I've been married more than five years, but I still remember how stressful it was to plan my wedding. It's one of the most important days of your life, and of course, you want everything to be perfect. But what if you're biggest concern is whether or not you're marrying the right person? It's sometimes hard to discern the difference between normal nerves and cold feet. I have been engaged twice in my life, and given the fact that I spent six years dating someone who I ultimately decided to split with five months before the big day, I can tell you that there are some definite red flags that shouldn't be ignored. If you're ready to walk down the aisle, here are five signs that your dream of "happily ever after" may be headed in the wrong direction:
1. You have serious doubt. When I started having nightmares of my wedding day and began fantasizing about life as a Runaway Bride, that should've been a clue that my first engagement was all wrong. More people than we realize walk down the aisle feeling like they're making a big mistake. In fact, a recent study from the University of California in Los Angeles reported that 19 percent of wives who reported doubts about getting married were divorced four years later (source). It's scary to think about disappointing your fiancé, family and friends, but it's a much bigger mess if the relationship fails after you've said "I do."
2. You're fighting more than ever. It's normal to feel a bit on edge as you sort out all the details of your big day, but those feelings of frustration shouldn't be directed negatively at your man. "Too often, women love the idea of being married for the 'playing the bride' aspect of it," says wedding planner Kristen Ley. "But leading up to their wedding day, they realize that they aren't ready to make a commitment to their groom." Give some thought as to whether or not you'd marry this same guy if you didn't have all the fancy fanfare.
3. You don't agree on big decisions. It's hard to predict what will happen five or 10 years into a marriage, but as David Bakke, editor of Money Crashers Personal Finance, points out, "You need to have some serious discussions about issues that you'll face in your married life - like children and money management - and make sure you're on the same page."
4. You're getting married because you're lonely. Many women grow nervous and concerned if they aren't married by a certain age. "If you said 'yes' to his proposal because you fear that he's the best you'll ever have, because you hate being single or because all of your friends are married, you should reconsider that walk down the aisle," says relationship expert and Dating with Dignity founder Marni Battista. Don't marry someone just to be married.
5. Friends and family are questioning your relationship. It's nearly impossible to make a life-changing choice without the support of your loved ones. If the people closest to you have been questioning your decision to get married or agree that you should call the whole thing off, that could be validation that it's time to give the engagement ring back.
Remember: it's your life, and no matter how many people you're worried about disappointing, the person who matters the most is you.Lori Bizzoco is the Executive Editor of CupidsPulse.com, a first-of-its-kind website that takes the latest celebrity news and repackages it to help singles and couples navigate their love lives. She is a sought after relationship and entertainment expert who has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, Chicago-Tribune, Working Mother, Woman's Day, Redbook, Parenting, and on Fox News, The Suze Orman Show, WebMD, Match,com, JDate, YourTango, and more. She's appeared in two books, 'No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think about Power' by feminist icon Gloria Feldt and 'Cheat on Your Husband (With Your Husband)' by Andrea Syrtash. Today, CupidsPulse.com has more than one million unique visitors per month.