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How to Deal with Cold Feet before Your Wedding

You’re having serious second thoughts about getting married. Should you try to warm up those cold feet—or use them to run as fast as you can?


  • Step 1: Ask yourself why Ask yourself why you’re getting nervous. Is it marriage in general you don’t feel ready for—or a lifetime with your betrothed?
  • Step 2: Make a list If it’s marriage that worries you, make a list of exactly what’s beginning to freak you out. If you’re just a little bit nervous about the idea of never having sex with anyone else again, that’s normal. If you’re chafing at the mere thought of having to keep someone in the loop about your plans, that’s more serious.
  • Step 3: Make a second list If it’s the idea of life with your betrothed that has you breaking into a cold sweat, write down the person’s pros and cons.
  • TIP: If the cons outweigh the pros—or if one is on par with 'heroin dependency' or 'chronic infidelity'—call it off.
  • Step 4: Talk to loved ones Ask loved ones if they think you’re making a mistake. Pick people whose opinions you trust—and who are capable of being brutally honest with you.
  • Step 5: Talk to your intended Talk to your intended about your fears. How he or she reacts—by being understanding and reassuring about your concerns, or bitchy and sarcastic about your maturity level—will tell you a lot.
  • Step 6: Consult a third party Consult a third party, like your priest, rabbi, or spiritual counselor. Or seek out a disinterested professional, like a marital therapist. Who better to discern if you’re making a mistake than someone who counsels screwed-up couples every day?
  • Step 7: Get premarital counseling Ask your beloved if he or she would be willing to get premarital counseling with you. Here again, the person’s level of cooperation will provide valuable insight.
  • TIP: Take the Prepare/Enrich questionnaire with your intended. Four separate studies found that this survey predicts with 80% to 85% accuracy which couples will have good marriages and which will find themselves in trouble.
  • Step 8: Postpone it If after careful consideration you still don’t know what to do, postpone the wedding until you feel completely comfortable either rescheduling it or calling it off.
  • FACT: Engaged couples can now take out wedding insurance against one of them canceling due to cold feet.

You Will Need

  • Self-awareness
  • Feedback
  • A heart-to-heart with your intended
  • Therapy and counseling
  • A Prepare/Enrich questionnaire

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