For engaged couples with a wedding on the horizon, it’s important to take stock of your relationship before, not after, you walk down the aisle.
Instead of spending all of your time and energy planning the wedding, think about investing some of those precious resources in your relationship ― particularly if you have doubts about whether you want to get into a lifelong partnership with the person you’re engaged to.
Below, marriage therapists reveal the behaviors that are serious enough to warrant postponing the wedding until you and your partner work things out. And if things still don’t improve, perhaps it’s worth re-evaluating the relationship as a whole.
1. They frequently put other people and plans before you.
Does your partner cancel plans with you when something better comes up with his buddies? Or maybe she picks up a non-urgent work call while you two are out to dinner celebrating your birthday. If so, it might be a sign that your partner isn’t prioritizing you and your relationship.
“People get married for lots of reasons,” marriage and family therapist Aaron Anderson told HuffPost. “It’s not always for love. Make sure you’re not marrying someone who’s marrying you out of convenience. Make sure they’re putting you first. You don’t want to be the understanding spouse for the rest of your life, or soon you’ll start feeling like a doormat.”
2. They don’t communicate well.
Instead of having a productive conversation about a tricky topic ― like sex, family issues or money ― your partner either argues with you about it or just avoids the discussion altogether. It’s been said time and time again, but communication really is the cornerstone of a strong marriage. If you can’t talk candidly about the tough stuff, you might not be ready for marriage quite yet.
“The problems that develop when long-standing problems remain unsolved can ruin your relationship,” Tina Tessina, psychotherapist and co-author of How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free, told HuffPost. “Make it a point to talk about whatever seems difficult: You need to know how well you two can discuss the difficult things that will arise during a lifetime together.”
And if you can’t find a way to discuss these things without it turning into a blowout fight, it may be wise to see a couples therapist who can help you sharpen your communication skills.
“If that doesn’t work, the relationship probably won’t work either,” Tessina said.
3. They’ve cheated on you.
Infidelity doesn’t necessarily have to be a dealbreaker, but it’s certainly something that might give you pause leading up to the wedding. If your partner is genuinely remorseful and willing to do the work to uncover what drove them to be unfaithful in the first place, that’s a good sign. Before tying the knot, it’s also worth taking a closer look at any underlying issues in the relationship that could have contributed to the infidelity.
“While I disagree with the saying, ‘Once a cheater, always a cheater,’ there are always some significant mindset and behavior changes necessary to prevent this behavior from repeating,“ Kurt Smith, a therapist who specializes in counseling men, told HuffPost. “These new changes should be proven before getting married.”
4. They’ve stopped having ― or talking about ― sex with you.
Over the course of a relationship, it’s normal for both partners’ levels of sexual desire to fluctuate. What matters is whether you and your partner are able to have a healthy discussion about these inevitable ups and downs and can express what you do (and do not) like in bed. If your partner stonewalls you or refuses to take your concerns seriously now, it’s unlikely these issues will magically resolve themselves after you say “I do.”
“If you’re feeling strain in your sexual relationship now, then imagine what several more years is going to feel like,” Anderson told HuffPost. “A lifetime is a long time to be having bad sex. People think sexual difficulties are a pretty shallow reason to call off the engagement, but they’re even less understanding when it’s the cause of an affair or a divorce. Make the decision now or get the problem fixed before tying the knot.”
5. They’re dealing with addiction issues: drugs, alcohol or gambling.
Again, this one doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker if your partner is truly committed to their recovery. But untreated addictions can put a significant strain on the relationship, so you should not just turn the other cheek ― no matter how much you may love this person. If they are ready and willing to get help, that’s one thing. But if they’re still in denial, that’s another.
“Addictions aren’t easily or quickly resolved,” Smith told HuffPost. “It would be a big mistake for a partner to think they’ll be able to change this problem behavior about their future spouse. I can’t tell you how many spouses I’ve counseled who overlooked this in the beginning because they thought it wouldn’t be that bad.”
6. They’ve recently gone through a major life event like a career change, big move, or the illness or death of a parent.
These are not reasons to call off the wedding altogether, but they may be enough for you to at least consider the timing of your nuptials. It might be worth postponing the wedding until things settle and some level of normalcy returns to your partner’s life.
