Between all the reality TV centered around love, those couples that overshare on social media and Bruno Mars serenading all of us with a marriage proposal, there’s no denying the marvel of marital bliss is all around us! If you’re in a healthy, loving relationship, you too might find yourself dreaming of the day you get to walk down the aisle and say “I do” to your adoring partner.
But according to the American Psychological Association, 40 to 50 percent of marriages today will end in divorce — which means the saturation of a culture inundated with a rhetoric of “happily ever afters” depicting the “perfect life” are not exactly what we put them up to be.
While cold feet before the big day are normal, if you’ve been having second thoughts that affect your mood, create anxiety and make you unhappy months before, tell your wedding planner to sit tight because you might want to rethink your decision.
There’s a difference between being a private, introverted person and being secretive. You’ll never have a healthy relationship if you’re not fully honest with your partner or willing to share certain details of your life with them. If you begin withholding important information prior to the wedding, you either share it with your love before tying the knot or keep those secrets to yourself and don’t get married. The more comfortable we become with keeping our skeletons in the closet, the more we flex that muscle for telling bigger lies. As an immutable aspect to a loving partnership, recognize secrets eventually spell disaster with a capital “D.”
Always listen intently to your intuition — women are rarely wrong! If you find you’re doubting yourself or fiancé, express those fears to your partner effectively prior to holy matrimony. Love is not just built on a solid friendship, but it’s rooted in trust and anything less shared is an indicator of a faulty union. Moreover, your happiness could depend on it as the Journal of Family Psychologysuggests women who have doubts about walking down the aisle are significantly more likely to be unhappy with their marital union several years later and have relatively high divorce rates.
Not loving your partner for who they are
While love is the number one reason to get married, you need to love your partner for who they are in the present moment. Of course they have potential to be amazing and fulfill their purpose, but if you hope they’ll change themselves or their ideals down the road, you’re not ready. People rarely change and the illusion of marriage transforming a partner is often a pipe dream. Real love is about acceptance and growing together, not apart. If anything, a mutual respect, shared goals and compatibility are significant traits that have the power to exceed love more than love itself.
Dating for less than two years
We sometimes find partners that create an unparalleled happiness in our soul, but if you’ve been dating for less than two years, you may not be ready for marriage. While there are no hard and fast rules, studies report holding off longer to marry leads to long-term marital satisfaction with lower chances of divorce. According to Penn State University, couples who dated an average of two years before marriage were most happily married than those who dated less than a year. Meanwhile, Emory University found those who dated three or more years were 39 percent less likely to get a divorce than those who had dated less than a month to a year. This might be because it takes a year beyond the initial infatuation associated with newness and insecurity, and another year to see if it’ll really last.
If you’re hesitating to discuss with your partner important issues like money, religion, sex, or the potential for expanding your family, you’ll inevitably run into issues. Licensed marriage and family therapist, Melissa Risso stresses the key foundational qualities of trust, respect and communication, adding if issues are unresolved, it can lead to unhealthy relationship qualities that don’t provide much reason to stay together. Additionally, don’t ever assume a relationship will work itself out. The Journal of Family Psychology reports newlywed women who are overly confident in their belief that a relationship will improve on its own show the biggest decrease in marital satisfaction.