Every bride and groom has, at some point before their wedding day, had serious jitters about the day itself and what it all means. It’s such a huge commitment to make that it’s no wonder it can leave us suddenly feeling dry mouthed and panicky.
But how do you know when it’s just a case of pre-wedding jitters or whether it’s something a little more serious and what can you do about it?
Wedding Planning Woes
In many cases the wedding jitters can be put down to months, sometimes even years, of planning and preparation and finally the day itself arrives and now you find out whether all that planning will come together and culminate in the perfect day or whether it will all go pear-shaped.
This anxiety over last minute preparations can often lead to bickering as both the bride and groom-to-be get stressed and anxious over trivial details. This will then be blown up into a full-scale argument with the bride wondering if he loves her at all as he seems so disinterested in the entire proceedings whilst he may feel that she’s controlling and bossy and start to question as to whether this hysterical, obsessed woman is the right one for him after all!
Other worries could be about life after marriage. You may have noticed that your married friends don’t go out much anymore or were expected to produce offspring straight away. Girls may start to wonder if he just needs a mother figure, whilst boys will have been told horror tales by their mates about nagging wives. You wonder if, once you become wed, you’ll take each other for granted and life will become like an Andy Capp cartoon.
Another panic situation is when you start questioning if your partner is the right one for you. You start to notice all their imperfections and bad habits and suddenly everyone else seems much better looking, funnier and minus all those bad habits you’ve started to hate. You wonder if you’re settling down too soon and shouldn’t play the field a little more first. In other words you lose sight of what it is that made you fall in love with them in the first place.
Avoiding Wedding Jitters
So how can you avoid these wedding jitters and what do you do once they are there? Well the first thing to do is to take a step back. Many couples rush into marriage because they feel pressured to do so. Once you announce your engagement you are bombarded with questions about setting a date and some couples go along with this without really thinking it through first. So take some time out to just enjoy being together and discussing your plans without the pressure of a date that is hurtling towards you like a speeding bullet.
Another good tip is counselling. Now you may think that counselling is just for couples who are going through a bad patch, but you couldn’t be more wrong. More and more couples are opting for pre-wedding counselling as a chance to be open and honest with each other about expectations, fears and concerns.
Before my husband and I got married we were offered counselling sessions by the church and reluctantly took them up. Neither of us expected much but were surprised by the depth of the questions and issues raised that we really hadn’t considered before, such as our attitudes towards money and how important we felt our own families were (one girl who placed her family above her fiancé seemed shocked when her fiancé objected). Couples who are honest and up front with each other before the wedding are much more likely to succeed afterwards.
A Serious Case of Cold Feet
If you feel that your wedding jitters are much more than that, then you need to do a bit of self-analysis. Ask yourself if you are prepared to accept this person, as they are, without the need to change any part of them; if you are prepared to share your entire life with this person, including your hopes and dreams for the future. If you can’t say a definite yes then you probably need to shift the focus off the wedding and onto your relationship. No matter how bad you think it would be if you cancelled a wedding, the cost and trauma of a divorce would be worse.
Sit down with your partner and gently explain your fears and thoughts. You may find that they have already picked up on the fact that something is wrong and could be relieved that you’ve finally told them what it is. You may also feel, after you’ve had a heart to heart with your partner, your doubts dissipate and you realise that they are The One after all. Or you may decide to postpone the wedding to work on your relationship.
Either way you’ll feel a huge weight lift off your shoulders once you release your doubts into the open and will be in a much better frame of mind to decide whether you want to take that extra step in your relationship or not.
Image: Christopher Campbell