“Trying to build a foundation on shaky ground is never a good idea,” Susan Pease Gadoua, marriage therapist and the co-author of The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels, told HuffPost. “One couple I worked with was struggling from the fallout of the husband’s father’s illness, which took the newly married husband away from his wife. Although she understood on the one hand, on the other, she was resentful of how much he had to take care of his father. From her perspective, this should have been their newlywed time together.”
“In turn, he became resentful toward his new bride because she didn’t understand his relationship with his dad,” Gadoua continued. “Looking back, the wife could see that her husband was not fully present on their wedding day and those months prior. Intuitively, she knew he was not in a position to get married, but she thought they could ride the storm together.”
7. They’re controlling and emotionally volatile.
We all have good days and bad days. On bad days, we may not be the best versions of ourselves ― perhaps we’re cranky or short-tempered. But is bad behavior the exception or the rule with your partner? If, more often than not, your partner is having emotional outbursts, trying to control you (which could be a sign of emotional abuse) or exhibiting narcissistic behaviors, these are major warning signs that shouldn’t be ignored, Smith told HuffPost.
“Any behavior of this kind should be discussed with a mental health professional to determine the significance,” Smith said. “If characteristics such as these or others make you question if they might be a problem, they must not be ignored. These are some of the big causes for partners seeking marriage counseling later on.”
8. They’re dealing with significant mental health issues.
In a given year, nearly 1 in 5 American adults will experience a mental health condition. It’s that common. But if your partner is dealing with a severe, debilitating issue, the stress of an upcoming wedding may only add to their already very heavy mental and emotional load.
“I had clients who came in for premarital therapy a month before the wedding date and with each session, the male client slipped deeper and deeper into a dark hole of depression,” Laura Heck, couples therapist and creator of the online couples therapy series “ForBetter,” told HuffPost. “He hired an individual therapist who specializes in depression, who recommended he check himself into the hospital for a few days to keep him safe from self-harm. This was a major red flag and the point where it should have been clear that the wedding date was no longer the top priority.”
Against Heck’s advice to postpone the wedding, the couple married days after the groom was released from the hospital.
“Weddings can be stressful events; in fact a wedding scores a 50 out of 100 on the life change unit scale,” she said. “Anyone can experience an increase in anxiety or any preexisting conditions; however, suicidal thoughts and self-harm behaviors should take precedence and give pause to the decision to move forward with a looming wedding date. My recommendation is to postpone it and get to the bottom of where these symptoms are coming from.”
9. They keep secrets from you.
Say your partner went over budget one month or had dinner with an ex: Do they tell you, or say nothing and hope you don’t find out? Admitting our wrongdoings isn’t easy; it requires honesty and vulnerability. But ultimately, being upfront about these mistakes can help build a strong foundation for your future together.
“Lying to your partner about whether you have broken an agreement does more damage than breaking the agreement,” Tessina told HuffPost. “If you slip up, tell the truth. If it’s your partner who has slipped, be open to listening to him or her without blaming or getting upset, so the two of you can negotiate a solution to the problem.”
In any successful relationship, trust must be mutual, Tessina added.
“By that definition, if there’s a secret you don’t want to share, something may be wrong with the trust between you,” she said. “Sharing damaging secrets is an excellent way to test the viability of the relationship. I advocate sharing all.”
What do I do if my partner doesn't want to get married but I do? ›
Consider Couples Counseling
Attending couples counseling could be an option in this situation to help get you both on a better path, either toward a breakup or toward a marriage. If your partner will not attend counseling with you, consider going to individual therapy to talk about your feelings in a safe space.
- You're not willing to compromise. ...
- You have trust issues. ...
- You're not done "exploring." ...
- Someone's always picking a fight. ...
- You're keeping secrets. ...
- You have an un-confronted addiction. ...
- You're in a relationship for the wrong reasons.
