M: Michael is getting married next month. He met his fiancé on a cruise a year ago. They got engaged six months later. But last week, he saw something about his bride-to-be that bothered him in a major way. She had a meltdown in one of the wedding coordination meetings. She was yelling at everyone, including his 60-year-old mother. He has six siblings and no one, including their late father, yelled at their mother. It might sound petty but he’s thinking of calling the wedding off. To me, it is not a petty if one thinks of calling off the wedding. When in doubt, don’t proceed just yet. And when you’re sure which way to go, don’t delay in deciding, otherwise it will just make things harder.
DJ: Researchers at UCLA noted that couples with doubts before marriage are more likely to divorce after four years. Men who had doubts are nearly twice as likely to divorce. What Michael needs to figure out is whether his doubts are reasonable or he’s just having a cold feet. I don’t know his fiancé so what I’ll do is to ask him a couple of questions. “Is she supporting his growth both emotionally and intellectually? Does he feel safe or good about who he is when she’s around?”
M: It will be well for Michael to talk things over with his fiancé. The meltdown was an eye-opener for him and talking in depth about what he feels about what she did to his mom will hopefully resolve his doubts while giving his fiancé the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes, a sweet bride-to-be turns into a bridezilla while in the thick of wedding preparations. It is always good to keep in mind that the wedding is just one day but the marriage is a lifetime. I think every bride should remember that the wedding is not just about her and her husband-to-be but also their respective families. For Filipinos, especially.
DJ: It’s been said that the only constant in life is change, and the right lifetime partner is someone who is willing to discuss issues, questions and topics that matter to each other. It’s likely that they’ll have more challenges as they live together as a couple. While the incident is unfortunate, the flip side is that he’ll know himself and his fiancé even better, whether they both have the willingness and ability to be together for better or worse. What’s the likelihood of the next 10 years? Will they be a living, growing entity or will they be reduced to just a pool of stagnant water?
M: I am just very curious though if Michael has previously noticed any red flags in his fiancé’s behavior but has brushed them aside. If he has, now is definitely the time to have an honest-to-goodness talk with his bride-to-be. I think it is better that these issues are out of the way before committing into marriage. There is nothing wrong with stepping back to discern well before deciding what is best for both. Once you tie the knot, it is hard to untie the knot, especially a very complicated knot. Anyway, it will be good for Michael to know that a breach of promise to marry is not an actionable wrong. If there’s one thing I strongly advice for couples thinking of getting married, just don’t think about it. Talk about it. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions and be ready for the answers that might, at first, be hard to understand. But once you know what is right, in time, deciding will be easy.
DJ: The fact that it bothers him, then it looks like a possible red flag. I also don’t suggest for Michael to ignore what happened or convince himself that the red flags aren’t that important. If there are major problems in the relationship, they won’t disappear when they exchange “I do’s.” It isn’t wise, in my opinion, for anyone to trade a wedding day for a lifetime.