October is one of the most popular months to get both engaged and married. Thus, a few of you probably got a ring or took a walk down the aisle. Congrats. Marriage is a wonderful thing. I myself am engaged and plan to get married at some point. That said, it’s not for everyone. In fact, marriage is on the decline among millennials. The average age to get married has steadily increased to an all time high of 27 for women and 29 for men. Still, almost 70% of millennials desire to be married. Scrolling through social media can make you feel as if everyone is on the path to marriage which can add pressure to do the same. If you do get a ring and begin planning, it’s natural to feel a bit nervous.
At times, you may wonder whether the cold feet you feel are normal or if something else is going on. It can be hard to tell the difference. For me, pre-marital counseling was what helped solidify I had more than cold feet. When your therapist is alarmed you know there’s trouble. In fact, 10-15% of weddings are called off annually with women being the offenders 75% of the time. Who knew? As someone who was in that 75% – a journey I chronicle in Why I Ran – I wanted to put together some reasons why you might decide to call off or postpone your wedding. This isn’t to say if you’re experiencing these things you SHOULD. But, if you find yourself resounding with a lot of what’s on the list, you may want to give a long hard thought as to whether this is a step you’re ready to take.
You may want to consider holding off if:
You Haven’t Sown Your Royal Oats
A well known phrase from Coming to America, the actual term is sow your oats. In the movie it meant for a man to enjoy as many women as he could before marriage. I am using the term loosely and not actually insinuating sleeping with as many people as you can. What I do mean is taking the opportunity to date. At the end of my last relationship, I realized I never really had a dating life. I didn’t want to enter another relationship and feel as if I had missed out. I wanted to know what I did and didn’t like in men and took the next nine months to openly date. It can be incredibly hard to date in New York so I took it one step further. I promised myself I would go out with anyone who had the courage to ask regardless of attraction, looks, job, socioeconomic status, etc. It helped me to expand my horizons. If you find yourself still yearning for a single life, you may want to hold off.
If You Feel Rushed or Forced into Getting Married or Planning a Wedding
The first question one tends to get asked after getting engaged is, “When is the wedding?” Dang. Let people breathe. You have the right to enjoy this season of your life before people start trying to plan your wedding. It gets hard to remember this is about you and your future spouse, but keep it at the forefront of your mind. Otherwise, you will get caught in the trap of making your decisions to please others. If they aren’t paying for anything, they shouldn’t get a say in anything. Unless you choose for them to have it.
The same goes for getting married. Don’t let anyone force you into marriage for whatever reason. Even your partner. You are not a prisoner. You have a choice. Whatever your reason, get married because you want to. Not because you’re forced to.
Your Fiancé Doesn’t Support Your Dreams or Vice Versa
I know how difficult it can be to do this especially if you are with a person who jumps from one ambition or dream to the next. If you value security and always knowing what’s next this juts up against some deep rooted stuff. You have to define your boundaries and how much you can support and be honest about that. Making someone feel less than worthy because their drive looks different than yours is never ok. Don’t be that girl. On the other end, if someone is always knocking a dream you feel you are purposed to do, is that what you really want to deal with? Anyone can accept outlandish dreams once you’re on, but not everyone can support when you’re trying to get there.
Your Spidey Senses Are Tingling Really Bad
Whether you call it intuition, a sense, the spirit, there is something within you like an alarm going off when you are in danger. This doesn’t only pertain to physical danger. We often want proof or logic to back up something we feel. It isn’t always there. Sometimes you know something isn’t right when no physical evidence has surfaced. Trust it. If you see the train some ways off and know it can hit you, why wait until the last minute to jump out of the way?
You Fundamentally Disagree on a Core Value
Everyone should have non-negotiables. These are values come hell or high water you aren’t going to budge on. Some believe marriage will move you over to their side on a matter. If someone says they don’t want children and you really do, is it worth the gamble to hope they’ll change their mind? If your religion is of the utmost importance to you, don’t assume the other will convert because you’re married. It could and does happen, but frequently doesn’t.
You’re More Obsessed with Your Wedding Day than the Person You’re Marrying
Countless people are more obsessed with the wedding and idea of marriage than actually being married. Many couples spend their engagement focused on wedding planning rather than shoring up the marriage. Listen, planning weddings bring out a lot of stuff in people. You may find you’re fighting more than you ever did about stuff you didn’t think you cared about. Newsflash: men suffer from this as well. People, it’s one day. I’m not big on weddings. I can take it or leave it. I really feel like folks should wait at least five years before having a wedding (not getting married). How many folks have you seen spend ALL this money on one day only to end up not being together? For that, you could’ve paid Sallie Mae back.
ALL Your Friends Can’t Stand Him
We all have encountered petty friends who aren’t happy about our situation. I’m not talking about them. If your trusted core of friends and family are all giving your relationship the side eye, you may want to take note. If you have friends who have known you for years who are like nah, ask them why. There may be some validity to it. When I called off my wedding many of my friends were like, “We are so relieved. We didn’t think it was the right match.” When I started dating my fiancé, those same friends and family were like, “Yes. This works. We get it. We love him.” Some may disagree, but they’re your friends for a reason and may see something love isn’t allowing you to.
If the Thought of Picking Up Their Dirty Drawers for the Next 20 Years Irks You
Relationships, marriage included, take lots of work. Some things will change. Other things you learn to accept. You pick your battles. If you begin to find you are nitpicking over every little thing from how they lick their lips to wash the dishes, there may be a larger issue here. You may be finding things wrong so you have a reason to not go through with it. Instead of picking a trivial reason for why you don’t want to get married, put on your big girl pants and say no.
They’re call red flags for a reason. We always claim to see them in hindsight, but if we’re honest we notice most of them beforehand. We only choose to acknowledge them when the pressure becomes too much and we can no longer take it. If you’re feeling any of this, it may be worthwhile to put a pause on the wedding. This doesn’t mean calling off the relationship. It is much easier to halt, fix and rectify what’s needed on this side of the fence than to do so once married. The most important thing is to talk to your partner about your concerns. You may find they agree with you. Regardless, it is your life and you have a right to be happy. However you choose to define that.