerves and starts churning into a heavy pit at the bottom of your stomach that you feel every time you think about the upcoming day.
So how does it even get to this “point of no return’? There are many reasons as varied as each individual’s circumstance. But what I’ve found is there’s a common thread that’s woven into the path to such a tragic journey. Listen, we all want to have the fairytale and get married “to live happily ever after”. But the only real shot we have of that happening is by making the right decision in the first place.
Here we discuss some of the common reasons why people often end up in this mess, but most importantly, how to avoid it altogether.
Do not get married to anyone you’ve been dating for less than 2 years
This is the golden rule! There is no drug that produces a stronger high than the one you feel the first couple of months of dating someone you really really really love. Now, in the middle of your addiction, it’s hard to make rational decisions and very easy to make wrong ones. So, you move way too quickly, like shacking up only after a couple of months of dating, or even worse, actually getting engaged. Resist the urge to do this! You really don’t know each other at all, and certainly not within a few months of courtship. Everyone is on their best behaviour during these trial months, so it takes longer to get to know the real you. Just wait it out for two years, the time will fly by, and you’ll be surprised how much you discover about each other!
Listen closely to the people you love and respect who tell you this isn’t right
You know who they are, trusted and respected family and friends. They sometimes have a vantage point that you don’t – distance, meaning they can see things from afar that you may not see up close. If they’re well-respected and usually right, take heed to their words of wisdom. My fiance’s (who was previously married) family all warned him right up until the day of his wedding not to go through with it. But he did anyway, knowing in his heart it was really a big mistake. I don’t need to tell you how that went, but here’s a hint: not well at all. Don’t get caught in this trap!
Do not marry because of pressure from family and friends
So many people do this. They meet someone who their family adores, but usually for the wrong reasons–most common- for money. It’s SO hard not to go along with this because people are cheering your relationship on even though you’re uncertain about it. Be certain about who you marry and why. If it’s for superficial reasons re-think your decision so your gut doesn’t beat up on you.
Do not give or accept an engagement ring if you feel it’s not right
Gentleman: If you are thinking about popping the question but it doesn’t feel right, then DON’T. Ladies: I don’t care how big and shiny that rock is, DO NOT accept an engagement ring from someone you’re unsure you can spend the rest of your life with. It’s not fair to you, and it’s definitely not fair to them. The two of you will need to have a “Where is this relationship going?” conversation to determine what’s in store (or not) for the both of you.
Do not get married just because you’re having a baby
With the modernization of family, and the stigma of “marrying out of wedlock” so outdated, it seems almost silly to even include this in the discussion. But some of us are still old-fashioned, or maybe religious factors are involved. Regardless, really try not to commit to someone simply because you’re having a baby. There are so many ways to be a family without a marriage license to legitimize the situation. Plus, no child wants their parents to be married and unhappy just because they exist.
Do not get married just to have a nice wedding
I know we all want a nice wedding. The pomp and circumstance the wedding industry sells is so completely magical and over the top, how can anyone resist? And you can have a great big ol’ wedding, but let it be with the right person, and for the right reasons. It’ll turn out to be just a big waste of time and money if it all goes south once the wedding day is over and the marriage begins.
However, if you still choose to ignore this advice there’s still some time to back out, but it has to be before you send the Save the Dates. Once those are in the mail (and definitely once the invites are sent), you really have no choice but to go through with it. Afterwards you can get an annulment if done early enough. Remember, getting married for the wrong reasons is truly a disaster. Doing so will not change your feelings for better, only for worse. And that’s no way to start a life, particularly, one together.