Will cold feet during an engagement just go away with time? Not necessarily. Your top priority is defining the source of your cold feet. To help you get started, here are some facts and tips:
- Cold feet are common. In two-thirds of couples, one or both partners have doubts. In fact, 47% of husbands and 38% of wives have doubts before the wedding, according to a 2012 UCLA study.
- Cold feet – especially the bride’s – must be taken seriously. That same UCLA study showed that wives with doubts before the wedding are 2.5X more likely to divorce within 4 years than wives without doubts. Pre-wedding doubts by husbands do not necessarily predict divorce.
- Divorce can be both emotionally and financially traumatic. On average, divorces cost between $15,000 and $30,000 and, according to Blakeslee and Wallerstein, the long-term impacts are significant. After 10 years, 1/2 of women and 1/3 of men are still very angry at their spouses. 1/3 of women and 1/4 of men feel life is unfair, disappointing, and lonely. And both partners only achieve “happier” lives in 10% of divorces. In fact, 10 years after the divorce, the quality of life in 1/2 of women and 2/3 of men is no better off – or even worse.
- Cold feet affect how satisfying a marriage is. For couples who do not divorce, premarital doubts still produce a less satisfying marriage. Read the UCLA study’s author’s analysis.
- So should you call off your wedding right now? No. But your cold feet are telling you that now is the time to go to work – on yourself and on your relationship – so that you can make the best decision for your life and future happiness. Don’t put your head in the sand, cross your fingers that this is normal, and that this will go away just in time for your wedding. It’s time to get to work.