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SALT LAKE CITY — Brides beware: If you have cold feet, rethink the wedding.
A new study out of UCLA suggests that the bride’s doubts about marriage is a greater indicator of divorce and dissatisfaction with a marriage than the groom’s by nearly double.
The psychologists separately interviewed 464 newlyweds every six months until their fourth year of marriage, asking each spouse if they were uncertain or hesitant about the marriage. At the initial interview, 47 percent of husbands answered yes and 38 percent of wives claimed uncertainty.
Of those men with premarital doubts, 14 percent were divorced within the four-year study, compared to 19 percent of women with the same doubts. Women who had doubts while their husbands did not had a divorce rate of 18 percent, while men in the same position only had a 10 percent chance of divorce.
What this showed to researchers was that while women were less likely to harbor uncertainty, their doubt was a greater indicator of future divorce, despite other reports of satisfaction, they wrote in their study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology.
Talk about it and try to work through it.
–- Thomas Bradbury, UCLA professor
"What this tells us is that when women have doubts before their wedding, these should not be lightly dismissed,” said Justin Lavner, a doctoral candidate in psychology at UCLA and lead author of the study. “Do not assume your doubts will just go away or that love is enough to overpower your concerns. There's no evidence that problems in a marriage just go away and get better. If anything, problems are more likely to escalate."
Doubts may creep into any relationship, and while a bride’s uncertainty may up the chances of divorce, the study authors remind brides- and grooms-to-be that it doesn’t have to mean the wedding must be called off and the relationship ended.
"Talk about it and try to work through it," said Thomas Bradbury, a UCLA psychology professor and co-author of the study. "You hope that the big issues have been addressed before the wedding."