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Will I Be the Next Runaway Bride?

Will I Be the Next Runaway Bride?

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Question:

I'm sure you read about the runaway bride whose story was in all the newspapers a couple of weeks ago. She didn't show up to her own wedding. I think I can relate to her. I am getting married in a couple of months, but I am riddled with doubts: Have I made the right decision? How can I know for sure? It's getting to the point that some nights I just lie awake wondering. What should I do?

Answer:

Aside from the joy and excitement it brings, engagement can be a difficult time. You are in limbo, a no-man's land between being single and being married. It is a strange place to be, and can bring about strange feelings. Doubt is a common one. I have met very few people who can honestly say they did not experience any doubts at all during their engagement. There seems to be a pattern--you get engaged, then when the excitement subsides and reality hits you start to doubt your decision.

In most cases, this is a healthy reaction. We are not prophets who know what destiny holds. We base our decisions on what we see in front of us and the advice we receive from those wiser than us. But we are only human, and we can never be 100% sure. There will always be an element of doubt.

Having said that, it is of course possible that your doubts are well founded. If the doubts are due to real issues that are coming between you rather than just due to human frailty, then there is reason for concern. Perhaps you have indeed made a mistake. If so it would be better to recognize that now, and take appropriate action.

How can you know if your doubts are valid, or just the usual doubts that come along with being human? Here are some suggested guidelines:

-- Are your doubts stronger when you are away from your fiancé, or when you are with him? If you are comfortable and confident when you are together, and it is only when you are alone at night that the doubts haunt you, then this may indicate that the problem is more in your mind than in reality. But if the doubts are magnified when he is around, if his presence and his company are what shakes your belief in your future together, that's a worry.

-- Do you have specific concerns, or just general ones? Can you express your doubts in particular and exact terms ("He doesn't always treat me with respect", "I'm not sure he is being honest with me")? If so, then they need to be addressed now. But if you can only make vague statements that could be applied to anyone ("How do I know if we won't get sick of each other?", "What if I meet someone better?") then you have to ignore those doubts, because they will be there whoever you marry.

If there are real issues, deal with them. But if it is the confusion of being human that is the problem, then that's great. If we were perfect beings, we could make decisions knowing that we are not making a mistake. But then, as perfect beings, we wouldn't need someone to love. Love is so powerful precisely because it exposes the fact that at the core of our humanity, we are fragile and vulnerable, and we need each other. When you come to terms with this fragility, that's when you are free to love.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
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Anonymous August 18, 2014

Very good answer, rational, wise, direct and helpful. Thank you. Reply

Morgan Davis New York August 15, 2014

I just wanted to say thank you Aron Moss for your inspiring passages. Not only have they gotten though to me in hard times and make better decisions. They have also made me ask those who I have hurt for forgiveness. As I search for my faith and life partner. I have found your messages a safe haven.
Thank you
Reply

Lisa Providence, RI May 1, 2013

Runaway Bride? I saw the movie "Runaway Bride" and it sounded like "commitment phobia" to me. I can't remember how her problem was solved, but in my opinion, she should have been honest with herself and feelings instead of stranding grooms at the altar.

It's normal to have doubts, and you need to have a serious talk to your fiance about your relationship with him. If you have an inner voice telling you: "Don't marry him!" you need to listen to it, because you'll get hurt if you don't! Reply

none January 23, 2006

thanks wow! Thank you for sharing this! I read it at just the right time and its really helping me! I appriciate the article. Reply

Abby August 2, 2005

I to am getting married in about two weeks. And was quite relieved to find both this question, and the responses given. My doubt has been creeping up and mounting, and yet it only is in full force when I am quiet distant and not speaking for days at a time to my other half.
I don't doubt marrying this person, or committing to marrying this person.
I just think there are days like you said, where since we don't know the future that it's quite daunting to commit to plan and spend the rest of your life with another person.
I'm not always the most self-confident person, and when I recently confided this to him, he almost chuckled and said that somedays he doesn't think he's good enough for me, so we must be perfect for each other if i don't always think i'm good enough for him.
Thank you. Reply

Samuel June 20, 2005

The tendency of a human being is to be afraid of change. Now that we are going through one of the biggest change of our lives, we are more scared then ever. This fright can bring big doubts. So we must follow are brilliant Rabbi’s advice. Reply

Leah Los Angeles, CA May 18, 2005

Runaway Bride In response to Dov's comment: In Dr. Witkin's book "The Truth About Women", it states it is a myth about the 'runaway' groom. There are more women with cold feet. Reply

Dov May 17, 2005

I always thought that men are the ones with the cold feet... Reply

Ahuva May 16, 2005

Brilliant advice, as usual! Reply

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