Pre-Wedding Jitters A Precursor To Divorce, Study Finds

By Amir Khan on September 17, 2012 1:15 PM EDT

Many people dismiss pre-wedding jitters as normal, but according to a new study, published in the journal Family Relations, they could be a precursor to marriage troubles. Researchers found that brides who have cold feet are more likely to get divorced than their counterparts who did not have the jitters.

Researchers surveyed 322 couples in Los Angeles during the first few months of their marriage and then again every six months for the next four years. They found that when brides had pre-wedding jitters, the marriage was more likely to fail.

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"People think everybody has premarital doubts and you don't have to worry about them," Justin Lavner, study author and doctoral student in psychology at UCLA, told LiveScience. "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. Among couples still married after four years, husbands and wives with doubts were significantly less satisfied with their marriage than those without doubts."

Nineteen percent of wives who reported cold feet were divorced in four years, compared to just 8 percent of wives who didn't have cold feet. In thirty-six percent of couples, neither the man nor the woman said they had any doubts, and of those, only six percent were divorced after four years.

While pre-wedding jitters doesn't necessarily mean that the wedding will fail, researchers said it's important to speak to your spouse about your worries before tying the knot.

"If you see something unusual on your skin, should you ignore it and go to the beach, or see a doctor? Be smart and don't ignore it - and don't ignore your doubts either," researcher Thomas Bradbury, who co-directs the Relationship Institute at UCLA, said, according to LiveScience. "Have a conversation and see how it goes. Do you think the doubts will go away when you have a mortgage and two kids? Don't count on that."

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