Wedding Undergraduate: Brave Bride & Cold Feet

I get a lot of emails about cold feet. Women freaking out about getting married, and wondering if it’s the right thing to do. I’m not a therapist (and hello, if your cold feet get freezing, you should talk to one NOW), but I do read a lot of these emails, and have some thoughts. First, I think worrying about making a huge life decision is totally normal. I think worrying about the complex nature of a wedding, or the unknowable nature of marriage is probably the hallmark of being a smart and self aware woman about to make a huge leap.* However, if your cold feet come in the form of, “I’m not sure I love my fiance,” or, “I love my fiance but I’m starting to think marrying him/her might be a bad idea,” then, I would you encourage you to slow down your wedding plans.

But today isn’t about that, exactly. Today is about the amazing story that Team Practical member Kimberly, who writes these days over at Brave Bride (tagline: Budget, Beauty, Balls), has shared with me over the last month or so. It’s the story of her coming to terms with her cold feet (with a video that made me all teary and mind-blown) and it makes me want to French kiss the world.

First, bits of the email Kimberly sent me a month and a half ago:

My fiance was away this past weekend for his bachelor party, so I had a lot of time to be alone with my cold feet. I was so nervous about saying ‘I do’ for, you know, ever and EVER, that it caused me to stay up at night downing a jumbo bag of M&M’s while watching a marathon of Toddlers & Tiaras (a reality show that is scary enough as it is!). And then I cried myself to sleep, confused AND feeling guilty about my confusion.

There are 2 issues that are causing me to have cold feet, and neither of them have anything to do with how much I love my fiance:

  • The awareness that my fiance and I will inevitably be attracted (physically, emotionally, or spiritually) to someone else at some point in our lives. This doesn’t mean infidelity is inevitable, but I it *might* mean that temptation is inevitable. Scary. As. Hell.
  • I can’t help but take note of my parents’ tragic marriage and that of 50% of other American marriages. Now if that’s not discouraging and depressing, I don’t know what is.

As for the first point, there are multiple people in this world with whom we could have a potentially wonderful romantic partnership. There are people who can make us laugh harder than our fiances can. And there are people who are not even capable of making us as annoyed as our fiances do at times. So what’s a girl to do when she’s bent on all of these heavy thoughts? She talks to her fiance about it. And when I talked to mine, he did his usual little magic trick where he talks me down from the ledge…

My fiance Brian assured me that what I’m feeling is normal, and what I’m thinking is true. But he also said that if I keep holding back from fully committing because the grass is always greener in another cute boy’s yard, I’m going to miss out on all of the wonderful, kick-ass things that are unique to a long-term relationship. (I know, I know…he’s SUCH a keeper, ain’t he?)

As for the second point, I’m afraid that my life with Brian will turn out just like my parents’: smooth, simple, and lovely for the first half of the marriage, then torturous, resentful, and cold during the second half. It’s scary to know that two people can start off with love and good intentions, only to end up being the thorn in each other’s side. You see, my parents weren’t always such a disaster. In the beginning they were just twenty-something-year-olds in love. They came from big families and had parents with long and happy marriages. So if two-hurt-and-angry-strangers-sharing-a-cold-bed can happen in their love story, it can happen to anyone’s.

I am the sum of my parents’ strengths and weaknesses, but I don’t want to believe that my marriage will suffer the same fate. Fortunately, I see in myself a characteristic that is completely unique to me – a trick up my sleeve that neither my mom or dad have. It’s called balls. They’re not very big but they’re growing- mostly through writing, dishing with friends, reading Team Practical’s thoughts, and lots of talking with a fiance whose bold ballsy-ness impresses the heck out of me. All of this brings me (at times, but CRUCIAL times) great courage and peace.

For me, so much of being engaged is just about being brave. It’s about being fully aware of the realities of marriage and signing up anyway, knowing that when the time comes to fight for my relationship I’ve got to have the guts to be honest, the guts to hear my husband be honest with me, and the guts to do the work that needs to be done. And I’m coming to grips with the fact that having cold feet doesn’t make me a bad person. It doesn’t mean I don’t love Brian. It doesn’t mean I’m not ready to be married. And it doesn’t mean that I’m more likely to be a bad wife. I’m just proceeding with caution, moving forward, and plowing through. And that’s the best and bravest thing I can do for now.

But this, this is what Kimberly wrote me this weekend, and this is the video she sent me. I know, I know. What a pain to watch a video. But do it. This one is a little long (you can fast forward a bit in the middle if you are so busy you just don’t have time for Kimberly and Tom Petty) but WATCH IT. It will give you goosebumps. The magic kind.

Sometimes the anticipation of that which is risky is scarier and more debilitating than engaging in the act itself. This is not to say that the jump or a marriage are a piece of cake – clearly, I’m aware that both can suck you dry of everything you’ve got. But when the fear is in your MIND as opposed to in your heart, it’s wise to simply take a leap of faith.

