Tuesday, December 01, 2009

In Doubt But Still Going Through With the Wedding

Posted by Michele Olson

Sitcoms do a good job of showing us of people getting cold feet right before the wedding. Friends and family always tell the person: “This is normal, everyone gets cold feet.”

But when should you pay attention to those thoughts and feelings? In a USA Today article today, reporter Sharon Jayson shed some light on the subject. The story includes info on several books by Carl Weisman. He wrote a book called So Why Have You Never Been Married? 10 Insights Into Why He Hasn’t Wed. When a divorced woman he knows made the comment that she didn’t listen to her inner voice before she married, she knew she was going to be divorced before she even married her husband, he had another book idea. This caused Weisman to survey over 1,000 people and write: Serious Doubts, Why People Marry When They Know it Won’t Last.

In his interviews he found a common thread; these people ignored their "inner voice" warning them against the marriage. He states this is different than pre-wedding jitters.

Another author Andrea Candell wrote: His Cold Feet: A Guide for the Woman Who Wants to Tie the Knot With the Guy Who Wants to Talk About it Later. How’s that for a book title? She too found a difference between cold feet and more serious reservations.

The article sites several “why’s” for this practice of marrying when you know all is not well:
1) Not heeding early warning signs and advice of family and friends.
2) Thinking it will work out in the end and deciding to go through with it.
3) Pregnancy
4) Thinking the person is too good to pass up, even though there is no spark.
5) Getting engaged and letting that whole process take over along with the fantasy of happily ever after.
6) Not wanting to hurt their partner and believing they can learn to love them
7) Thinking they won’t find someone else.

The in-depth article points out that researchers are doing more scientific studies on the subject.
Pre-marital counseling and education are mentioned as one of the ways that people can discover they should or shouldn’t be married.

Other factors that keep people going toward the alter when they feel they aren’t sure:
*They feel ready to be married or at the right age to be married.
*Feelings of : If I don’t take advantage of this, I may miss out on this opportunity.

Scott Stanley, co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver points out that co-habitation can be part of the problem. Some of these couples who ended up marrying would never have reached the alter if they had not been living together. They "slide" into the decision to marry rather than "deciding" to marry.

It’s an interesting article and hopefully talking about it will get someone in the situation of not being sure to really think through the decision. Even the “best divorce” if there is such a thing, is a painful ordeal. It’s clear that one of the better ways to really discover if you are right for each other is pre-marital education. Check into what is available in your community for pre-marital education and know that thinkmarriage.org does offer this resource in the form of classes in Wisconsin and online for everyone at thinkmarriage.org. The engagement check up is right on our home page, and online classes will run throughout the year.

Don’t enter into marriage unsure. It’s not worth it. You have options and resources.
Did you marry knowing it wasn't right for you? Tell us your story.


Anonymous said...

Before I got married, or had even met my husband, I asked those who had been divorced when they knew it wasn't going to work out. Almost all of them, including my grandmother, said they knew it before they walked down the aisle! I was shocked to see this trend even with people in my own life.

When it was my turn to get married, I paid close attention to any warning signs and dealt with any concerns before we wed. My fiance and I stayed focused on our up coming marriage and not just the wedding day. When that wedding day arrived, I had no inner voice warning me, my family and friends were in total agreement with the marriage, and I was thrilled to be marrying my best friend.

Thankfully, we've been married over five years. Though we can't say things have been perfect, we've grown through trials together and have come out the other side stronger.

thinkmarriage.org said...

Dear Anon,
Thanks so much for sharing your story. Guess what? No one can say "it's been perfect" and if they do, I am afraid they were lying. It can be awesome and great, but not perfect, cuz no two "perfect" people get married!
Glad you had such insight before you married. Keep blogging...your thoughts encourage other people!