Feeling anxious about getting married is totally normal. It’s a lifelong commitment that comes with a ton of responsibility and work! However, it can also bring about the most joyful parts of your life by being able to share life’s sweet moments with the one you love (Awww!). Pre-marriage anxiety is a common phenomenon that affects many people, and seeking professional help can be an effective way to cope with it. In this article, we will explore what pre-marriage anxiety is, its symptoms, ways to seek professional help to overcome it, and more.
What is Pre-Marriage Anxiety?
Pre-marriage anxiety is a feeling of apprehension, nervousness, or worry that can occur before getting married. It is a natural response to a significant life change, and it can affect anyone, regardless of age or relationship status. Pre-marriage anxiety can manifest in different ways, such as feeling irritable, constant worrying thoughts, having trouble sleeping, or even experiencing physical symptoms like headaches or nausea.
Symptoms of Pre-Marriage Anxiety
The symptoms of pre-marriage anxiety can vary from person to person, but some common signs include:
- Constant worry about the future
- Inability to concentrate
- Avoiding responsibilities
- Trouble sleeping or staying asleep
- Feeling restless or agitated
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Irritability or mood swings
- Physical symptoms like headaches, stomach problems, or muscle tension
Factors That Contribute to Pre-Marriage Anxiety
Several factors can contribute to pre-marriage anxiety, including:
Fear of the unknown: Getting married can bring about many changes, including where you live, your day-to-day routine, the people you interact with, what you do for fun, the money you spend, and more. This fear of the unknown can trigger anxiety.
Pressure from family and society: Expectations from family and society can add to the pressure and anxiety surrounding getting married. Parents, siblings, and grandparents may all have their opinions on you and your life, making the pre-marriage anxiety even worse.
Personal insecurities: It may not be all about the relationship and marriage itself. It may also stem from some personal issues, as well, such as low self-esteem, past traumas, or unresolved conflicts. These things can contribute to the already growing pre-marriage anxiety.
Relationship issues: If you’re already experiencing relationship issues with your partner, such as trust issues or communication hurdles, it may add to the pre-marriage anxiety.
Coping Strategies for Pre-Marriage Anxiety
Okay, so you are pretty sure you’re experiencing pre-marriage anxiety. What should you do about it? Well, first, we’ll leave you with some coping strategies that may help, then we’ll talk about seeking professional help.
Talk to your partner: Share your fears and concerns with your partner. They may be feeling the same way, and talking about it together can help you both feel supported. Communication is always key!
Seek support from friends and family: Talking to friends and family members who have been through a similar experience can be helpful. They may be able to offer advice and reassurance.
Practice self-care: Take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising regularly. Taking time for activities you enjoy, such as reading or doing yoga, can also be great for anxiety.
Reframe your thoughts: Try to reframe your thoughts on the aspects of your marriage and future wedding that you are grateful for. Think about what you’re looking forward to and the reasons why you’re getting married.
Seek professional help: And, of course, as the title of this article suggests, seek professional help if your anxiety is so intense that it is interfering with your daily life. A therapist or counselor can assist you with even more coping strategies and emotional support.
Types of Professional Help for Pre-Marriage Anxiety
Alright, let’s talk about seeking professional help for pre-marriage anxiety. If your anxiety begins interfering with your daily life, you may want to consider turning to some professional help. But what are the options that exist for this type of thing? Well, there are various types of professional help available for pre-marriage anxiety. Let’s discuss:
Therapy: A therapist or counselor can provide you with strategies to cope with your anxiety. They may use techniques such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help you identify and change negative thought patterns.
Psychiatry: If your anxiety is severe, your psychiatrist may prescribe medication to help you manage it. However, medication should only be used under the guidance of a medical professional.
Support groups: Joining a support group for engaged or married couples can be helpful. These may be online support groups or in-person support groups. It’s important to note that some groups are peer-facilitated, and some are facilitated by a licensed therapist. Both options have their benefits, but it can be good to seek professional support for heightened levels of anxiety or trauma. You can connect with others who are going through similar experiences. You can hear their stories, advice, and suggestions which can be a great source of emotional support.
Couples counseling: If you and/or your partner are struggling with pre-marriage anxiety, couples counseling is a great option. A therapist/counselor can help you both navigate your fears and concerns and develop strategies to manage them together. This may include facilitating healthy communication, couples exercises, and more.