*Side note: I actually didn’t have cold feet, so I’m not saying you have to have them to be thoughtful and sane. But I am saying they are normal.

Featured Sponsored Content

  • anna

    Meg, again… exactly what I needed to read today! I’m 2,5 weeks away from my wedding and getting nervous about it (just like I was the first month of my engagement). I had my bachelorette party last weekend and was surprised by how long it took me to process that (how sweet everyone was, how much fun I had, but also wondering if everyone else had a good time, and realizing the wedding is so soon) so I can only question what the wedding will be like…

    But as I was writing my vows this morning I again started to feel really nervous about how big the commitment is I’m about to make and how it feels huge that I’m promising to stick with my man for the rest of our lives. I’m a very literal person (lawyer, so there you go) so to write these things and then say them out loud feels like a big deal, especially since you really don’t know what lies ahead of you.

    And you’re so right that “Sometimes the anticipation of that which is risky is scarier and more debilitating than engaging in the act itself. ” That’s why I think I found being engaged pretty scary and emotional.

    So for the next three weeks, i’ll keep the leap of faith and skydiving (which, funnily enough, my fiance did for his bachelors party) in the back of my head to keep me grounded. Thanks, Kimberly and Meg, for sharing!

    • Kimberly from the post, here. Anna, I’m getting married in 2 weeks as well! Yes, the vows are the scary part. Right now I can’t imagine not loving the every day stuff of our future, but it’s all of that unpredictable stuff that makes it me second guess how well I can live out my intentions. All I can do is try my best, even if at times I feel like my best is not good enough. I hope you’ll let us know how things go for you in 2 weeks! Best of luck.

      • Anna

        hi Kim – you’re totally spot on, i’m just generally speaking not a very leap-of-faith person since I like to plan things out entirely… but I will definitely let you know how it goes and will continue reading your blog, which I just discovered. I hope that you have a great day and enjoy the time leading up to your wedding as much as possible (biggest exercise in staying in the moment ever!)…

    • Em

      I’m going through the same stuff right now, getting married the same weekend as you. So much going on! Good luck and have fun!

  • I went through a couple of months with EXTREMELY cold feet. But it was more along the lines of- Will I f*ck this up? I haven’t had the best relationship past, but my fiance is a wonderful reminder of the person I am now and that my past has nothing to do with who I am now except for when I let it. And the past is great, I always feel strongly about looking back in order to look forward, but I try to look at it constructively and not dwell on mistakes or wasted time.

    I’m a regular reader on Kim’s blog and she is quite wonderful!

  • Wow! I absolutely loved this post!! I also did not have cold feet Meg – but I surprisingly (to myself) related to this post anyway! :) It’s a great reminder of what a wonderful ‘ride’ marriage and long-term love can be! Also, it is good to acknowledge that it is a brave and sometimes scary step to take but well worth it if you are with the right person! :)

    The end of the video especially got me… “So maybe this wild, bumpy and thrilling ride they call marriage will be one hell of a Good Story in one hell of a Beautiful Life.” LOVE.

  • Erin

    I think I saw my backyard in some of those pictures from the video. No, really!

    Never wanted to skydive before, but Kim, you got me thinking about it! Keep living adventurously, and enjoy your beautiful life!

    • If you live on Long Island I definitely saw your backyard from up there!

      Oh, and I SO recommend skydiving. It wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be. Even my 19 friends who jumped with me (yes, even the ones who had been researching skydiving death rates up until the day of) said that it was awesome. But if you’re prone to motion sickness you’ll definitely need some Dramamine. ;)

  • andthebeautyis

    Oh, man. ExACTly what I needed this Monday morning.
    Friday night, I read a passage in Dan Savage’s The Commitment that made me think we were moving too fast: here was a smart young woman who got married and pregnant, only to get divorced a year later when she found out she didn’t know her husband well enough. Now, I really don’t think Mr. Man is keeping major secrets from me, but we haven’t taken the *years* I always imagined it would take to know I wanted to marry someone. So, on the train home that night, I got major cold feet, and thought, “Oh, my God, what am I doing? This is the single biggest decision I’ll ever make voluntarily, and I just floated into it!” So, I’m talking it out with our officiant today.
    But thank you, thank you for this inspiring post & video. This really is the place that gets what it means to get married.

    • Morgan

      I was with an ex boyfriend for 6 years before he proposed, and called it all off just shy of our 7 year anniversary. We had years and years to get to know each other, and it just took me that long to realize it wasn’t right, and would never work.

      My husband and I? I moved in after 4 months, we were engaged after just more than a year, and were married by our 2 year anniversary. And he knows me better and more honestly than anyone ever has.

      Each relationship has it’s own scale – don’t let external stuff worry you too much. If you believe you know him, and believe he’s right for you, and your heart and mind and gut all say yes? Then several more years of getting to know you won’t make a difference. If something is saying no? Then that’s a whole separate question, and I encourage you to think hard. But time is relative.

