I’m a naturally anxious person, so when I read things like “getting married causes people anxiety,” I almost want to laugh. Everything causes me anxiety. But, I understand why marriage would make people feel anxious. You’re about to commit to spending the rest of your life with one person. You’re saying, this is my person and I’m going to stop looking for another person to be with. That’s pretty deep. Before you walk down that aisle you have a lot of things to consider. First, read this pre-marital article, which outlines topics to discuss with a counselor/therapist before you get married.
This makes sense to me because if you’re anxious about settling down, talking with a therapist might help ease that anxiety. Sure, you can talk to your partner about your anxiety, but it might be awkward to do that. They might interpret your anxiety as ambivalence to get married. It’s natural to feel nervous before making a big life change. Getting married is exciting but could also be scary. Some people are extremely independent and see marriage as a threat to that independence. In reality it’s not a comprise of your independence, it’s actually going to strengthen you. As long as you’re not involved in a co-dependent relationship, your marriage will help you grow as a person.
Having a healthy relationship makes life happier. There have been studies that document this. So if you’re afraid that your marriage is going to contribute to your unhappiness in life, it’s unlikely unless you’re ignoring other issues within the relationship. The other thing to remember is that marriage is not the only thing that will make you happy. You have to make you happy first. We’re all working on our happiness throughout our lives. But, it’s a process. Don’t expect a marriage or relationship to fix your problems, otherwise you’re going to set yourself up for major disappointment.
Feeling uneasy before you get married is natural, so discuss that with a mental health professional. Having an impartial person who is trained in this area is important. I would recommend seeing a therapist who is a licensed marriage and family counselor (LMFT). They are trained to counsel people about relationships and can give you the most accurate guidance. A certified therapist in this area knows how to see both sides of the couple’s worries and concerns and help both parties navigate through their fear.
What if one person is more afraid than the other one? That’s okay! That person has the chance to express their fears in front of their future life partner and the therapist. It might be easier to speak freely with that neutral party present. It’s less threatening than confronting your partner and saying those things without guidance.
Another thing to consider is that your family might not understand why you’re attending pre-marital counseling. They don’t have to. That’s your business and your marriage. It’s just like seeing a regular therapist for mental health issues.
What about you? Would you consider seeing a pre-marital counselor?
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