According to relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW, as it turns out, the first year really is the hardest—even if you've already lived together. In fact, it often doesn't matter if you've been together for multiple years, the start of married life is still tricky.Should I marry her if I have doubts? ›
If you do find yourself having doubts before your wedding, does that mean you definitely shouldn't get married? "No," says Lavner, "but you should pay attention. You know yourself, your partner and your relationship more than anyone else does. If you're having uncertainty, then you should talk about it."Can a man love you and not want to marry you? ›
He may love you fully and completely, but still not want marriage. If he's treating you well, committed to you, and doing the things he says he'll do, his love for you is probably real. He may have a good explanation for why he doesn't want to get married. He also may just not want to, and that's okay, too.Is it possible to love someone but not want to marry them? ›
It is possible, however, to have a committed and loving relationship without marriage, and some people who are uncomfortable with marriage ultimately change their minds. A disagreement about marriage doesn't have to end your relationship, particularly if you both are committed to the relationship.What are red flags for marriage? ›
Red flags in a relationship include excessive jealousy and frequent lying. You should also be wary of a partner who frequently criticizes you or puts you down. Another major red flag is an unwillingness to compromise — relationships shouldn't be one-sided.What happens to men who never marry? ›
According to recent scientific studies, men who never get married may gain strength from solitude. They have more extensive social networks and a deeper connection to work. They're also differently vulnerable to some of life's travails. Here are a few facts to consider.What is the number one rule of marriage? ›
Respect each other
One of the greatest rules of a happy marriage is respect. Even when you're fighting, you have to maintain respect for each other in order for things to work. It's important to keep calm when you have disagreements.
Lack of commitment is the most common reason given by divorcing couples according to a recent national survey. Here are the reasons given and their percentages: Lack of commitment 73% Argue too much 56%
At what age is marriage most successful? ›
Divorce is 50% less likely for someone who is 25 years old when they wed, compared to 20. A study reveals that getting married after one's mid-30s is actually riskier than getting married in one's late 20s. The best age at which to get married appears to be between 28 and 32, according to research.What year do most couples break up? ›
The likelihood of a breakup jumps down as the second and again the third years of a relationship pass. But the fourth year of a couple's life is just as likely as the third to end in departure. It's only after a couple reaches the 5th year of their relationship that the likelihood of break up falls sharply.How do you know if someone is the one you should marry? ›
- You can come back from a fight. It's not a good sign if you bicker nonstop. ...
- You make each other laugh. ...
- Your relationship has been (successfully) tested. ...
- You feel totally comfortable around each other. ...
- Your life goals are aligned.
What Does it Mean to Have Cold Feet? When people talk about cold feet before a wedding, they are referring to pre-wedding jitters or second thoughts about whether they really want to get married.Why am I getting cold feet about marriage? ›
Simply put, cold feet is usually a reaction to stress. The engagement period isn't always smooth sailing when you're deep in the wedding planning trenches. Prewedding stress can make you more irritable, impatient and easily annoyed.Should I leave my boyfriend if he won't marry me? ›
“If your partner doesn't want to get married and you do, you should not necessarily leave,” says Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, a counselor and co-founder of the The Marriage Restoration Project. “Sometimes one partner feels pressured and is reluctant to commit.” But time can change this, Slatkin says.How long does it take a man to know he wants to marry you? ›
Research has indicated that the average man takes 6-7 months to conclude if the person he is dating is marriage material to him. This low number may come as a shock to many people who are in unmarried relationships lasting years, which can happen for several reasons.How long is too long to wait for a proposal? ›
The truth of the matter is that there is no right or wrong length of time to wait to get engaged. Some couples wait six years before making it official, while others date for just six months—it all depends on your unique circumstances.What do you call the person you probably never going to marry? ›
Your Fiancé. In certain parts of America, the word fiancé does not mean what it used to. I first became aware of this when I was reporting a story in a small town...What is it called when you love together but are not married? ›
Cohabiting is when a couple lives together before marriage (or civil partnership) or instead of marrying or entering into a civil partnership. If you're living with your partner, and you're not married or in a civil partnership, you're a cohabiting couple.
Why do people choose to never marry? ›
Weddings are expensive, and so is divorce. Some people simply cannot afford the great financial risk that's involved in getting married. There are also instances where some do not feel comfortable linking their finances to another individual, potentially due to credit, tax considerations, or other concerns.How soon is too soon to get married? ›
Couples who date for one to two years before getting engaged are 20% less likely to get divorced than those who get engaged in less than a year, according to the study, and couples who've been together for three or more years before getting engaged are 39% less likely to get divorced.What is the biggest red flag in a guy? ›
- Narcissism. ...
- Anger management issues. ...
- Codependency. ...
- Inability to resolve conflict. ...
- Constant jealousy. ...
- Gaslighting. ...
- Lack of emotional intelligence. ...
- Negatively affecting your relationship with family and friends.
