Pre-wedding jitters are a funny thing, because sometimes even the most sensible of people get them. My fiancée is one of the most level-headed of people I’ve ever met (one of the many reasons I love her). As a person, she thinks through everything and is a very rational person (which balances out me being an occasional irrational spazz). So it was much to my surprise that the other day she said she had a moment of freakout about our upcoming pre-wedding (we’re getting married in Mexico in November, so we decided to get our marriage license this week on the anniversary of our first date; according to the guvment we’ll officially be hitched, but our wedding won’t be for another 4 months).
After we talked a while, we discovered together that her freakout wasn’t as much her fearing a life bound to me (although many women would … god love her for finding my foibles and idiosyncrasies cute), but instead simply a fleeting bout of nerves emanating from the thought of how to account for everything that might happen to us down the road.
On the face of it, marriage does seem a bit unnatural. I mean, I can’t even commit to buying the same peanut butter or shampoo, so how can I expect to remain committed to a person who has changing moods, health, jobs, etc., with the whole dynamic getting even crazier when you add kids to the mix. You’d think that all that variability would scare the living crap out of all of us. And some of us it actually does, but it doesn’t need to.
My mom was an ordained minister for years, and she has mentioned that the reasons people get the jitters (and in extreme cases cold feet) are due to a few things. First, they fear the change that marriage will bring. Most of us have many routines, myself included. Every morning if I don’t floss, brush my teeth, shower, get dressed, walk the dogs, eat my Puffins cereal (excellent organic stuff, and the PB version is like the adult version of PB Captain Crunch without all the extra sugar or calories) and read my e-paper (in that order), I feel a bit awkward and uncomfortable, akin to putting on my underwear inside out. Most people are also creatures of habit, and getting married is possibly the biggest change in someone’s life, especially if you haven’t already lived together.
However, the thing to remember is that clinging to a routine and habit is a grasp at the familiar and safe, and few people have discovered true happiness without putting themselves out there and taking a leap of faith. And remember, getting married isn’t a risk as long as you really know and love the person you’re marrying. I would bet that your sig other is probably the person you adore most on this planet, and they’re not a scary person (unless they’re a trained assassin or something, and then you have a whole other set of issues that we don’t have time to discuss here). In fact, they’re the opposite; they want to bring you happiness, comfort, joy and all those other great, mushy feelings. I guess what I’m saying here is, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Nuf said.
The second reason people get a bit shaky about the future is they start thinking about all the “what ifs,” many of which aren’t even based in reality. What if my husband gets terminally ill? What if my wife has stroke and I can’t cope with it? What if he cheats on me (even though he’s never, ever shown anything that would even remotely make you suspicious)? What if we hit upon a problem (often money-related) that drives us apart? To be honest, you can “what if” yourself into the ground for practically anything, but when it comes to a commitment for the rest of your life, the supply of “what ifs” is infinite. Which is why this line of inquiry can only lead down a dark road. You can never prepare for anything and everything that marriage will throw at you. But you can pick the partner who you know will be the perfect companion to help you face all those “what ifs.” So before you start asking all those questions, ask yourself if this is the best person to help you face all the “what ifs” that may come up. Chances are the answer is “yes.”
About the blogger
Our guest blogger Jeff is co-owner of My Wedding Workbook, a free online wedding planning toolkit that helps engaged couples manage all their wedding details. He also has his own wedding blog called Groomasaurus, which offers a groom’s take on planning a wedding.