    • Like Morgan, I was with an ex-boyfriend for years (including a couple after he proposed) before I realized I had to call it off. My husband and I got married a day over one year since our first date. Things are going great, with none of the reservations I had in my past relationship, or feelings that we don’t really know each other. Each relationship is different, and so is it’s timeline. If it feels right to you, and you don’t feel rushed, don’t worry about having floated into it. Sometimes things are just right, and you know it immediately.

      • andthebeautyis

        Thanks much, ladies. It’s good to hear stories of swiftly developed, but grounded relationships.
        Also, thank you again, Kim & Meg, because once again, this post induced a thrillingly deep conversation with Himself that cleared away the gook that was scaring me. You guys help me focus on the good, and that is so so good.

  • Alia

    Wow, reading this resonated with something in the back of my mind, for sure. I wouldn’t say I’ve exactly had cold feet, but her two issues are definitely things that I have thought of and worried about. But her whole paragraph about being brave during your engagement – I just want to print that out and post it on my wall and read it every day. Thank you for this.

  • Wow, this was really powerful to read and watch. I didn’t have cold feet after we were engaged, but I sure did before we were engaged. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get married at all, and a lot of it had to do with Kimberley’s reason #2. Once I knew that it was about my husband being the perfect partner for me, I was able to reconcile my feelings about marriage.
    And that video totally gave me chills! Love it!

  • Amy

    I appreciate this post. I don’t think that people talk enough about the inevitability of being attracted to someone else in the future. My mom told me long ago that she and a friend of hers called these men the “could-have-beens.” I believe that if you go into a relationship knowing that this can (will?) happen that it is less scary when it does. If you know this is normal you take it for what is is and go home, instead of worrying that perhaps THIS was the person you were supposed to marry because you are having these attractions/feelings and SOMETHING must be wrong with your marriage/relationship. I just feel like knowing about or expecting this inevitability is an important tool for not blowing it out of proportion and for staying faithful to your spouse.

    • So very true, Amy. It’s easy to blow things out of proportion if you have not yet experienced, imagined or thought through the inevitability of being attracted to others.

      But I’m also realizing that when we’re attracted (in a major way) to a person aside from our partner, it *could* mean that we are looking for something that we are not getting from our partner at the moment. It could also mean that we’re craving something in our life that is lacking in general, not necessarily because your partner is deficient.

      For example, I notice that when I get crazy crushes on people, they tend to be the kind of guy who is very opposite from my guy – my eye wanders away from straight-forward, reliable, funny, meat-and-potatoes Brian to those cultured, super brainy Renassaince men. It’s not that Brian is deficient, but because *I* want to be more well-rounded, educated, and creative that I look to someone who has those things.

      So I guess as long as I view attraction as an invitation to a deeper understanding of my relationship with my partner (and/ or myself), it can actually be a good thing. Yeah, less self-judgment. More compassionate exploration.

      • Kim,

        Your candor and honesty are astounding. I’m 5 years into my non-marriage “marriage” and consider myself to be pretty self actualized. But I recently started asking myself a lot of these questions. I’ve been stewing on it for a week or so now and was beginning to form the conclusion that my confusion was more a sign of greater needs that I should address in my relationship. Your eloquence in summarizing, “So I guess as long as I view attraction as an invitation to a deeper understanding of my relationship with my partner (and/ or myself), it can actually be a good thing.” really hit the nail on the head for me.

        Thank you.

      • liz

        yes, yes! such a good thought. and when we recognize this in ourselves, it allows us to be much more understanding of our partner.

      • I think this is so true.

        I’ve been surprised lately by how many affairs seem to be (caveat–based on observation only) rooted in a fear of/coming to grips with mortality, etc. vs. just being “bored” with one’s spouse.

        • Margaret,

          I have been watching so much infidelity happen in relationships around me and it’s led me to question how we, as a society, got to this point. Because in my experience the reasons are numerous and complicated, but they all seem to “justify” cheating as acceptable. Truthfully it all threw me for a loop, has led me to question my own ability to be faithful and generally scared the bejeebuz outta me regarding our forever-future together. Suddenly I’m wondering if humans are truly capable of monogamous relationships, because no one around me seems to be able to manage it…

          • liz

            your comment made me sad, kristy.

            being attracted to someone else is… well, an inevitability.

            but i think it comes down to priorities. and sometimes, down to selfishness. it feels good to start a new romance- to like someone, and know that they appreciate you- it’s exciting and fun. but it’s easy to halt that process. to sense that coming on, and get the hell out of dodge. to avoid that person, or maybe just being alone with them.

            and i think that’s where it comes down to priorities- is it more important to you to protect your relationship by thwarting those happy feelings? or is that overwhelming (and sometimes, short-lived) excitement more important?

            my plan is to protect my relationship- and to try to foster excitement there, so i don’t long to look elsewhere.

      • meg

        Or, um, it could mean the other person is HOT.

