We received many responses to our question: Do you think getting cold feet before your wedding is just a natural part of the process, or is it a bad omen for the marriage? Here are just a few:
When I was 19, I stood at the altar to get married and was scared stiff. My parents had paid for the wedding - relatives and guests came from out of town. There had been the usual round of parties, showers, etc. The church was full, the music was playing, and I realized I DIDN'T WANT TO GET MARRIED. I stood there hoping someone would "object" when the pastor asked, but, of course, no one did. The marriage lasted 5 months and 7 days. That was 43 years ago and I still get nervous thinking about it. As my father prepared to walk me down the aisle, I wish he had asked me if I was sure that was what I wanted to do.
I married again several years later to a man I wanted to be married to. When our daughter got married, I told him before they stepped into church, to look her straight in the eyes and tell her, "If you are unsure about this for any reason, we'll stop right now. Your mother and I will handle the guests and get you out of it." She wanted to proceed and has been married seven years to a wonderful man.
How I wish someone had given me the option - it would have saved a lot of heartache on both sides.
Did I have cold feet on my wedding day way back on May 17, 1986? Nope. NOT AT ALL! I waited 13 years just to get a date with Jeannie. AND IT WAS WORTH THE WAIT! I never for a moment had any doubts whatsoever. Sometimes I am still incredulous that Jeannie actually married ME! On my wedding day I was happy, calm, collected. This was what I had wanted for so long and it was now actually happening! Cold feet?! No way! Let's get this party STARTED!!!
I believe that women have a "sense" about things and we should listen to that voice.
I married my first husband at 19. The morning of our wedding I awoke in the pre-dawn hours in a panic. I wanted to call it off so badly, but I didn't because my parents had invested so much money into the preparations. My mother had been up most of the night making our wedding cake and all the guests were there. That was almost 30 years ago and to this day I wish I could go back to that day and listen to my voice and call off the wedding.
We struggled through 17 years of marriage, destroyed two beautiful kids' lives and ended with a horrible battle that has left us not able to even be in the same room without tension.
I remarried a few years ago and never got those feelings. Yes, there have been times when I wondered if I should have stayed single, but those times pass and we work things out.
I believe that the little voice inside that causes us to get cold feet is a warning that things aren't right with the choice we're making and we need to stop and re-evaluate what we're about to do.
Thank you for all you do to help others make better choices.
Still Regretting in TX
Dear Dr. Laura:
This is natural, especially if you are a thinking human being. It is scary to contemplate a lifetime with one person. Further, among traditional people such as myself, neither we, nor our children, have lived with their intended spouses before marriage. I remember how scared I was at the thought of living with my future husband. I nearly backed out of our wedding, even as the guests had assembled at the hall and my husband was waiting for my arrival. I was dressed, made-up and suddenly, could not climb into my parents' car for the short ride. It took a lot of cajoling for my parents to get me into that car and under the chuppah. Thirty years later, my husband and I did the same for our daughter, and hope to bring the other four along soon.
I think it is a bad sign - those doubts will linger and grow and fester. My first husband - I was 18 - I wanted to run away from, but felt because of all the plans, gifts, etc. I was hooked. Well, I should have listened to my doubts. It was a terrible marriage and he turned into a controlling uptight jerk (and that is putting it mildly). We finally divorced after 5 years and he ran off with our neighbor - probably the best thing that ever happened to me and the worst thing for my neighbor. She left him after 10 years (they never married) and he decided he just didn't get along well with women - so he has stayed solo.