wedding on the beach
September 17, 2012

Pre-Wedding Jitters Could Foretell Of Later Divorce

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Ladies, if you're having second thoughts about saying "I do," maybe you shouldn't just brush it off as having cold feet, as a new study suggests that pre-wedding jitters could be an indicator of an ill-fated marriage.

A team of UCLA psychologists report in the online version of the Journal of Family Psychology that nearly one-fifth of all women who experienced uncertainty prior to tying the knot described being less satisfied with their marriages, according to Sharon Jayson of USA Today.

Furthermore, those wives were significantly more likely to wind up getting a divorce.

"People think everybody has premarital doubts and you don't have to worry about them," lead author Justin Lavner, a UCLA doctoral candidate in psychology, said in a statement Thursday. "We found they are common but not benign."

"Newlywed wives who had doubts about getting married before their wedding were two-and-a-half times more likely to divorce four years later than wives without these doubts," he added. "Among couples still married after four years, husbands and wives with doubts were significantly less satisfied with their marriage than those without doubts."

Lavner and his colleagues studied 232 newlywed couples (a total of 464 men and women) within the first few months of their marriage, and then conducted a series of follow-up interviews every six months over the next four years, the Telegraph explained.

During the initial interview, each of the men (who had an average age of 27 at that time) and women (who had an average age of 25) were asked if they were hesitant about getting married. A total of 47% of the husbands and 38% of the wives answered yet, the UK newspaper added.

Nineteen percent of the women who admitted to having doubts were divorced four years later, versus just 8% of those who did not get cold feet, the California university said. Similarly, 14% of the men who experienced such doubts were divorced four years later, compared to just 9% for those who did not.

In 36% of the couples, neither spouse said that they experienced doubts, and only 6% of those wound up divorced by the end of the study. When only the husband had doubts, just one in ten couples wound up getting divorced. When it was the wife who expressed hesitation, 18% of the couples wound up getting a divorce, and when both spouses had misgivings prior to their wedding, the marriages failed 20% of the time.

"What this tells us is that when women have doubts before their wedding, these should not be lightly dismissed," Lavner said. "Do not assume your doubts will just go away or that love is enough to overpower your concerns. There's no evidence that problems in a marriage just go away and get better."

"You know yourself, your partner and your relationship better than anybody else does," he added. "If you're feeling nervous about it, pay attention to that. It's worth exploring what you're nervous about."