        Obviously all of what you ladies are saying is valuable and can be true, but I also think we culturally have a tendency to over analyze our attractions (I have no idea why). Humans are made to be attractive to each other, it’s good for the species and all that. Sometimes I’m attracted to someone just because I think they are hot. And it’s a little easier for me to just realize that’s normal and totally ok, and let it go. It’s not because something is lacking in my relationship, but because the other person looks/smells good.

        So. Just sayin’ ;)

        • The ones that are “just hot” are not the ones I worry about – it’s easy to let those slide. It’s the ones who are hot, creative, kind… and think you’re hot, too. THOSE are the ones I worry about!

          • Liz

            that’s totally what i was thinking, too, kim!

          • meg

            Oh, but I have a secret weapon for those guys. I think, “Yeah, but how about when I get to know them better? I dated a lot of people for years before David, ad no one was as good a match for me. What the chance that THIS GUY is as good a match? Ok then, lets go back to admiring his pretty. Yum.”

            Also, I wonder if they are going to make me laugh harder than David does. And no one ever wins that ;) And I really like laughing…

          • Yup. Because there are those who you find attractive…and then there are those *you are attracted to*. There’s a big difference. The latter is stronger, obviously. And it’s more complex. Layered. Intoxicating. Dangerous.

            I could keep going and turn this post into a steamy summer romance novel but I’ll stop here. ;)

          • Meg, I like that secret weapon. And I’ve used it in the past but I usually don’t remember that it’s available for use until after about a week of daydreaming about cute-boy-from-grad-school. (Sigh.)

        • In the book “For Better” something or other, the author talks about a study that suggests that women in committed relationships will throw up mental roadblocks when they feel attracted to another person. The men in the study did not have the same results but could teach themselves to create mental safety barriers along the lines of what Meg describes here.

          • Interesting. Sarah, so if I’m understanding you correctly, according to the study you read women try to stop themselves from feeling attracted to another person, while men more easily accept that the attraction is there and tend to focus on simply letting it go and not acting on it.

            So I guess this suggests that there’s more guilt and shame for women regarding the issue of sexual attraction. It’s off-limits and taboo for us, more so than for men, and therefore, we talk ourselves out of the basic desire…or come up with some complicated psychological explanation for it, like I did. Ha! Although my excuse is that I’m a psych major. ;)

          • I can vouch for that study being accurate in my case. I totally do that subconciously. Before I was in a commited relationship, I would constantly be on the look out for attractive (let’s just say it, hot) guys and enjoy their wonderful good looks:) Now, I am not able to find a multitude of guys attractive and I find that I’m almost unable to without really trying to go to that point.
            I didn’t really even know I did that until we were on the beach recently and he (he’s totally straight, don’t worry!) could find more attractive guys than I could!

            It’s something I’m very grateful for and I know if I go past that mental block, I’ve gone too far.

      • Kim

        ” . . . my eye wanders away from straight-forward, reliable, funny, meat-and-potatoes Brian to those cultured, super brainy Renassaince men. It’s not that Brian is deficient, but because *I* want to be more well-rounded, educated, and creative that I look to someone who has those things.”

        That’s really interesting; I never would have thought of that.

      • Alex

        I think accepting that we will be attracted to other people not only frees us from judgment when it happens, but also allows us to take smart evasive action. Too often the narrative seems to be that I should put myself in a tempting situation because, well “if I was really strong I wouldn’t be tempted and I could handle it, so I should go out and test it and avoiding temptation is a cowardly thing to do.” But when I start with the realization that these feelings will come, and then they will pass, it seems easier to bow out of exploring them or judging them because I know they don’t necessarily mean anything deeper. And also, that I’m not a coward for not wanting to drop hypothetical bombs on my relationship just to see if it’s still standing. When I write it down, that sure seems like a terrible idea.

  • I loved the video for the same reasons I love wedding videos. Sheer joy on faces cannot be faked.
    And marriage and skydiving, more similar then I had thought.

  • “Joy expands from the inside out when there is someone to share it with” – this makes my eyes tear up and my heart beat faster. Sometimes my heart feels so full, I get scared that it could all go away in an instant, as if I could pop like a balloon. This will be my new mantra when I feel that way.

    • Rachel

      Last week, my husband and I visited my dad’s parents, who have been married 57 years. Cooking breakfast in the morning, she would call across kitchen to the living room, where he was reading he paper. “Joseph!” she sung. He would pick his head up and beam at her while she waved her fingers back at him. When we went into town, they walked with arms around each other’s backs.

      Some marriages don’t last. We know that, and it’s scary to begin this journey with that in mind. But there are also people like my Nana and Pop-Pop, who have lived through the murder of a sister, deaths of their parents and many of their friends, a quadrupal bypass, three sons and 8 grandchildren, and a rash of mental illness, and who still behave like two teenagers in puppy-love. There is hope, and if we don’t leap because we’re afraid love might not be there tomorrow, it won’t.

      • andthebeautyis

        Beautifully said, Rachel.

