Dear Brides-and-Grooms-To-Be: Just Because You Said ‘Yes’ Doesn’t Mean You Have to Say “I Do”

Posted by: Shel Harrington 27 May, 2014 16 Comments

Brides and Grooms to be: Just Because You Said 'Yes' Doesn't Mean You Have to Say "I Do"Many a happy bride and groom to-be are counting down to their June wedding. But there are some that, as the date approaches, wonder if they’re doing the right thing. Some that have grave misgivings. You may be saying: “but the flowers have been ordered, the invitations sent, and gifts have arrived – so I can’t back out now.” But maybe you should.

How do you tell the difference between wedding jitters and that internal niggling that you should not go through with the wedding? Can you pinpoint specific concerns about the person or behavior of your soon-to-be spouse?

Scenario: She has shared with you that her last boyfriend cheated on her and she has trust issues. She has accused you a few times of being interested in someone else while seeing her. You aren’t and you have assured her several times that you only have eyes for her. Yet you find her snooping through the text messages on your phone – again. Do you think a marriage license will make her trust issues  disappear?

Scenario: He’s gotten a little pushy with you a few times in the past – but only after he’s been drinking. He apologized afterwards and there hasn’t been such an episode in months. You see him having a drink. You immediately tense up and think to yourself: I hope he doesn’t overdo it. Your concerns are not wedding jitters.

Concerns about any of the following are more than ‘wedding jitters’ and should not be ignored:

  • Once-flattering possessiveness that seems a little heavy-handed
  • A dependency on you to frequently bolster his/her self-esteem
  • Frequent overdoing of, or addiction to, drugs, alcohol, gambling, shopping, or other vices
  • Increasing arguments as the wedding date gets closer or about wedding issues that start with “You always . . ” or “You never . . . ” which expose hidden resentments

Emotionally unhealthy people cannot create a healthy marriage.

Fill in the blank in this statement: When I’m with my mate, I get very concerned and hold my breath whenever ___________________.

If you were able to fill in that blank, you have some thinking to do. The quicker the answer came to you, the stronger the indication that you should be questioning the wisdom of getting married at this point. If your love could not change the behavior you are concerned about, marriage won’t either.

Too many of us ignore the red flags that wave boldly – warning us against marrying this person at this time – as the wedding nears. Embarrassment tied to cancelling so close to the event (what will people think?) or concern about angering loved ones who have spent money for the wedding (or have their own expectations) clog our thinking. Such fleeting emotions should not have more weight than doing what is best for your entire future.

Cancelling a wedding that is days away and dealing with the repercussions from doing so is hard. But not nearly as hard as living with the long-term repercussions of marrying someone that you should not have married.

 

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16 Comments

  • Julie Rivers

    Stellar, Michelle!

  • Timely and definitely food for thought, Shel. Well-said (written.)

    • Shel Harrington

      And some will still be thinking about it while sipping champagne and noshing wedding cake because they’re quite sure love will conquer all!

  • good advice-listen carefully!

    • Shel Harrington

      As they say, Lin, if even ONE person gets it and makes the better decision for his/her future, I’ll consider it a success – it’s a tough message to hear.

  • Great advice, Shel! It’s a shame more people don’t pay attention to the red flags once they’re engaged.
    This post should be printed and distributed to jewelers across the county!

    • Shel Harrington

      That would be a great location for the message, but I’m pretty sure the jewelers wouldn’t participate – the returns might hurt their business!

  • This is great, Shel. I will definitely be saving this post and sending it to a few friends who may benefit from it.

    • Shel Harrington

      It’s definitely a message primarily at your generation, Marissa – share early so that the thinking process starts before the invitations are sent out. And share carefully later – it’s a message some won’t be receptive to!

  • Marriage was never ‘my’ thing. Where others dreamed of the fairytale wedding day with the white dress, who has to sit where, what all has to be arranged, the centerpieces etc etc, I crinched.
    I never could come up with a good reason why I should marry a certain person or even marry in general. So I agree that marriage is not for all and some people should’ve really reconsidered.

    But I can easily see how someone can be bound emotionally to someone and walking away can be more taunting that outsiders realise. With or without being bound on paper.

    For example, if you have an abusive partner on your hands. Married or not, they are usually not willing to loose control over you and let you walk away just like that. I experienced that already.
    It only got me more determined about not wanting a marriage in general. I still wanted that backdoor to get out when things weren’t working anymore.
    I kept that backdoor until I was 39 with grown children. Then I found my reason to marry.
    So, now I don’t have a backdoor anymore. 😛
    But I don’t think I need one anymore. 😉

    • Shel Harrington

      I’m sorry for what you went through, Mirjam. And sooooooo glad that you connected with someone who must be very special!

      • Me and many others, Shel. Domestic violence, having an abusive partner is everywhere. One in three calls to police has to do with domestic violence. That will tell you how big this world-wide problem is, because how many times calls weren’t made?

        Some women don’t even get the chance. They know it only will get worse if they do that. Or because they already experienced nothing came from filing against an abusive partner. Or because they got prevented from trying.

        I’m no expert on domestic violence, but I do understand the cycle that goes along with it. Why it’s hard for women to get away from the abuser. It just isn’t simply a case of packing your bags and it’s done. You have to be aware of the danger that awaits you if you leave. You’re in danger as well if you stay, but you immediately set yourself up for reprisals, threats, stalking etc if you leave. That’s the period that your abuser feels the loss of control the most and can decide to execute drastic actions. Very dangerous period. If you’re lucky, it stays with that and eventually dies down, leaving you alive. Obviously, I was one of the lucky ones.
        But so many weren’t and I realise all too well I could have ended up as a statistic as well. If I have had a more deranged person as an ex partner on my hands I one day would be carried outside my house in a body bag as well. The ones that did die weren’t less smart than me. That had nothing to do with it. The clue of survival also lies in what type of person you’re dealing with.
        Once you dealt with this you’ll carry the emotional scars with you. It changes who you are.
        And I care that it still happens daily to a lot of women in every country.
        I want to keep the world aware of this social problem.

        Yes, somehow I met a person that was totally different than the men I knew. Met on-line in 2004 and it took him 7 years to get me that far to start something and another 2,5 to marry him. 😉 To me he is special. He’s the one that let me believe in love again. I totally lost that.
        To other women he just will be another ordinary guy. For me he means much, much more.

        • Shel Harrington

          You’re so right, Mirjam – being a victim of domestic abuse has nothing to do with how smart someone is. I’m glad to see the rising awareness and the shifting attitude with how DV is viewed. I’m glad you’re out of it and I’m glad that you now know a relationship is not always like that. Thanks for your comments.

  • Wow such a beautiful tips. Thanks for these suggestions. Appreciate them.

    • Shel Harrington

      It looks like you might have some first-hand experience dealing with people who shouldn’t have gotten married in the first place yourself! Thanks for stopping by, Nader – I’m glad you found us and hope you come back and visit often!