Friday, April 20, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Counsel for those who have cold feet

Q: You've run a few columns on people having cold feet and the relationship (later) failing. Common knowledge says the first variable automatically means the second variable occurs. But what about having cold feet and the marriage works out?

My mother scoffs at cold feet. She told me that my dad had it, and she just "let him" freak out. He got his act together after a few days, and she married him. They've been together 50-plus years. My aunts tell me that a couple of my uncles did the same, and it all worked out for them too.

I remember a friend or two completely freaking out — the "What am I doing? Why am I marrying him? I don't want to do this. This is a bad idea!" sentiment. Those worked out too. I've seen accounts where people claim they had cold feet after the relationship collapses. But that's so easy to say in the afterthought. What do you say for those who have cold feet but end up happily married decades later?

Cold Feet

A: When brides and grooms have doubts, I hope they face them squarely. I hope the people they confide in have the compassion and presence of mind to draw the bride or groom out a bit, and then listen carefully enough to offer reassurance — either that it's okay to feel nervous or that it's okay to walk away. Presumably loved ones know the bride or groom well enough to recognize whether "completely freaking out" is in character or not, and founded or not. I hope they don't bring any biases for or against marriage or for or against the people involved to their counsel, at least not without labeling them as such.

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