"When I got engaged, I was sure I was making the right decision.
However, a few nagging thoughts escalated in the months between the engagement and the wedding.
Fixating on those thoughts eventually put me in a place where my anxiety and fear made me question my relationship.
I worried that I'd have to spend a little time every day in my marriage being sad.
Dear Newly Engaged Me: Here's a laundry list of what I wish I'd known from the start:
Educate yourself about what's normal -- but not talked about
Your engagement will be a wild ride, emotionally.
You will be exhausted, emotionally, early on. Be nice to yourself, take a step back, don’t think about the wedding for a while. Take a break, you will need it.
Read and re-read Allison’s book, Emotionally Engaged: A Bride's Guide to Surviving the "Happiest" Time of Your Life again and again and watch the Happy Bride's Secret Toolkit videos. Educate yourself on what's normal for brides-to-be to feel, but not talked about.
Let go of any expectations you may have. You won’t be able to anticipate what happens next.
Before I contacted Allison, I felt overwhelmed.
Unable to deal with the the complexities of both my changing situations and the emotions that went along with them.
My analytical brain was on overdrive, and I knew I wasn't in a good place. I knew I had found the woman I wanted to marry, but I was unsure of whether I could go through with it.
How could I be absolutely sure I was doing the right thing?
Why "Perfect On Paper" Is Not Enough
For months, they tried to talk themselves into these marriages
The Worst Thing You Can Say to a Bride or Groom With Cold Feet Before the Wedding
When a friend tells you she (or he) is having cold feet before the wedding, what's the worst thing you can say?
"If you're having any doubts,
you should call off your wedding."
Here's why it's so wrong:
1. It's not helpful. It's condescending and also stating the obvious. (They've been down this road many times before in their own mind). And your saying it out loud is just not helpful. In fact, it just makes them feel worse for struggling with their feelings.
2. It's too simplistic. True, it may be the guy or the girl they're about to marry who's not the right fit. But there are many other possible sources of a bride or groom's cold feet -- family issues, fear of growing up into full adulthood, sadness about the end of single life. I've written a whole book about it.
3. It's alienating. You're the one who's going to be alienated from his or her process of figuring it out if you make a bold suggestion like calling off the wedding. You've come across as judgmental and so have just made yourself an unsafe person to confide in.
Keywords: #coldfeet, #coldfeetwedding, #coldfeetgroom, #coldfeetbride, #coldfeetmarriage
When a friend confides in you that she has cold feet before her wedding, what's the most helpful way to respond?
First, show your friend that you can handle her complex and contradictory situation. Let her know through your words and actions that you can tolerate the discomfort, complexity, and sensitivity of her situation.
Don't say,"If you have any doubts, then you should call off your wedding," (Click to read my blog post on why it's so wrong.)
Say that, and your friend will likely cross you off her list of confidantes. She may even stop talking with you about what's going on altogether and move on to a friend who won’t have such a strong opinion, be judgmental or tell her what she should do.
Here are 5 ways to help a friend with cold feet before his or her wedding:
Do you read the "Modern Love" column in the SundayNew York Times?
I know I should read International news or the Op-Eds first, but Modern Love is always one of the first pages I turn to. The personal essays are always so intimate and thoughtful.
"Nursing a Wound in an Appropriate Setting," by Thomas Hooven ran last November.
It's his story about how his girlfriend of 12 years ended their relationship.... 3 weeks before the wedding.
It's a lovely, heartfelt description of heartbreak, recovery, and eventually finding the right love for himself.
Hooven describes a key characteristic for a healthy relationship; he put it so beautifully, that I decided to make a video for you about it.
Watch my YouTube video: "Is Your Relationship a Basketball or a Vase?"
Whether or not you walk down the aisle is entirely up to you.
For my part, I care about helping people make the best decisions they can about their upcoming weddings, whether it's calling it off or working through the feelings that cause them indecision.
I’ve been counseling brides and grooms with cold feet for more than 12 years, and I understand how difficult it is to have doubts and ask the hard questions.
Having cold feet before your wedding is complicated.
Is it him? Her? You? The relationship? The wedding itself?
Untangling your feelings of cold feet before your wedding can sometimes seem like unraveling a complex knot.
It doesn't help when a well-meaning family member or friend who knows you are struggling and upset says, “If you have any doubts, you should just call it off.”
It only makes you feel worse.
Because it’s bad advice.
If you call off your wedding just to get rid of your uncomfortable feelings of cold feet,
you’ll still have to make sense of WHY you called it off.
For your own life narrative -- for your sense of who you are as a person -- you’ll need a clear understanding of why you canceled your wedding beyond It just didn't feel right.
To help you reach that clear understanding, I’ve created a 5-day cold feet email course to help you get to the root causes of your cold feet.
Yes, you may ultimately determine that this man or woman just isn't right for you. But in my experience, that isn’t always the case. And with a decision this big, it's wise to leave no stone unturned.
"Eight months before my wedding, I completely freaked out," wrote Ashley, a bride-to-be I'm working with right now. Her experience in bridal counseling has been so powerful that she wanted to share her story with brides everywhere. She writes:
"Whenever anyone mentioned the wedding or my fiancé, my throat tightened. I'd get short of breath. My heart raced. I was scared.
Four months earlier, I happily said "yes!" to a wonderful man who understood me inside and out and was perfect on paper. Before becoming engaged, I loved my relationship with my fiancé. I loved him, felt lucky to be with him, and that we had such a special and magical relationship.
Now, I was questioning my decision to get married because I was no longer attracted to my fiance. I felt we had lost our spark, and I was trying to talk myself into marrying him.
I was so confused.
I never imagined I'd have cold feet. I thought cold feet only happened right before your wedding.
It's normal for brides-to-be to experience times of uncertainty during their engagements. Uncertainty about the relationship, the wedding, the guy.
It's normal, yes, but it's really upsetting and difficult, especially when everyone's expecting you to be only confident, sure, and 100% certain.
What can you do with your feelings of uncertainty?
This is what we'll discuss at this Wednesday's Google Hangout for Brides: what uncertainty might mean, what it's purpose is and how to work through it.
9-10pm EST: I will moderate the conversation, keeping it focused on managing uncertainty. I'll also lead you all in an exercise to help you deepen your understanding of what's going on.
How to be a Happier