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?


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.