When It’s Not Just Cold Feet: 5 Pre-Marriage Worries You Shouldn’t Ignore

Deciding to get married is a big step. Although you may be deliriously happy and excited about making wedding plans, you shouldn’t let the excitement cloud your judgment. If you have some nagging concerns, take time to address those issues and be sure you’re making the right decision. Getting married is the easy part. Getting divorced, depending on how long you were together, can be an expensive and emotionally draining nightmare. So, do your best to attend to any issues now.

Are you getting the jitters about your upcoming nuptials? Your gut might be trying to tell you something. Here are five pre-marriage worries you shouldn’t ignore.

1. A partner with a bad temper

couple arguing

A bad temper could spell trouble down the road. | iStock.com/AndreyPopov

It’s normal, and healthy, to feel angry. However, it’s not healthy if your partner’s temper is often explosive and your arguments have gotten to the point where you feel unsafe. If your partner can’t get a handle on his or her anger, this is something you shouldn’t sweep under the rug. Your partner might make excuses for the angry outbursts by saying you were the trigger or that they had a bad day at work, but there is no excuse for abusive behavior.

Why it’s a concern

couple fighting

An explosive temper could lead to physical abuse. | iStock.com/oneinchpunch

If you decide to get married, this behavior will likely get worse. And more importantly, a person with a bad temper could become physically violent in the future. The bad behavior might start out small but then get worse over time.

“Anger can escalate into other abusive behaviors like emotional and/or physical violence. [Your partner] may exhibit other abusive dating behaviors, such as blaming or claiming you provoked them, throwing household objects, kicking, punching, biting, or brandishing a weapon,” warn the experts at Break the Cycle. Abuse is a real issue and should never be tolerated, the mission of Break the Cycle is to raise awareness about dating violence — so take heed of these signs.

2. A partner who is selfish

man playing video games

It’s important for couples to learn how to compromise. | iStock.com/nazarovsergey

A relationship should be a partnership. Your significant other should not expect to get his or her way all of the time. If you’ve been noticing a pattern of selfishness, this is an indication that your partner might not be marriage material. A mature person understands there should be a fair amount of give and take in a relationship. If you’re always giving and your partner is always taking, this is a bad sign.

Why it’s a concern

couple having a tense moment

It takes a lot of energy to be in a relationship with someone who is selfish. | iStock.com/nicoletaionescu

If you continue to stay in a relationship with a selfish partner, you will likely begin to feel some resentment toward him or her. You’ll also feel emotionally exhausted, as it takes a lot of energy to continue this type of relationship. As your partner continues to take advantage, you’ll just become more miserable — unless you address the issue. Marriage can be challenging, so you’ll need a partner who’s willing to show up when times get rough.

Therapist Jane Greer says although some level of selfishness tends to exist in every relationship, what’s really important is learning how to compromise. “Relationships tend to be whittled down to a recurring theme: ‘me’ versus ‘we.’ It should be that relationships are about creating a we identity, without losing or sacrificing your me identity. In order to restore a balance, people need clarity about themselves: how selfish they are, what’s reasonable to expect of themselves and their partner, and most important, what’s realistic,” Dr. Greer writes in What About Me?

3. Your partner has an addiction

man holding his head

An addiction can affect your entire family. | iStock.com

Does your partner have an untreated addiction that has gotten out of control? This is a legitimate pre-marital concern. Addictions can take many forms, and when left untreated, can become an even bigger problem. Whether it’s an addiction to sex, drugs, shopping, or something else, it’s important for your partner to get help. Think very carefully before deciding to marry an addict.

Why it’s a concern

man sleeping next to pills

If your partner has an addiction, he or she must want to get help. | iStock.com

An addiction will not only impact your future spouse, but also your life and the lives of your children if you decide to start a family. Unless your partner is willing to get professional help, your marriage may not last very long.

In Psychology Today, psychologist Susan Pease Gadoua says a relationship will likely deteriorate if the addicted partner refuses assistance. “Because all addictive illnesses are progressive, the only path for the addict and his or her spouse is a downward spiral if they don’t get help. While this decline seems preventable — and there is no shortage of rehabs, 12-step programs, and other types of supports — an addict has to want help in order to stop acting self-destructively,” Gadoua writes.

4. Poor financial management

woman withdrawing money from ATM

Is your partner always broke? | iStock.com/guruXOOX

Is your partner terrible at managing money? You may be in a for a very stressful marriage. Your partner’s inability to get a handle on financial situations could give you a clue about their ability to manage other personal matters. You may want to think twice before merging accounts with someone who can’t get their financial life together.

Why it’s a concern

woman with open wallet

Good money management is important. | iStock.com/dolgachov

One of the top reasons for divorce is money problems. If your partner is terrible at managing finances, you’re already at a disadvantage. Research suggests frequent arguments about money can put significant strain on a relationship. A Kansas State University study even found that frequently arguing about money tends to be linked to increased divorce rates. And since frequent arguments about finances affect all income levels, the researchers consider the frequency of money fights to be a top indication of divorce.

5. Infidelity

Man texting someone

Cheating is never OK. | iStock.com

If your partner has cheated on you in the past and you’re concerned about your future, you might have good reason to worry. Cheating is never OK, and it’s a signal that some very real problems are present in your relationship. Take this as a big red flag that you may not want to proceed with marriage.

Why it’s a concern

Couple arguing while driving

Once a cheater, always a cheater? | iStock.com/AntonioGuillem

One top concern is the possibility of contracting a sexually transmitted infection from your partner. If he or she has a history of cheating, it could be a matter of time before you become infected. In addition, cheating behavior demonstrates a lack of integrity. If your partner can’t stay faithful now, what makes you think he or she will suddenly be faithful after you’re married?

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