Couples about to tie the knot shouldn’t ignore nagging doubts about getting married, warns a University of Alberta researcher.
“If you are having doubts about the relationship, just ignoring them may make a difference years down the road,” said Matthew Johnson who co-authored the study while at Kansas State University. Johnson is now an assistant professor in the University of Alberta Department of Human Ecology.
The study, published recently in the journal Family Process, found that couples who were more confident as they exchanged vows also spent more time together 18 months into the marriage, and were still happy sharing life with their spouses at the three-year mark.
The study used existing research data to weigh the marital confidence of 610 newlywed couples over a period of four years. Those who were most confident at the outset of matrimony were still showing their happiness by sticking together as a couple after the honeymoon was long over.
“These couples were spending time together, dining out, taking part in activities together, sharing meaningful conversation and physical expressions of affection. Those who are more confident in getting married are willing to invest in their relationships,” Johnson said.
In a time when divorce is prevalent, dealing with relationship issues up front is key, even if it could dim the glow of romance, according to Johnson. “It is tempting to push those concerns down and just go with the flow, but couples need to remember, the doubts you are having are there for a reason and dealing with them will be beneficial.”
Pre-marital counselling is a good opportunity for couples to talk openly and honestly about their concerns, and their confidence in being able to meet future challenges, Johnson suggested.