      • Every time I hear a story like this one I really really want a graduate post from the couple. :)

  • lou

    oh man! this is good stuff to read, to consider and to talk with the man about. reason number one scares me. a lot! but i agree with the posters above that thinking about these issues beforehand helps to take some of the fear out of it. the parent stuff too – so right there with you! it’s hard to shake it off when that is your model for relationships as a child. and having a father who left my mother for that other person who he connected with physically and spiritually makes issue number two even more scary. big, big stuff!

    • “thinking about these issues beforehand helps to take some of the fear out of it”

      …So true, Lou! It’s amazing how quickly fear can dissolve (or at least evolve) when you name it and talk about it with your partner. And that’s just one of the great things about partnership, I think.

  • caitlin

    needed. this. today.

    thank you.

    • ElfPuddle

      me too!

      • Maria

        Me three!

  • I needed this so much today, I can’t even put it into words.

    Thank you.

  • Wow- I was not prepared for these tears from that video. Thank you SO much for that, Kimberly!

  • liz

    i had a few, brief moments of, “holy hell, am i gonna be able to live with that snort when he laughs for the REST of my LIFE?”

    i think meg’s right. there’s a bit of wisdom to recognizing the insane HUGEness of this decision- the fact that he may find another girl funny one day, and we’re going to need to find a way to make that okay, bounce back, whatever. the fact that i’m essentially saying, “forever” in my wedding vows, and that could mean years of annoying laughter.

    as far as the whole “temptation” stuff- when i was dating, i felt on my own with worries that he’d cheat/want to cheat. worries that i’m not the prettiest/funniest/smartest girl he knows. now that we’re married, our communication and togetherness is so much… awesomer… that when those fears creep in, i can say, “hey. don’t cheat on me, mmkay?” and he laughs, and pinky swears that he won’t. and i instantly feel better. maybe that’s naivete for ya. but, just knowing i can talk about it makes me feel better.

    • I don’t think it is naive so much as good communication. You have the freedom to express your fears in your relationship and your partner takes them seriously in a not-serious manner. I think that’s awesome.

  • “For me, so much of being engaged is just about being brave. It’s about being fully aware of the realities of marriage and signing up anyway, knowing that when the time comes to fight for my relationship I’ve got to have the guts to be honest, the guts to hear my husband be honest with me, and the guts to do the work that needs to be done.”

    This is what I resonate with most and I have had to come to terms with myself. Saying yes to more hurt and pain than if you went through life alone also comes with sharing in more love, joy, and passion than is ever possible alone. That’s the part I remind myself with when I begin to head down the scary road of all that stuff to come. Knowing my man for who he is and trusting that he is commited and in this for my good also is essential.

    • “Saying yes to more hurt and pain than if you went through life alone also comes with sharing in more love, joy, and passion than is ever possible alone.” YES!!! Exactly.

      My mantra for the past 5 years with Brian: Joy and pain come together? Oh crap.

      But I think acceptance of this is what will differentiate between a good life and a fulfilling life. So yeah. I’ve decided I’m game for the gamble. :)

      • This reminds me of an interview with Craig Finn of The Hold Steady talking about his latest tour:

        “Even after a thousand soundchecks, a thousand load-in and load-outs, fifty missed birthdays, and a few hundred electrical shocks, our reward still vastly outweighs the struggle. In fact, the reward would not exist without the struggle. Thus, this struggle is inherently part of the reward.”

        This seems applicable to relationships, weddings, and life in general.

  • Just a note to Team Practical:

    You ladies have inspired me to be brave – about my wedding planning AND my future marriage. Thank you for all of your comments and support. Really. Sometimes you forget how wonderful people can be. But then you stumble upon a site like this and you remember. :)

  • My fiance and I talk about how what really gets us about marriage is how you stand up there in front of the people you are closes to and say to each other, “this may get crazy and there will be hard times and neither one of us is perfect…far from perfect…but I choose you. I choose to stand by you for the rest of my life.” and how unbelievably powerful it is to make that commitment in the face of reality. It’d be easy to commit if we knew it was all sunshine and puppy dogs for the rest of our lives, but to knowingly commit to another person knowing full well that life is not always easy or pleasant is HUGE….and wonderful.

    We get married in 12 days.

    • meg

      TWELVE DAYS!!!!!! Enjoy the ride, lady. And if you’re not a wedding graduate I’ll hunt you down and kill you. Is all I’m saying.

  • Kim, you already know how fabu I think you are. Thanks for sharing the realities of what being engaged sometimes feels like (SHEER PANIC AND TERROR :D).

  • Roxanne

    YES. Yes. This.
    We celebrated our one year marriage anniversary this past weekend, and I think sometimes I still get cold feet, even though I don’t know if they count since I already tied the knot. But you know, that feeling of ohdeargod what if something awful happens and then we hate each other? But yes. It’s unpredictable. But it’s amazing.
    Thank you.