Benefits of Seeking Professional Help for Pre-Marriage Anxiety
If you’re not sold on getting help, you may be after reading this section. Let’sLet’s talk about the benefits that come from seeking professional help for pre-marriage anxiety:
Increased self-awareness: Not only can a therapist help you improve your relationship, but they can also help you improve yourself. This may be by identifying the root causes of your anxiety and developing a better understanding of your thoughts and feelings.
Improved coping skills: You can actually walk away from therapy with a toolbox full of coping skills to help manage anxiety. These skills can be applied to other areas of your life as well, not just the pre-marriage anxiety.
Better communication: You’ve probably heard that the key to a successful relationship is good communication, right? Well, couples counseling can improve communication between partners, which in turn can improve the relationship as a whole!
Enhanced relationship satisfaction: Addressing pre-marriage anxiety through therapy or other professional help services can improve relationship satisfaction and increase the likelihood of a successful marriage.
Prevention of future problems: After receiving a toolbox full of coping skills, learning how to better communicate with your partner, and improved self-awareness, future problems such as marital dissatisfaction, divorce, and mental health issues may be prevented.
What to Expect When Seeking Professional Help
Alright, so you’re ready to get some help for your pre-marriage anxiety, but what should you expect at your first few sessions? Let’s dive in.
Confidentiality: First thing to understand is that your mental health professional will keep your conversations confidential, unless there is a risk of harm to yourself or others.
Assessment: Next, you will likely undergo an assessment to better understand your anxiety and its causes. Your therapist/counselor/psychiatrist may ask you about your personal and family history, your current relationship, your mental health history, and any other relevant factors.
Treatment plan: After you’ve been assessed, you may receive a treatment plan. Your mental health professional will work with you to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your needs and goals. This may involve therapy sessions, at-home mental health exercises, medication, or a combination of all of these.
Homework: Another part of the treatment plan may be “homework,” which you should complete between sessions. Don’t worry–no algebra here. These assignments may include journaling, practicing relaxation techniques, or reading relevant material.
Progress monitoring: As time passes, and you go through your treatment plan, your mental health professional will likely monitor your progress throughout the course of treatment and make adjustments to the treatment plan as needed.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about pre-marriage anxiety professional help
You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. See below for some frequently asked Q’sQ’s regarding pre-marriage anxiety and seeking professional help.
Q: Is it normal to experience pre-marriage anxiety?
A: Yes, it’s normal to experience pre-marriage anxiety. It’s a major life transition, and it’s natural to feel nervous or worried about it. However, when it starts to interfere with your daily life, it may become something you need to seek professional help for.
Q: How can I know if I should seek professional help for my pre-marriage anxiety?
A: If your anxiety is severe or interfering with your daily life, it’s a good idea to seek professional help. Signs that you may need help include persistent worrying thoughts that make it hard to concentrate, difficulty sleeping or eating, and difficulty functioning in your daily life.
Q: What type of professional help is available for pre-marriage anxiety?
A: Professional help for pre-marriage anxiety may include therapy, psychiatry, support groups, and couples counseling.
Q: What should I expect during a therapy session for pre-marriage anxiety?
A: During a therapy session for pre-marriage anxiety, you can expect to talk about your fears and concerns with a mental health professional. They may provide you with strategies to cope with your anxiety and help you develop skills to manage it.
Q: Will seeking professional help for my pre-marriage anxiety guarantee a successful marriage?
A: While seeking professional help for pre-marriage anxiety can certainly be beneficial for your mental health and your relationship, it does not guarantee a successful marriage. There are many contributing factors that lead to a successful marriage, and while addressing pre-marriage anxiety is important, it is just one piece of the puzzle.
To wrap it up, pre-marriage anxiety is a real thing that can be reduced through professional help. By addressing any concerns or fears you may have before walking down the aisle, you can be better prepared for the ups and downs of married life. Remember, there’s no shame in seeking help and support when you need it, and taking care of your mental health and emotional well-being is critical! So go ahead and take that first leap toward a happy and healthy marriage – your future self will thank you for it!
David F Khalili is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, board-certified sexologist, author of Mental Health Workbook for Men, founder of Rouse Relational Wellness, a boutique sex and relationship therapy center serving San Francisco and all of California, and recently started Rouse Academy, an online learning platform to address sex and anxiety. You can learn more about David’s practice at rousetherapy.com.