It’s a magical moment when you decide to spend the rest of your life together. At first, visions of your wedding, or your side-by-side rocking chairs pop into your mind. Or maybe, you romanticize the house you’ll have — or the fancy vacations you’ll take together. But as the reality of your engagement — and pending lifelong commitment to one person — sinks in, you may experience an uptick in anxious thoughts. And you may begin question: Is having doubts before my wedding a recipe for divorce? In short, no, it’s not — since psychologist and relationship gurus say even the happiest of couples have their concerns. Saying ‘I do’ and pledging your love and affection for another person is a huge declaration that can make anyone reevaluate their relationship.
If you’re nervous about having doubts before your wedding — and what’s too much — analyze your own thought patterns with this expert-backed advice.
If you have any of these inclinations swirling in your head, rest easy. These are some of the most common — and healthy — doubts soon-to-be-spouses experience.
“I’m not sure we are 100 percent compatible.”
When you imagined your ideal person, they look a little different than what you envisioned. Maybe a bit thinner. Perhaps a little more structured and practical than you would prefer. Or a night owl, instead of a morning person like you. Whatever the case, many people worry their partner isn’t totally compatible, and that because, well, they aren’t. In fact, it’s rare to find anyone who agrees with you on nearly everything — and if they did, you would probably be a bit bored.
As Jacqueline Itani, an associate at the matrimonial law firm Stutman, Stutuman and Lichtenstein explains, it’s healthier to have a 90 to 10 rule. Or even a majority over minority perspective. And perhaps even more importantly, to realize that all dynamics, including a marriage, ebb and flow with the seasons and shifts. “As long as there is that 90 percent that is compatible and right for you, you are way ahead of most,” she continues. “In a marriage, you grow together and change together, so there is a likelihood that that 90/10 can change to 95/5 or 100/0.”
“I’m worried about our families being so different.”
If you were raised Jewish and your partner is Christian, deciding on what religion you’ll practice for the ceremony — and eventually, with children if you have them — is an important discussion. And even in cases where beliefs aren’t at the forefront, our histories play a major role in our futures. Say you come from a happy family of five, where your parents still dance in the kitchen. And your partner has a segmented family due to divorce, so they have a bit more complication during the holidays as they navigate different households. Here’s the deal: differences are tough but they aren’t deal breakers, as long as you keep the lines of communication open and honest. “It shows genuine desire to have your families get along and integrate well together. However, that might be out of your control,” Itani explains. “No two families are alike and the mere fact that your parents are not as compatible as you and your spouse, should not overshadow the reasons why you and your spouse fell in love in the first place.”
“I’m anxious that we won’t make it fifty years together.”
Sure, when you look at your partner’s face today, you have nothing but love toward him or her. And when you think of their journey into parenthood, you get excited about seeing them with your child. But a lot can — and does — happen over time, and many couples wonder about the long haul. It’s all fine-and-dandy today, but what about a decade from now? How about three? Psychologist Dr. Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D. says this it’s healthy and normal to have these kinds of doubts before a wedding, since many wonder about longevity when promising something as long as… forever. A way to simmer these anxieties is to speak often and honestly to your partner about the lifestyle you want, the financial security you need, the amount of sex you think is appropriate and so on. “It is essential to know both your and your partner's thoughts and feelings about these types of topics and have an open discussion together to identify if there are any unworkable conflicts between the two of you,” she adds.
“I’m worried our sex life will change.”
You’re likely afraid of the sizzle fading in your sex life because well, it probably will. And then a few months later, it’ll pick back up. Or unfortunately, one of you will experience a medical issue, and you’ll need to shift your expectations. Physical intimacy is a vital part of a marriage for most people, but it’s also one that must mold as your marriage does. Celebrity divorce attorney and expert Vikki Ziegler suggests always been effectively and properly candid about your sexual desires and needs. And if you aren’t comfortable getting to the nitty-gritty, it’s better to speak to a therapist who can help navigate this tricky subject for some. Having this doubt before your wedding, while normal, is one that you should get ahead before it becomes an issue.
These doubts may be reason for concern.
Before you jump to the worst-case scenario, remember, even if you have these abnormal doubts, it doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed. Rather, before you proceed with marriage planning, it’s recommended to address these concerns to ensure the happiest path possible.
“He’s not sure he/she wants kids, but I know I do.”
You would probably prefer if your partner was a fanatic over pickles like you are. Or at least, was really into the same sports team. Even so, these aren’t exactly deal breakers — but there are ones that can cause many, many issues And near the top is family planning. If you definitely want to have children but your partner does not, you can leave that big of an elephant hanging between your relationship. From the decision to become parents to where and how you will raise them, these chats may feel stressful but without them, you could end up in an unfulfilling life post-’I do.’
“Many times, these conversations are the hardest to have as a couple because you might be anticipating an unfavorable answer, or you know that these decisions might not be made for years down the road. These conversations will not get any easier after you are married,” Itani explains. “It is best to have open and honest communication with your partner before you tie the knot to know and understand that you are on the same page regarding these significant issues. You do not want to hold any resentment in your marriage.”
“We fight all the time.”
Repeat after Itami: every couple — even the most compatible — have their occasional fights. In fact, how twosome handle conflict resolution speaks volumes about their dynamic: are they respectful? Can they let go and forgive? Having disagreements is par for the course in a relationship, and can make you feel better. “If you are able to communicate with your partner following these arguments, gain and appreciate an understanding of what caused the argument, and know what to do next time in order to avoid such argument, I believe that makes a relationship a lot stronger.”
But if you and your number one are constantly, always at odds? The thought of entering a marriage full of heated battles can seem daunting. “You should talk with your spouse to be and see if there is a deeper issue to these arguments and dissimilarities and together see if you can find a way to jointly move past these issues,” she recommends.
“I don’t trust him/her with our finances.”
A common cause for many divorces are tied to financial differences, according to Itani, and the more transparent we are about money, the healthier our relationship will become. In fact, money boils down to trust — and when we have a healthy amount of dependence on our partner, and believe in their abilities, we don’t question the future. But if they scoot around the truth? Ask for loans? Or don’t paint the full picture? You shouldn’t enter the marriage until you have all the facts. “As a matrimonial attorney, marriage is seen as an economic partnership and it is important that you trust your partner to have the same goals and expectations as to how you will manage your family financially. If you have any doubts about your partner’s economic disposition, it is important to discuss this with your partner before you marry to see if there can be a meeting of the minds,” Itani recommends.
“I’m worried I’m not good enough.”
Though this is a personal feeling, it is one that stems from our past or present, and without-a-doubt, impacts our future. As Dr. Thomas explains, if you are constantly wondering if you are ‘good enough’ to get married, you are suffering from self-esteem issues that need to be addressed, or it could be disastrous for your marriage. “You may even go so far subconsciously to emotionally push the significant other away in the attempt to sabotage and/or end the relationship,” she explains. “In these instances, it is key that you learn to identify and stop this type of behavior so that your relationship isn't damaged or irreparably ruined.”