  • Paige

    I could not have related to this post any more than I do! I had struggles with this at the beginning of my engagement, and although most ‘cold feet’ tendencies have subsided, it still lingers. I’m not much for having romantic poems read at my wedding (they’re beautiful, i just feel a little silly…) but I found this poem on another blog and a think it kind of sums up marriage and the highs and lows of being together and loving each other. because it’s not always going to be that crazy-butterfly-love!

    Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
    Louis de Bernieres

    Love is a temporary madness,
    it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.
    And when it subsides you have to make a decision.
    You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together
    that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.
    Because this is what love is.
    Love is not breathlessness,
    it is not excitement,
    it is not the promulgation of eternal passion.
    That is just being “in love” which any fool can do.
    Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away,
    and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.
    Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground,
    and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches,
    they find that they are one tree and not two.

    i think this poem changed my mind about having a poem read at my wedding:)

    • Sarah

      Goodness, I love that! It’s absolutely beautiful…

    • ddayporter

      we had that read at our wedding! but just fyi it’s not a poem, it’s an excerpt from the novel, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and it is slightly abridged/amended from the text in the book.

    • Love that!! Might just have to use it in our ceremony. Thanks for sharing, Paige.

      • Paige

        youre totally right, ddayporter! i realized after i posted that ‘poem’ wasn’t the best word! it makes me want to read the whole thing now though!

        • ddayporter

          you should! it’s a great book. :)

  • Ahhh, cold feet. I’ve gotten them now and then for the past nine years. And mostly for the reasons you cite: that scary “what-if” and the “could-have-beens” (thanks, Amy, what a PERFECT title!), and the cold, hard statistics (and often examples) of divorce. It’s mother-f*king scary.

    But, this?
    “Sometimes the anticipation of that which is risky is scarier and more debilitating than engaging in the act itself.”

    So true. So intensely true. And that’s what makes marriage hard and scary and so phenomenally worth it. Because after the anticipation is over, what you get to experience is worth every nervous second. And with the flashes of cold feet (normal, expected cold feet) come these aftershocks of warmth, a reaction to the cold: epiphanies about how lucky I am and how much I love him. I had a moment like this last week that was just so RIGHT, and it reminded me of how excited I am to be married.

    Thanks, Kim, for sharing. :D

    • Interesting…you make me wonder how one’s mindset might change after the wedding, and how my cold feet might evolve into something way different once we’re married. “Aftershocks of warmth” sound good to me!

      • You know, I’m not sure if that came out right– I’m not married yet. I’ve been dating my fiance for nine years (we’re getting married on the day of our tenth anniversary). We’ve been dating since high school, and I had those cold-feet moments when he decided not to go to college, when he was unsure of his own future and it made me nervous about OUR future. And I still get cold feet now and again– but not REAL cold feet, per se, more like chills. When I wonder. Those moments we’re talking about.

        But since we’ve gotten engaged, I still have those moments, but they’re swiftly followed by perseverance, tenacity, a readiness to duke it out and to figure out why I feel that way and if it’s a Real Issue, or just me being neurotic (and it’s usually the latter). And those warm aftershocks are ones that I notice so much more, and I hold onto them, and I realize that I’m lucky enough to get those for forever.

        I’m excited to get married in September, even if sometimes it’s a little chilly. Because then he wraps his arms around me and warms me right up again.

  • Carreg

    Wonderful video. And now I have another clever, thoughtful, big-picture wedding blog to follow!

  • I have the same worries due to my parent’s divorce. It doesn’t help that everyone in my family, except my grandparents & two aunt/uncle sets, have been divorced. NOBODY in my fiance’s family has been divorced. Still, I had pretty much put my worries aside until we attended pre-cana this weekend & they said that if you come from a divorced family, you’re more likely to get divorced because it’s what you know. That statement really took the wind out of my sails. I feel like a failure before I even start this adventure called our marriage. I try to be optimistic & positive, yet realistic. I know relationships, especially marriage, require love & hard work & I’m ready & willing for both. But I hear a statement like that & it’s like there’s already a huge strike against me. I just have to shake it off, read this entry again & stay in the positive!!

    • liz


      i’m mad that they told you this, and burst your bubble of optimism.

      so what, you know divorce. surround yourself by healthy, loving couples that work through things. read books by intelligent and thinking couples.

      they say something similar about people who are abused as children. if you’re abused, you’re more likely to abuse your own kids. and i guess that’s true. but all 4 of my grandparents were abused as children. and i had the most loving parents- an amazing childhood.

      beat the odds. i know you can.

    • Marina

      The way I think about statistics like that is a warning. It’s like, I don’t know, “watch for ice” signs by the highway. Those signs mean that sometimes people who drive that highway slide on ice and crash. But it doesn’t mean that everyone who drives there crashes, and in fact, because you saw that sign and know to start driving carefully, you’re LESS likely to crash.

      I need to ask myself (and my husband) what problems usually come up for people from divorced families? What issues usually come up for interfaith couples? And then talk about those NOW when everything is fine and dandy, so that if and when they come up again we’re USED to talking about them and it’s not as big and scary a thing.

