You may have said yes already, but, weeks after you announced your engagement, all you can think is, oh no. But second-guessing your decision to tie the knot to your true love is common, our expert says, thanks to the stress of wedding planning — paired with fear over the future.
According to Lesli Doares, marriage coach and author of Blueprint For a Lasting Marriage, a combination of nonstop wedding questions to nosy in-laws and the minutia of merging your lives is enough to make any sane bride question whether tying the knot is really worth it.
But the good news is that not feeling firm in your decision to wed doesn't automatically deal a death sentence to your relationship. If you're feeling frustrated, Doares says, it's time to find a quiet moment to ask yourself this question: how do I really feel about being married to my partner? "If it is the right decision," she says, "the feeling should be one of calm and happiness, not agitation."
In other words, while feeling nervous about your big day and taking such a big step is completely normal, the fears you feel should be based in positive agitation — looking forward to the day and your life together without being completely sure how it will all come together. Explains Doares, "With the right decision, there should be a sense of calm and inevitability about it. It all should flow freely and easily."
If you can't feel that underlying sense of calm beneath the wedding-planning turmoil that is your second-guessing emotions, it's time to dig a little deeper, Doares says. "Anything that creates bumps or uncertainty should be addressed as quickly and deeply as possible," she says, suggesting you ask yourself, why marriage, and why now? Why this particular person? Doares says, "It's not enough to want to be married in the abstract. You have to want to marry this particular person — at this particular time in your life."
Struggling with these answers could be a sign it's time to talk to an impartial third party, someone completely unconnected to the outcome of your ultimate decision, Doares says. But it's also A-OK, and even recommended, to be open and honest about your concerns with your significant other. "Talk about what you each envision married life to look like," Doares suggests. "Ask each other what you've learned about marriage from your parents, and what you would want to do the same and differently."
Still filled with doubt? Then, Doares says, whether you put your wedding on hold or call it off entirely should be based on the severity of your second-guessing. "Having concerns about the outsized influence of your partner's family might be something that can be worked through," she says. "But recognizing that your partner is not a good match or that you disagree about serious life issues like having children, cannot. Marriage shouldn't be entered into if there are any real doubts."