Common Fears About Marriage And How To Overcome Them
Jan 11, 2021 by apost team
Marriage is to many a strong word because it signifies a whole new level of commitment. It's absolutely acceptable and understandable that one would fear this type of commitment, as it would mark quite a few significant changes. For many, it would mean going from the status of 'single and ready to mingle' down to 'married and tied down until the end of time.' However, fears related to commitment don't always have to stay fears; there's a way to understand and overcome all of the common fears and anxieties that come with marriage.
1. Fear Of Marrying The Wrong Person
This fear is very often at the top of people's list when it comes to commitment and marriage, and it's a valid one indeed. Who wouldn't wonder if they are marrying the wrong person? It's normal to have some fear about spending the rest of your life with a significant other that you may not be sure is the right one. However, one of the first ways to accept this fear is to realize that there are no perfect people — let alone perfect people to marry. There is, on the other hand, a person out there for you, and with the acknowledgment of their flaws and assets along with a commitment to them, a person with whom you can spend the rest of their life.
Expecting a lover to be super-human is just as impossible as expecting yourself to also be a perfect superhero, all day, every day. In an interview with The New Yorker, psychotherapist Esther Perel said on marriage:
"We keep wanting more. We are asking from one person what once an entire village used to provide."
Our partners are people, too, and crushing the fear of marrying the wrong person means being at peace with the fact that our partners are only one person. Owning your partner's flaws and strengths keeps you from falling into the false dichotomy of 'the right' or 'wrong' person, but rather a person and human being just like you.
2. Fear Of Losing Themselves After Marriage
When you spend a lot of time working on yourself and becoming a better person for yourself and those around you, it is valid to feel afraid of losing all of that hard work once you enter a marriage. We spend quite a lot of time in our lives working on ourselves, so it's no mystery that we would want to maintain all of that effort and not lose it once we stamp a relationship with a very high commitment label. When it comes to this topic, psychotherapist Esther Perel said told The New Yorker:
"Marriage is an aggregate of multiple narratives. It belongs to the people who are in it...you pick a partner, you pick a story..."
Perel's analogy can be used to help you overcome the fear of losing yourself, by reminding yourself that marriage means your partner agreed and decided to marry you — they already love you for who you are. While you may go through a whole multitude of different life changes during marriage — that doesn't necessarily mean you are no longer you. When your partner agreed to marry you, this meant that they love you for who you are and that you don't have to change yourself to be with them. There is no need to change or worry about your loss of self because your partner chose to be with you because of who you are, not because of who you aren't.
3. Fear Of Falling Out Of Love
It's very common to get cold-feet when staring into the eyes of a large and long commitment. 'Falling out of love' is a fear when it comes to shorter or even longer-term relationships. However, marriage is on a different level of commitment than these relationships, and getting rid of this fear has to do with remembering choice. When it comes to marriage, being in love, and staying in love is a choice that you will have to make every single day. Choosing to love your partner when you're in a marriage is 100% up to you and no one else! This also means that your partner will have to make this choice actively every day as well. There are a plethora of activities that you and your loved one can do together to foster love for one another and avoid falling out of love.
For example, you and your partner might set aside time to specifically read or watch a book or film together, so that you can have a lively discussion about it afterward. You and your partner might also take up a new hobby or try a new restaurant — sharing both old and new experiences are ways to gain an organic connection with one another. Prioritizing each other is another method to avoid falling out of love — whether it be activities or feelings. Prioritization can happen on small and big levels, and at best it's happening on a mixture of the two. Small texts to each other throughout the day, or even the now old-school version of leaving each other notes are small ways to create big meaning. While you don't have to have a huge date night every night, setting aside routine time for more larger displays of love certainly can't hurt. Another way is to just be yourself! You're the person your loved one fell in love with in the first place!
4. Fear Of Being Like Your Parents
The fear of ending up like your parents is not an uncommon one, and it almost always has a history behind it. It's highly likely that individuals experiencing this fear have experienced dramatic and toxic divorces or even near-death levels of fights and aggression. Whether the abuse was mental or physical, having an abusive childhood can definitely severely harm someone's idea of healthy partnership or marriage. Because there is a level of childhood trauma needing to be addressed that creates the fear for the future relationship, this is one of those issues that needs to be resolved inside yourself, firstly.
Not wanting to be like your parents is a very valid feeling in these cases. However, one way to immediately step back from this fear is to remind yourself: you are not your parents; you are your own person. You have spent many years building yourself separately from your parents, and you will do the same with your marriage. All of the effort that you have put forth is your own doing, and you should give yourself some credit. Who knows, maybe your parents will one day take marriage advice from you.
5. Fear Of The Unknown
Even before getting married, we build our own ideas, hopes, and dreams of what it will be like being married. Many of your ideas might bring you to fear, as this new step in your life is a new beginning, and a lot of the factors are unknown. Most of what we see when it comes to relationships is on television, and it's important to remember that those relationships are in many ways not dealing with the reality of having unknowns in life. Psychotherapist Esther Perel said to The New Yorker:
"I think a lot of the relationships that we’re used to encountering are scripted."
It's important to know that our lives aren't scripted like TV, but that doesn't mean going down an unknown path has to be a weakness. You should also know that you're not going down that path alone. Know that this is also a valid fear that your partner may be having. In fact, your marriage is only one small part of the reality that we face every day with a mixture of known and unknown variables. Not only are you fearing a small unknown compared to a lifetime of unknowns, but you also have someone you love and choose to love every day, to go down that path with you.
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Working Through The Fears
Despite how scary marraige can be, none of these fears about marriage are irrational. They all come from valid places, and while we all want to live without fear, it's very important to understand where these fears are coming from so that they can be worked through. Whether it's about losing yourself, falling out of love, being like your parents, marrying the wrong person, or stepping into an unknown territory, it's important to have faith in yourself and your loved one. When you sit back and reflect on why you are having these fears, many will eventually fade away and other ones can prevail. Luckily, you have a committed partner to help you navigate the newness of it all, and together you can make active goals to overcome most of the fears with one another, and prevent a lot of them. After all, you two are in this together!istockphoto.com/GeorgeRudy
We hope that this was able to help you overcome and work through some of your fears surrounding marriage! Which tip was your favorite? Which did you find the most helpful? Let us know your thoughts and be sure to pass this on to friends and family who are also struggling with marriage fears!