      • Thank you Liz & Marina! & really, all of the APW community because I’m so grateful for it!! The divorce statement was rattling but it’s all about my reaction. I’m going to focus on it as a warning & concentrate on what positive things I can do to make divorce not happen to us.

      • Great idea, Marina! In our pre-marital counseling we discussed all of the issues that might come up for an interfaith marriage like hours. It was VERY helpful and feel much more confident about our success in that area as a result of the conversation(s).

  • Moz

    Kim babe, you rule so hard. I recommend all you girls go and read her blog right now.

    I eagerly await your grad post girl! xx

  • Alicia

    Such a wonderful post.

    I was completely cold-feet-tastic for much of our engagement (and pre-engagement) and have commented before how I was so cold-feet-ish that initially I turned my loving now hubby down, and ended up proposing to him many months later when I’d really had a chance to wrap my mind around it.

    A major worry for me focused on the wedding day itself… would I feel present enough? Would these niggly worries about the huge-ness of marriage, about my fears about the forever and ever bit, about my parents break up etc overshadow all the excitement and wonder of connecting myself to this incredible person? When we wrote our ketubah I suggested we revise a line that he’d written that said ‘may we always remember the joy we feel at this moment etc’ because I was so worried that actually at the crucial moment I wouldn’t feel joy, I’d somehow feel panicked and scared.

    One thing that helped me on our wedding day was for us to spend the night before together and wake up together. it was so normal, with a slice of giddy, and really helped me feel connected to him. and truly I DID feel joyful, in the most profound way I find it hard to describe. and funnily enough, my dad made the classiest ever speech about my mom (from whom he’s been divorced for 22 years) and somehow it all just felt right and lovely and whole. So we live through our parents bad breakups and shared custody and commitment-phobia, and we struggle like hell to make ourselves complete and brave and ballsy people, and we stay alert and keep our eyes out to why we feel scared and panicked, and hopefully we make better wives and partners because of it. anyways, thank you for this honest and really wonderful post.

  • It’s funny you say that you didn’t have cold feet, Meg. Because I don’t, either. I agree that they’re normal and making this huge enormous life step is, well, huge. But I just don’t have them. After being in a relationship where I thought we would get married and then, just like that, I didn’t feel it anymore (and, in hindsight, it WASN’T just like that), I knew that it was more important to know what I DID NOT want than what I DID want. And I feel totally confident and comfortable in our decision to “make it legal.”

    • meg

      Yeah, I don’t know, I just didn’t have them. I basically knew that if David and I ever started dating we’d get married (we’d known each other a long ass time and were really good friends before we ever even thought of dating) so from day one it was really just timing, and tackling the big stuff that needed to be tackled.

      And, I think coming from no-divorce happily married families (almost no divorces in mine, at all, anywhere) made it easier. That obviously doesn’t make us *better* at being people or a couple, but when divorce doesn’t play much of a part in your personal world view, you have less fear to leap over.

      I mean, I had RAGE-FULL feet. But they were rage-full at the wedding bullsh*t, not what we were doing.

      And YES, waking up next to your partner does make you breathe easy on your wedding day, from moment one.

      • We woke together and drove to the ceremony together. The calmest portion of my day. Period. I was too muchof a spaz for a “yichud” so the before mattered so much to me.

        • Jamie

          We want to do this. We want to wake up with each other that day. His mom will have an absolute shit fit if she finds out. So we’re trying to figure out a way to be secretive about it.

          I had a little moment of lightheadedness when I bought my wedding dress. I have no idea why, I guess it was just “oh my god, I just bought a fucking wedding dress” and it was intense. When I got home, I immediately called him. He was the person who could calm me down. He has such a calming effect on me. And since I’m generally a bundle of neuroses, being with him is the first time in as long as I can remember that I’ve been calm. Which is why I want to be with him that morning.

      • Theresa

        Going to bed together the night before the wedding was amazing. Being able to lay there and bitch about rehearsal, or vent about parents, or just be like, “Woah.” It was so calming and centering for me, and I know I needed it.

      • I broke the news to my mother that this was our plan, and she took it well. Ever the pragmatist, I told her it was because our bridal suite was (insert arbitrary figure here), and if we were paying to stay in the B&B, I wanted to stay with FH and enjoy a good breakfast that morning. She seemed to accept this reality. She clearly didn’t like it, but she didn’t argue with me. :)

  • “Sometimes the anticipation of that which is risky is scarier and more debilitating than engaging in the act itself.”

    The risk-taking is what resonated with me: even once you’re married, there are a whole lot of decisions in life that are blarry terrifying. A whole lot of the time those decisions are self-imposed; i.e. it’s possible to avoid taking them (like sky-diving!). But if you don’t actually take them, then you never really get anywhere…

    • Very wise words. So true.

    • That reminds me of a few of my favorite quotes about fear (I have them posted on my wall. I get anxious and afraid a lot. They help). When I was applying and starting grad school looking at them and remembering that I want to live life helped me get through my fear. I have the feeling that weddings will be the same.

