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The stunning white dress, the dapper husband to be, family and friends watching on with you being the centre of attention, the ‘wows’ and ‘oooohs’ and ‘aaaaaahs’ that happen as soon as people see you, the excitement, the party, the fun… the love. Weddings are incredibly emotional and turbulent times, planning them can be stressful, coordinating people may make you want to tear your hair out and the cost can make your jaw hit the floor. But what’s normal and what are warning signs that you shouldn’t get married?
Everyone handles weddings differently, some people elope, some people thrive on the high energy, and some people don’t care what happens as long as they marry the one they love. Even though people do handle things differently, and no two relationships are the same, there are some warning signs you should be aware of that can make you step back and question whether getting married is the right idea.
If you have any of these warning signs, or see them in your friends or family, be sure to look a little harder, talk a little more, and find out what’s going on underneath the surface. It’s never too late.
1 – The Thought Of Being Married Scares You Or Causes Anxiety
Wedding day jitters are normal, there’s a lot of planning that goes into one day so it’s only natural you’re going to be a little jittery. But the key here is ‘a little’. If you’re so nervous and anxious that planning your wedding and marriage isn’t enjoyable, then that’s a big red flag.
If the thought of being married scares the beejeebus out of you or makes you super anxious, you need to address this and find out why.
2 – There Is Any Physical Or Emotional Abuse
No matter how much you love someone, or how often they promise they will change, physical and emotional abuse is Domestic Violence and it is never okay. You don’t deserve it, you didn’t ask for it and you need to seek help.
Many people dismiss Domestic Violence with statements like ‘oh, but he doesn’t hit me’ or ‘but I argued with him, of course he lost his temper’. This is not okay. Under absolutely no circumstances is Domestic Violence ever okay.
Domestic Violence stats are incredibly alarming, and what’s even more concerning is that women don’t often know what constitues Domestic Violence.
Are you restricted with where you go and when? Does your partner control who you see? Do they isolate you from your family? Do they give you an allowance and not allow you to touch any other money? Do they financially restrict you completely? Do they make it difficult for you to work or to be independent at all? Do they threaten you in any way (‘if you put on weight, I’ll leave you’ or ‘you don’t want to make me angry’)? Do they check your phone often? Do they call or text you multiple times a day asking where you are, who you’re with or when you’ll be home?
These are all signs of Domestic Violence. If you’re experiencing anything like this, or want to talk to someone about what you are experiencing, please call someone in your area.
These organisations specialise in Domestic Violence support and can help:
Australia – White Ribbon
United States – National Domestic Violence Hotline
United Kingdom – National Domestic Violence Helpline
3 – You Argue About Money
Money is the number one topic that married couples argue about, and if you’re arguing about it before you get married, it’s not going to get any better once you’re husband and wife.
Communication is essential in a successful marriage and being able to communicate openly and effectively about finances is a skill you need to develop before you get married.
If you need assistance doing this, there are counselling services that can help. But the best way to start is simply to start – open the dialogue and have a discussion. This article can help you do that.
4 – You’re Hoping Things Will Be Better After You Get Married
“Once the wedding is over, things will be better.” Sound familiar? Your wedding shouldn’t be this big stressful event you need to just get past. It should be a celebration, it should make you excited and it should bring happiness.
If you find yourself saying these things, dig a little deeper. What is it you believe will be better after the wedding and why?
For some people, the stress that comes with planning a wedding can be overwhelming. Some family members can be overbearing, the stress of upsetting or offending people can be very real and can prevent you from feeling excited and make you want the event to just be over and done so you can get on with your happy married life.
But for others, they can believe that arguments will stop, finances will be better or the love will reflame after the wedding. This just doesn’t happen – your wedding isn’t a magical fix all event. The only way these things will get better is if you address them and work on them together. Before you get married.
5 – You Don’t Know Or Care About Each Other’s Long-Term Life Goals
If someone were to ask each of you what the other wants to be doing in 10 years, would you be able to answer? Do you talk about your future often?
