Wedding Jitters vs Cold Feet: How To Tell The Difference

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Sometimes the stress of planning a wedding can throw up all kinds of anxieties that may even have you doubting your feelings for your beloved.

The final enormity of planning a declaration of life-long commitment can panic even the most head over heels couples. Cold feet do not necessarily mean you are unsuited, rather a lot of the time the attendant anxiety is about acknowledging the extent of the promises you are about to make and moving forwards accordingly.

Serious doubt about your compatibility is different from pre-wedding jitters. Here are some things to consider when trying to differentiate between simple pre wedding anxiety or the kind of feelings of cold feet that you should not ignore.

1. Think about how you evaluate your relationship

Do you love your partner and are you happy day to day in your relationship but feel your wedding day is producing so much stress you question if you are doing the right thing?

Think about your relationship on a normal day; understand weddings are stressful. The commitments you make to your partner make you happy but the stress of wedding planning does not.

This is about separating wedding day anxiety from relationship anxiety – the two are different.

2. Talk to your partner

If you have cold feet it’s a good idea to discuss this with your partner, even if you feel hesitant. If this is the person with whom you plan on sharing a lifetime, you should be able to have open, honest and sometimes difficult conversations.

This could be the opportunity for you both to discuss some of the stresses about the new and unknown future. Perhaps just getting it out in the open may actually relieve any nervousness.

3. Talk it out

A qualified therapist can give you tools for managing your anxiety, help you recognise what is cold feet and what are red flags and create a dialogue to get the support and reassurance you need from your future spouse.

Therapy can help normalise this process and help you move away from doubt and into excitement about your future. Relationships take work and transitions can be tough on a relationship.

4. Get out of the house

Take a weekend away by yourself or do other things that help clear your mind. This will give you a chance to miss your partner, and to let the emotional waves calm down so you can get a better insight into how you really feel.

5. Ask yourself the important questions

Have you worked together through the important questions? Have you gone on a compatibility revealing holiday together?

Most of the time, past behaviour predicts future behaviour, so could you handle it if your partner stayed the same throughout your marriage, or are you hoping for change?

Major changes don’t often happen.

3. Think about the future

Project forwards in your imagination and try and think of how you and your partner will feel and relate to each other one year from now.

If it gives you an inward feeling of contentment to imagine the two of you together until old age then you know marrying is what your heart really wants.

4. Get reassurance from others

Talk things through with friends and family. Do they endorse your marriage choice and do they have positive views about your relationship? Are they happy you and your other half have decided to take the plunge or are they less positive about this?

Those who know you and your partner best can give you the best advice.

5. Take action if it’s needed

If you feel overwhelming foreboding about your big day and have a serious case of cold feet for legitimate reasons then it may be time to put a break on marriage proceedings.

Remember that what matters ultimately is not the wedding day itself but the ensuing marriage. If you are consumed with the fripperies of wedding planning but feel little in your heart about the commitment you are about to make then it is time to step back and assess whether moving forwards in the relationship is the right thing to do.

Sometimes couples end up forgetting about what really matters and obsessively planning a wedding that has become more about style than substance.

Listen to your heart. Those who marry in haste always repent at leisure.

By Jo McCann, Excalibur Press