In the early stages of our relationship, my husband and I knew the chances of it resulting in marriage were a long shot. We were very different, lived on two separate continents, and didn’t have enough money to bridge the gap very often. The limited amount of time we had in person was rushed and jam-packed with experiences, without the ability to see each other in normal, everyday kind of life.
But there was something about this man that, despite the challenges, kept me riveted to my computer screen on Skype. So much so that I married him the 3rd time we got to be together on the same continent (for a more spiritual version of the story, click here).
I knew—absolutely knew—that this was the man for me. But lots of people get some version of cold feet before heading down the aisle, and I was not an exception. Annoying little contradictions crept periodically into my mind, things like “we don’t have enough in common” and “what if I’m making the biggest mistake of my life?” My confusion and frustration about all the mixed messages I was hearing regarding my future often led me to tears.
Finally I decided that the best way to figure out whether I should heed these “cold feet comments” as warnings or cast them aside as distractions, was to face them head-on and answer them as honestly and objectively as I could. So I did. And I wrote it all down so I wouldn’t forget.
In response to the thing about us not having enough in common, I wrote “Successful marriages are not based on doing everything together. You can do different things and come back together to share about your day. You might also create new common hobbies together, or adopt one another’s hobbies/interests. You can take this as an opportunity to learn/grow.”
For the one about fearing a mistake: “You have done a thorough job of investigating who this man is, and the most important people in your life think he’s a good fit for you. You are making the best decision you can with the information you have. There are no mistakes. And “I’d rather live my life with more oh-wells than what-ifs”.” I got that last bit from Pinterest, but hey, it spoke to me.
There were several other, much-more personal cold feet comments I won’t disclose here. Suffice to say, with each cold feet comment there was a legitimate cold feet truth to combat it. Something that I knew to be true in my most-rational hours, that was confirmed by people who knew me well, and that was affirmed by random things I would read or hear at the most opportune time. Each cold feet truth gave me solid ground to stand on and helped me get through discouragement from naysayers and from my own insecurities.
Take caution, though: sometimes what we interpret as “naysaying” is actually the warning of a really good friend pointing out a piece of reality we’re blind to. If you’re at the precipice of your own huge, life-altering decision, make sure you’re not barreling through any warning signs that this decision might cause more pain than joy. Take a step back, talk it over with several people who know you well and care about you, do some research, tell yourself the truth, and write it down. Then you’ll have the resources you need to walk away completely (if needed), or to take the plunge with less fear. And if the latter, you’ll have plenty of comforting truths to help you press on when you’re freaking out, even if it’s on the way down the metaphorical (or actual) aisle.