While you may be aligned right now, a lot can change in 5 years or 10 years. Careers can change, living arragements, locations, goals… everything.
Creating these goals together can be incredibly exciting, but you have to be open and honest (communication!!) in order to make sure you’re adressing each other’s goals and working towards them.
If you have different goals, it doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed. It means that you need to communicate and negotiate so you can both achieve the goals you have. Working together towards a goal, and supporting each other in the process, is an amazing part of marriage.
The issue comes when we don’t talk about our goals and you have two people moving in two different directions but trying to live a life together. Many frustrations and arguments will come from this.
6 – You Haven’t Spoken About Having Children
If you haven’t spoken to each other about whether or not you want to have children, when you want to have them and how many you want to have, then you need to stop right now. It blows my mind when I hear couples say they haven’t spoken about such an important topic before getting married. This is a deal breaker for so many people!
Some people don’t discuss it because it can cause arguements, especially if one person wants children and the other doesn’t. But this is something you need to address now – if you don’t want to have children, and your partner does, this could be a major issue in your realtionship and one that won’t simply go away when you get married.
7 – You’re Keeping Secrets Or Feel You Can’t Trust Your Partner
Do you trust your partner? If they were to go out to lunch with a female coworker, how would you feel? Do either of you have feelings of jealousy? Do you feel like you can be honest with your fiance or do you feel the need to hide certain details to make sure you don’t upset or anger them?
We know that communication is key in a relationship but it cannot happen without honesty and without the feeling that you can be honest with your partner.
If you’re feeling jealous or feeling like you need to hide things from them, then you need to ask yourself why. Why do you feel this way?
Sometimes it can be completely unfounded, insecurities can follow us through previous relationships into our current ones and cause issues. But these are issues that need to be addressed. If you don’t trust your partner because you’ve had an ex who cheated on you, then you’re taking this out on your partner and that isn’t fair to anyone – to them or to you.
I often refer to couples counselling as a ‘tune up’ that all couples should have. You wouldn’t wait until your car breaks down to get it serviced, so why wait until your relationship breaks down to go to counselling?
8 – You’re Not Happy
Sounds simple. But when was the last time you stopped and asked yourself if you’re actually happy? Sometimes we can just keep going with the flow, moving forward and going through our days without actually stopping to ask ourselves if this is what we want and if this is what is making us happy.
When you’re planning a wedding, the planning process itself can mask what’s really happening in your relationship. It can be used as the scapegoat and any issues blamed on ‘wedding stress’. But if you’re unhappy, you need to address why.
There are many factors and many stressors in our lives. If you’re finding that things are becoming overwhelming, or you’re not feeling as happy as you should be, then talk to someone about this. It may not be because of your relationship, it could be work, finances, family, or any other stressor, but without addressing it, it could impact on your relationship and your marriage.
9 – Talking About Your Wedding Makes You Angry or Anxious and You Only Talk About It In Negative Ways
The words we choose to use can tell us a lot about how we are feeling, regardless of whether we realise or not. Pay attention to how you and your partner talk about your wedding. Do you avoid talking about it to each other because it causes arguments? Do you only ever share the stressful parts? Are the words you use to describe your wedding or the planning process only negative?
If you find that you start to get anxious or even angry when someone starts talking about your wedding or asks you how your wedding plans are going (which you will be asked, a million times) then you need to dig deeper and find out why.
Your wedding should be something that brings so much joy and excitement. You should feel like you just can’t wait to share it with everyone. It’s only natural that such an event can cause a bit of stress (it’s a big effort to pull off a wedding event) but anger and anxiety shouldn’t be coming into the mix.
If you have any of these warning signs, it doesn’t mean you need to just throw your hands up and say ‘it’s over’. They are simply warning signs you shouldn’t get married – warning signs… things you need to pay closer attention to and dig a little deeper on. Doing so may very well be what makes your marriage even better in the end!