It’s natural to feel nervous before your wedding day. After all, it’s one of the biggest events of your life. At the same time, it pays to listen to your gut.
While we traditionally joke about and brush off nervousness before marriage, a new study by UCLA psychologists have found a link between wedding jitters and rates of divorce. Out of the 232 new couples enrolled in the study, 64% of individuals reported feelings of hesitation or doubt before tying the knot. Over all more men than women tended to have premarital doubts. At the same time, women’s worries were a better predictor of divorce. The divorce rate for marriages in which only the husband wedding jitters was 10%, while marriages in which only the wife had been unsure, had a rate of 18%. Unsurprisingly, marriages in which both partners had been uncertain had the highest divorce rate of all at 20%. In marriages where neither spouse had felt doubt the divorce rate was low, around 6%.
There are many factors that go into a divorce and the researchers cautioned that wedding jitters are not a sign of doom for your marriage. At the same time, getting hitched is a big commitment and it’s important to address any concerns you have before taking your vows. “You know yourself, your partner and your relationship better than anybody else does; if you’re feeling nervous about it, pay attention to that,” Says Justin Lavner, the lead author of the study. “It’s worth exploring what you’re nervous about.”
Taking time to do some deep soul searching will pay off. You may discover some underlying problems in your relationship that, when worked through, will keep a marriage together that would otherwise have ended in divorce. Or, perhaps, you may realize that you are not ready to get married. You and your fiance may decide to stay engaged for a few more years in order to save money or work on professional or personal goals. And, of course, it’s possible that you decide not to marry at all. Ultimately, the fear of uncovering flaws in what “should be perfect” should not keep you from examining your doubts. If you want your marriage to succeed so badly that you’re willing to sweep anything uncomfortable under the rug, your relationship will likely end up with the very problems you fear.
Of course, if you really can’t put your finger on why you feel negative, consider the toll planning a wedding, dealing with family, and rearranging your life can take on your mental state. People often feel depressed and/or anxious during times of great transition. The important thing is to talk openly with a therapist or counselor and your future spouse.