What does it mean to stonewall someone? In simple terms, stonewalling is when someone completely shuts down in a conversation or is refusing to communicate with another person.How common is it to never marry? ›
“… when today's young adults reach their mid-40s to mid-50s, a record high share (25%) is likely to have never been married.” In 1956, just about everyone got married. Half of the men were younger than 22.5 when they married, and half of the women were younger than 20.1.Who is most likely to never be married? ›
All the Single Ladies and Gents
Although both are almost twice as likely as before to not be married, men are still more likely to be in this group than women. Before, 10 percent of men and 8 percent of women were never married, whereas now it's 23 percent men versus 17 percent women.
Most men want to be in a relationship but are single because of their looks, height, or because they lack confidence, finds a new study. Having poor looks and being short or bald, followed by lack of confidence could be reasons why a large number of men remain single, a study has showed.What is the 222 rule in marriage? ›
The 2-2-2 Rule involves going on a date night every two weeks, spending a weekend away every two months and taking a week-long vacation away every two years. The idea behind it is that prioritizing and planning to spend time together strengthens your relationship.What's the 10 minute rule in a marriage? ›
Communication style is the #1 thing divorced individuals said they would change in the next relationship. Establish a 10-minute rule. Every day, for 10 minutes, talk alone about something other than work, the family and children, the household, the relationship. No problems, no scheduling, no logistics.What are the 5 C's of marriage? ›
So take them in the spirit in which they are offered, which is a lens to think about your own relationship. This blog is the first of a series on the 5 C's which are Chemistry, Commonality, Constructive Conflict, Courtesy and Commitment.
What age group is most likely to divorce? ›
With marriage comes the risk of a marital dissolution via divorce or widowhood, which have both been prevalent among older adults. While 34% women and 33% of men ages 20 or older who ever married had ever divorced, the percentage of adults 55 to 64 years who ever divorced is much higher: about 43% for both sexes.Who initiates divorce more? ›
A study led by the American Sociological Association determined that nearly 70% of divorces are initiated by women. And the percentage of college-educated American women who initiated divorce is even higher.What profession has the highest divorce rate? ›
- The type of job with the highest divorce rate is military work. ...
- Following military workers, those who have a job in health care support have the next highest divorce rate. ...
- Drilling down to the 100 most common individual occupations, bartenders top the list with a divorce rate of 4.34%.
For women, “early” referred to the wedding before the age of 23, “on time” meant they wedded between the ages of 23 and 27, and “late” was defined as they married after the age of 27.What is the best age for woman to get married? ›
Average ideal age for both genders has increased in last 60 years.
|For Women||For Men|
The 1950s have been described as the “golden age” of marriage in the United States and marriage has declined since the 1960s (Coontz 2000/1992; Cherlin 2009/2004).What month do relationships fail? ›
December might be a time for joy and goodwill – but it's also the most popular time for couples to break up.Who is more likely to break up in a relationship? ›
If you've ever wondered who the dumper in the average US long term couple is, breakup statistics say that women are more likely to call it quits than men. 76% of women said that they had ended the relationship, just like 62% of men. Women might end things more often, but they also feel more pain after.What is the 5 year itch? ›
Scientists have discovered that couples begin to grow fed up with each other after just four years and are at peak risk of divorce just before their fifth anniversary.How a man acts before he proposes? ›
When he's going to propose, your man might start to act just a little weird. One of the biggest signs that he is going to propose is a change in his general attitude. He'll go out of his way to tell you how much he loves you. He's hoping you'll do the same; he's looking for confirmation that the time is right.
How do you know if he's not ready for marriage? ›
- They Won't Plan Anything Long Term. ...
- They Hate Compromise. ...
- They Avoid the Topic of Marriage Altogether. ...
- You Don't Really Argue Much (or Ever) ...
- They Only Proposed Because Everyone Else Did.
- They Talk About Their Parent's Happy Marriage.
- They Are Planning Your Life Together.
- They've Been Engaged Before.
- They Want Unprotected Sex.
- They Talk About Their Wedding Plans.
- They Want You to Meet the Family.
- Ask About Your Partner's Future Goals.
- Be Honest About What You Want.
