I need help... I tend to have a lot of built up anxiety. I'm getting married next year and I get a lot of worries if I'm making the right choice. I know I truly love him, but I can't shake off the doubts. People tell me its completely natural to have a "cold feet" but it makes it very uncomfortable. I do a lot of deep breathing exercises & try to keep those "bad" thoughts out of my mind, but its very difficult. I've been experiencing a lot of anxiety attacks & headaches lately.... What should I do? I don't want to call off the wedding because of these silly doubts.... I would be lost without him. Help!
Let me first commend you for wise choice in seeking an outside perspective on your marriage plans. Our culture puts so much emphasis on the outward appearances (dress, flowers, reception, etc.) and so little on the match between two individuals. But you're wrestling, I think, with a question of basic compatibility. Simply put, are you two a good match?
You also show a lot of initiative, using effective methods for managing anxiety (relaxation, dealing with thinking patterns). But I wonder, are these anxiety control strategies covering up a problem? If the red engine light comes on in your car, you could relax and think happy thoughts, but sooner or later you'll have to deal with the problem. And usually the sooner the better. Perhaps you need, in this case, to "honor" your anxiety, and pay more attention to some warning signals.
An ideal marriage takes two strong, independent people, and unites them in interdependence. When you say, "I would be lost without him," that suggests that you have still some developing to do along those lines. (Now, if everyone waited until they were strong and independent before getting married then we'd have very few marriages - but that kind of individual strength, constantly under development, will always strengthen a good marriage and make it better)
Your question didn't detail why you are having cold feet right now. Perhaps your concerns are important, and perhaps they will pass. It's important, however, to listen to them. Too many people have made marriage choices they regret - wishing afterwards they'd paid attention to the little voice, which told them not to do it.
As you sort through your questions and doubts, watch to see how your prince charming responds. If he pressures you to not honor these concerns you have, then maybe he wouldn't be a good choice. On the other hand, if he respects you and understands your need for clarification, that could indicate he's a keeper. And remember, weddings can always be postponed. Those who truly love you will understand and support you through this time.
This question was answered by Wayne Martin, LMSW-ACP. Wayne Martin no longer provides E-counseling nor is he accepting new clients at this time.