Pre-marital Jitters Signal Trouble Ahead

Posted September 17th, 2012 at 6:37 pm (UTC+0)

"I DON'T!" - Runaway bride (Photo: Kate Hiscock via Flickr/Creative Commons)

“I don’t!” – Runaway bride (Photo: Kate Hiscock via Flickr/Creative Commons)

A new study suggests brides should not ignore those pre-wedding day jitters.

Women who have doubts right before their nuptials  are more likely to have an unhappy marriage and end up in divorce court, according to the report in the Journal of Family Psychology.

“People think everybody has premarital doubts and you don’t have to worry about them,” said Justin Lavner, a UCLA doctoral candidate in psychology and lead author of the study. “We found they are common but not benign. You know yourself, your partner and your relationship better than anybody else does; if you’re feeling nervous about it, pay attention to that. It’s worth exploring what you’re nervous about.”

The UCLA psychologists studied 232 newlywed couples living in the Los Angeles area.  The researchers then checked in with the couples every six months for four years to conduct  follow-up surveys.

The average age of the husbands  studied was 27, while the wives were 25.

In their first interview, the newlyweds were asked, “Were you ever uncertain or hesitant about getting married?” Forty seven percent of the guys said “yes,” while 38 percent of their wives answered in the affirmative.

The psychologists found that, while the ladies had fewer misgivings than their spouses, the doubts they did express were much more telling in predicting trouble after the wedding.

In 36 percent of cases,  both  husband and wife had no doubts about getting married.

A new study show that women who get married despite pre-wedding doubts are more likely to have an unhappy marriage. (Photo: Vic (Hang in There) via Flickr/Creative Commons)

A new study suggests women who get married despite pre-wedding doubts are more likely to end up in divorce court. (Photo: Vic (Hang in There) via Flickr/Creative Commons)

Yet 19 percent of the women who did express pre-wedding doubts ended up  divorced four years later, as compared with 8 percent of those who didn’t have doubts.

Among the guys, the 14 percent who said  they had premarital uncertainties were in divorce court four years.

By comparison, 9 percent of the men who didn’t have doubts ended up divorced.

One in 10 couples got divorced when only the husband had reservations about getting married. That statistic almost doubles, to 18 percent, when the wife alone had doubts.

But when both spouses expressed doubts about entering into the bonds of matrimony, 20 percent of the couples got divorced.

In fact, doubt proved to be a critical indicator of whether the marriage would succeed, more so than factors such as how satisfied the married couples were with their relationships, whether their parents were divorced, if the couple had lived together before the wedding or had a troubled engagement.

While the psychologists aren’t suggesting doubters should call off their weddings, they do advise  couples to sit down and discuss concerns before going any further in the relationship.

“Talk about it and try to work through it,” said Thomas Bradbury, a UCLA psychology professor and co-author of the study. “You hope that the big issues have been addressed before the wedding.”

5 Responses to “Pre-marital Jitters Signal Trouble Ahead”

  1. [...] Pre-marital Jitters Signal Trouble AheadVoice of America (blog)Women who have doubts right before their nuptials are more likely to have an unhappy marriage and end up in divorce court, according to the report in the Journal of Family Psychology. “People think everybody has premarital doubts and you don't have to …Pre-wedding jitters? Study shows they may spell trouble for your marriageNew York Daily NewsBride's 'Cold Feet' May Predict DivorceLiveScience.comOne in five brides with cold feet are divorced within four TODAY -Christian Science Monitorall 111 news articles » [...]

  2. [...] Pre-marital Jitters Signal Trouble Ahead – Voice of America (blog) Posted in Culture, Health, Science Tags: culture, health, science « The Warp Drive Could Become Science Fact – Discovery News Newly Discovered Bee Hive of Planets Discovered By NASA – Student Operated Press » You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. [...]

  3. Jnan says:

    Life has both joys and sorrows.Though there may be premarital jitters,one should not bother about those jitters.There are instances that some couples who had had no premarital jitters ended in divorce. In a married couple both man and woman have to work diligently in order to make their marriage a success. The success depends on several factors such as mutual understanding, emotional adjustment,spiritual adjustment ,physical adjustment and conjugal love. In life there are times of various ailments – physical,mental and spiritual. For these proper treatments are necessary. In case of physical ailments the services of general physicians and surgeons are sufficient .But in case of mental and spiritual ailments the services of psychologist,psychiatrist and psychometrist are involved. Even obviouly happy couple may lose the battle of life if or when they are in the tangle of adverse social and spiritual influences.

  4. drood says:

    All I had to read were the words “Journal of Family Psychology and my eyes glazed over.And this is coming from someone with an undergrad in psych and hours toward a Master’s (many moons ago, before I wised up).

    I do love the guy’s wifebeater he’s wearing in the pic, though. I think I may see the problem in this marriage

  5. says:

    “Pre-marital Jitters Signal Trouble Ahead

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