The Feet Washing ceremony is a Christian-based tradition, which is representative of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples in John 13:1-17, as a symbol of love and humility. We did some research, and found this article that best explains why a couple might choose to have a foot washing ceremony during their wedding.Why are my girlfriends feet so cold? ›
There is good reason for this. Many people don't realise the circulatory system of a female is different to that of a male. Women's circulation is centred around the female reproductive organs, thereby leaving the extremities, such as the hands and feet, feeling colder as the blood supply in these areas is reduced.Why are my wife's feet so cold? ›
Blame hormones, evolution
Estrogen can lower women's body temperature, cause heat to dissipate and slow blood flow to the hands and feet, making them more sensitive to cold.
Gamophobia is a fear of marriage and commitment. 1 It is characterized by feelings of excessive and persistent fear of being in a relationship, making a commitment, or getting married.Should I get married if I have doubts? ›
If you do find yourself having doubts before your wedding, does that mean you definitely shouldn't get married? "No," says Lavner, "but you should pay attention. You know yourself, your partner and your relationship more than anyone else does. If you're having uncertainty, then you should talk about it."What does an unhealthy marriage look like? ›
When a marriage is unhealthy, issues of control are usually evident. Finances are an easy weapon of control. One partner starts deciding how money is spent and how much the other spouse can spend. Control can also spill over into areas like friendships and outside activities.What is it called when you are in a relationship but not married? ›
What is cohabitation? Living together with someone is also sometimes called 'cohabitation'. A cohabiting couple is a couple that lives together in an intimate and committed relationship, who are not married to each other and not in a civil partnership. Cohabiting couples can be opposite-sex or same-sex.How long should you wait for a man to propose? ›
Each couple is different depending on age and circumstances, but a reasonable amount of time to be engaged is one to three years. Clearly, time is on a couple's side when it comes to the longevity of their marriage. But experts agree, there's more to a happy marriage than just years spent side-by-side.
Can you really save a marriage if only one wants to? ›
If a marriage involved only one person; one person could save it. By its very definition, marriage is a bond between two people. Therefore, if one leaves the bonds, the marriage is over, no matter how much the remaining spouse wants their marriage to continue.What is the 2 year rule relationships? ›
Benson's central recommendation is that dating and cohabiting couples should have a serious discussion about the future of their relationship and where it is going within two years, and if the relationship is not headed toward marriage by then, it is time to end it.What is a relationship without love called? ›
These relationships tend to be characterized by: Closeness. Fondness. Understanding.
There is no common law marriage in the State of California. This means that if two people live together, there is no statute that confers the rights of married couples upon them.How long does the average person date before getting married? ›
How Long Do People Date Before Getting Married? The average couple has a dating time for over two years according to The Knot. If you wait for half that time, chances are you don't really know the person well enough and the couple's relationship satisfaction may still be in the “puppy love” stage.How long does the average couple date before getting engaged? ›
Most couples date for two or more years before getting engaged, with many dating anywhere from two to five years. Once the question is popped, the average length of engagement is between 12 and 18 months.How long does it take for a man to know he wants to marry you? ›
Research has indicated that the average man takes 6-7 months to conclude if the person he is dating is marriage material to him. This low number may come as a shock to many people who are in unmarried relationships lasting years, which can happen for several reasons.At what point is a marriage not worth saving? ›
“A marriage may not be worth saving if your partner refuses to work on anything or take responsibility for creating a joint life,” Sherman says. “If they call all the shots and none of your needs are ever heeded, you may decide that the only way to create a healthy relationship is by yourself or with someone new.”How do you make a marriage work when it's one sided? ›
- Realize it might be them not you.
- Discuss the undiscussed.
- Stand up for yourself.
- Lift your self-esteem.
- Know what you want.
- Don't be afraid of change.
What Are the Three Most Important Things in a Relationship?
- Intimacy. ...
- Commitment. ...
How do you know if he will ever propose? ›
- They Are Being Secretive and Nervous. ...
- They Plan The Next Vacation. ...
- They Comment About Married Couples ...
- They Become Very Guarded About Their Phone. ...
- Saving Not Spending. ...
- They Become Suddenly Interested In Jewelry ...
- They Reserve Dinner Or Make Your Favorite Meal
While men tended to consider confessions of love acceptable after about a month or so, women tended to say it was better to wait 2 to 3 months or so. Confessions of love generally inspired feelings of happiness, but men felt more positive about confessions that happened before the relationship became sexual.How do you know you're ready for marriage? ›
You've Worked Through Hard Times Together
Life is not without ups and downs, so you'll know that you're ready for marriage if you've persevered through tough times together. No matter the scenario, any less-than-positive situation will require you to work together and support one another.