Cold Feet Before Wedding Day Signals More Than Just Nerves, Study Finds

By Emily Murray

Whether you have been married or not, most of us have probably watched enough movies to understand the whole “cold feet” pre-wedding scenario. As the wedding day draws closer, both men and women typically experience a case of nerves and typically are told this phenomenon goes with the territory and is completely normal, however, a new study has shown that those who experience these pre-wedding doubts, especially women, are more likely to get divorced within 5 years.

The research conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles provided an extensive study of 464 newlyweds that spanned over 4 years. The findings revealed that women who claimed to have had “cold feet” on their wedding day (and leading up to the wedding day) were 2.5 times more likely to divorce in the end. Even those who didn’t get divorced were still more likely to have unhappy marriages than those who walked down the aisle without a doubt in their minds.

Among the group of men and women surveyed, nearly 47% of the men and 38% of the women said they had doubts when asked “Were you ever uncertain or hesitant about getting married?” While men were more likely to have had their doubts, it appears that it is actually the woman’s doubts that signal potential trouble long term more often than the man’s  hesitation.

Within four years of the marriage about 19% of the women who claimed to have doubts were divorced and only 8% of those who did not have doubts were divorced. When it comes to the men, 14% of those with doubts were divorced within four years as opposed to only 9% of those who claimed they had no pre-wedding doubts or uncertainty.

It seems that one difficult part of this study is that the participants didn’t get the opportunity to explain the root of the uncertainty. Was it based on their choice of spouse, wedding planning stress or something unrelated?

Perhaps the most important take away we can learn from this study however, is that often we underestimate the importance of our intuition. Many couples who divorce admit they ignored issues early on that later become magnified and led to their separation from their spouse.