      “I have accepted fear as part of life– specifically the fear of change… I have gone ahead despite the pounding in my hear that says: turn back” Erica Jong

      “Many of our fears are tissue paper thin and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them” Brendan Francis

      “There are very few monsters that warrant the fear we have of them” Andre Gide

  • Ahh, this post is so great. It’s hard sometimes for me to put into words on how I feel – and definitely harder to express sometimes to those who aren’t engaged/married yet. Not that they aren’t in relationships that are going to head that way, but they’re not necessarily signing the papers in 150 days and have it “in their face”, as they say.

    I knew within 1 month of dating that I was ready to say “Yes”. Our relationship is so unlike anything else I’ve been through, so much more communication, so much more trust, so much more everything. But with that comes all of my same personal fears of abandonment and loss. We’ve talked a lot about it, and I know that for the most part, a lot of my fear comes from other situations I’ve been through (biggest being the loss of my mother when I was 15).

    I loved when Kim writes: “My fiance Brian assured me that what I’m feeling is normal, and what I’m thinking is true. But he also said that if I keep holding back from fully committing because the grass is always greener in another cute boy’s yard, I’m going to miss out on all of the wonderful, kick-ass things that are unique to a long-term relationship”

    Andrew has made similar comments to me – not necessarily about MY future temptations (tho that also certainly applies) but rather, just the idea that if I hold back from fully committing myself to “us” then really I’m just losing out. And I start to get it – it’s the fear of the “What ifs” , not anything to do with my love for him, or how I feel about our relationship. And so how would that ever really be different with anyone else? So yes, things may happen – as Kim also says (and I frequently think about) – the divorce rate is pretty unbelievable, including several of my close friends, who were in relationships that I watched from the beginning and didn’t think I’d see get to this point. People (well, most people) don’t walk down the aisle thinking “this is ending in divorce”. They walk down happy, excited and ready to embark on the challenge of life together. And sometimes it doesn’t go that way.

    So yes, things may happen, but I am all in, and since being able to think/feel this way, it’s amazing how much more settled, assured and comfortable you feel. It’s pretty blissful.

    Thank you so much for sharing Kim!

  • Mary Kate

    My boyfriend and I just had a very interesting discussion that covered a lot of these topics. We talked about the inevitable occurrence of being attracted to others. We talked about him being nervous, and me being nervous but ready. Even though we both agreed 100% that we will get married (before I’m 30, I’ve been told), and even though he has already apparently told his friend that he will be his best man, he is not ready to ask yet. I think that conversation, and Kim’s post here, are a really huge help to me in trying to understand my own feelings about the decision to make such a huge commitment.

    Oh, and I have always wanted to go skydiving and this video has just made the urge stronger. You go, Kim!

    • I highly recommend skydiving. I did it by myself (as in no friends came on the trip with me) over the swiss alps. Because I wanted to feel brave. It’s one of my favorite memories and one which I feel most brave.

      • Wow! Very impressive, Kristy. There’s something so cool and empowering about traveling or doing what would normally be a group activity on your own.

  • Jessica

    This is my go-to resource for any engaged friend (or heck, any friend even in a relationship!) when they need a good dose of reality.

    Thank you.

  • Jillian

    Oh man… whenever I’m feeling anything about our upcoming wedding I just need to come here and read these posts & the comments that follow. I get that now. Every time it’s just bang on. And then I feel ‘normal’ again………….. Strong & Smart.
    I’ve been feeling very alone/ashamed/dishonest in my thoughts. But mostly just alone. And for the simple reason that I know I will be attracted to other men in the course of my life, and I’ve been struggling to figure out what that means for our relationship, what that means for me as a wife. A wife. I love my fiance. We’ve been together for 8 years. There have been others but he is IT for me. I know that. But I also love to flirt. And maybe that’s okay. We’re human.
    Knowing that I’m not alone in thinking these thoughts…. priceless. Thank you.

    Also.. this video? kick ass!

  • Jennifer

    I’ve been going through this a lot recently. Thank you for the post! My boyfriend and I are talking about weddings and marriage and dates (January!), and I’m terrified about what all of this brings. This was so inspiring and brings me back to what marriage really is and how we all have to be brave to do it. :) Makes me kinda want to go jump out of a plane!

  • Laura

    Yeah I’m totally crying! I have been talking about skydiving for a bit. With the wedding costs I have had to put it off. But I’m starting to think that I just need to put that money aside and do it. How completely awesome was this! Thanks

  • this makes me want to have a co ed sky diving bachlorette. I think that the exhilaration and relief of skydiving would make me realize the same thing it made your Brave Bride realize, that it is a leap and you will survive it, no matter what the result.

  • Hey, Love your blog! Very informative and well layed out. Keep up the good work

  • Pingback: of tvs and anxieties | monquito()

  • Anne

    I’d love to watch, but YouTube tells me it’s marked private. :(