Getting past Cold Feet to Say, “I DO”

Oh, Weddings! Many dream for years of nuptial perfection while others take “the right person at the right time” pragmatic approach. To some, marriage feels like the appropriate next step in relationship development, while others seem to forego the courtship altogether and impulsively rush toward the altar. Regardless of the range of circumstances, one thing holds true: Your “YES” to their proposal (or theirs to yours) has you both preparing to say, “I do.”

The idea of sharing your life with the one you love and planning the big day keeps the excitement level high throughout most of your engagement: It’s a kick telling your proposal story to others and visualizing your future together.

Then, as the wedding day approaches, fear and uncertainty grab hold: The Cold-feet phenomena becomes an uninvited guest in the planning process, attacking full-force with doubtful thoughts and panicked tinges about your impending commitment.

But these thoughts don’t necessarily indicate the wedding planning should be halted. Let’s consider some ways in which you and/or your betrothed can once again turn up the heat on wedding Cold-feet:


Doubt is a regular part of any change, and, instead of feeling guilty about your confusion, it can be beneficial to share these feelings with your partner – as they may be experiencing similar fears. Modeling transparency and practicing vulnerability will keep you both connected as a team. Actively focus on the love, the hope, and the trust that kept (and will keep) your relationship healthy: fighting your fears by reminding each other why you ultimately agreed to spend your lives together is a great way to regain solid footing.

Tattle on yourselves: Verbalize your thoughts and doubts to those happily-married friends in your inner circle. You may be surprised to learn how many endured cold feet and now consider the uncomfortable condition just another part of the pre-marriage ritual.

If these strategies do not alleviate your concerns, seek out couples therapy to ensure that the foundation of your relationship is strong enough before proceeding…Remember, a wedding is a formal commitment and “winging it” is a big mistake.


Recognize relationship “red-flags” and tend to them immediately. Keep in mind that how you approach these concerns can cause you or your partner to develop abandonment insecurities and/or trust issues. If your impending marriage doesn’t feel right, it’s smart to investigate your unease to determine whether it’s based in fear of commitment or actually a lesson in trusting your gut instinct; Seek individual therapy to gain the insight needed to make an informed decision.

It is always better to call it off during the engagement than to humiliate your potential spouse on the wedding day. In the movie, The Runaway Bride, Julia Robert’s character leaves not one or two but three men standing at the altar – ouch!


Don’t be the “deer caught in the headlights” of your own unfolding life. Cold-feet can freeze you out of enjoying the pomp and circumstance -resulting in guilty feelings and isolating behaviors. When we freeze, we lose touch with our points of view and struggle with expressing ourselves.

A therapist can help you snap out or the stupor by helping you pick up and use valuable tools including assertiveness training, thought organization, feeling identification, positive emotional expression, and self-esteem building. They can also help you recultivate self-awareness and self-trust so that you can reconnect with this life stage experience.

Saying, “I Do”

Whether you are marrying someone you have known for decades or someone you met a few months ago, the most important thing is that you both understand and view commitment in similar ways. As I have said in previous articles, one of the key elements of a healthy relationship is the ability to be on the same page. If you are, marriage can be a beautiful triumph.

Take fear of commitment test here.