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Cold Feet or Worse? The Biggest Signs You’re Not Ready for Marriage

Marriage is a big step and shouldn’t be entered into lightly. Looking for signs you’re not ready for marriage is a good idea before you go too far.

signs you're not ready for marriage

I don’t want to assume, but if you were looking for this article, there may be a chance you’re feeling the signs you’re not ready for marriage. Now, it could also mean you have cold feet or just aren’t sure. And guess what? That is totally normal.

Almost everyone who is about to get married is worried they are not ready for marriage. Just like graduating from high school or going into your first job, marriage is a big step. You want to make sure you are ready.

Yes, there are signs you’re not ready for marriage that you should look out for. And I will help you with that, but just like everything else worth having in life, you cannot be fully prepared. Marriage, just like any relationship, has its ups and downs. There will be fights and ruts and more you cannot predict.

But if the idea of facing those times, both the good and bad, together for the rest of your lives is what you want, then you probably are ready for marriage and this article may not be for you. If that doesn’t sound like you, keep reading. [Read: How to recognize your relationship doubts and make the right decision]

Are you showing signs you’re not ready for marriage or is it just cold feet?

Everyone deals with the idea of marriage differently. Whether you always saw yourself being married or finally met someone that made you consider it, no one reacts exactly the same.

Your fiancé may boast to their coworkers and family members about how excited they are to marry you. But you may be more private about your coming nuptials. You may want to live together before marriage. And others don’t think it necessary. You may want a big wedding while your partner would rather an intimate ceremony. [Read: Wedding jitters or signs you should be backing out?]

The good news is that these are not common signs you’re not ready for marriage. These are probably things you have been dealing with throughout your entire relationship. You have differing opinions. And that is normal.

But, if you never fought about these things until now, that could be a sign you’re not ready for marriage. Are you picking fights? You could think you’re ready or want to be ready for marriage, but subconsciously you act out to show your partner you’re not ready for marriage without actually saying so.

Sure, having cold feet is a possibility, but usually, it is temporary. You may question being with the same person forever. You may miss the single life. But ultimately you come back to the fact that you want to marry this person.

If what you thought may be cold feet is lasting longer, and you’re edging up to the big day, it might be signs you’re not ready for marriage.

The 10 biggest signs you’re not ready for marriage

In order to catch these signs, look a bit deeper than your actions. They begin from the inside out. Deep down you will recognize the signs, but no one wants to not be ready for marriage.

So, before reading this list, be prepared to admit what you may have been avoiding and in denial about for some time.

#1 You care more about the wedding than the marriage. We see this quite often, don’t we? There is an entire TV show dedicated to it. Sure, it is easy to fall into the glamour and excitement of a wedding. There is so much to do. I don’t blame you for being upset that the caterer canceled or that your second cousin can’t make it.

But, if the wedding plans are taking over your relationship, you may not be ready for marriage. Your priority when getting married should be the marriage and the relationship, not the party. Focus on it for sure, but if you give it more attention than the marriage, you may not have your priorities straight. [Read: 25 very obvious signs you’re high on wedding fever

#2 You’re settling. No one wants to admit that the person they committed to is not right for them. You have invested all this time and don’t want it to be for nothing. Plus, you may think that being with them is better than being alone. They may not be right for you, but they are a good person.

But, since when is being a decent person a reason to get married? When is not wanting to be lonely a reason for getting married? If you catch yourself thinking something like, this could be worse, you may not be ready for marriage, at least not with that person. [Read: Why get married? The worst reasons to tie the knot]

#3 You’re flirting. We all have lapses of judgment. Maybe you flirt with the guy in accounting or the lady in the elevator. It happens from time to time. Sometimes we don’t notice it or think anything of it, but if you are flirting with someone other than your partner regularly, you may still be playing the field.

Sure, you know you won’t actually act on it, but if you are looking for a connection or a moment with someone else you are showing signs you’re not ready for marriage. [Read: Are you unintentionally micro-cheating?]

#4 You avoid the big things. This is something so many people avoid before marriage. You may not want to stir the pot or bring up negative or iffy subjects before the big day, but that is the exact time to do so.

If you are considering marriage, discuss the big things. Talk about your future, money, religion, beliefs, your plans, kids, etc. These conversations cannot be put off before a marriage. Don’t assume you know what your partner wants or that you want the same things.

If having these talks scares you more than what will happen if you get married before having these talks, you are not ready for marriage. [Read: 20 questions to ask each other before getting married]

#5 You let everything get to you. You know those days where work was awful and you come home and take it out on your partner by yelling at them about the trash? If these days are taking over your life as of late, you may be showing an underlying sign of not being ready for marriage.

Marriage is about compromise. You meet halfway. You make sacrifices for one another. But if everyday things are getting to you, so much so that fights about doing dishes turn into one of you sleeping on the sofa, you are not ready for marriage.

But, the good news is you can be ready for marriage. If things like this are happening, couples therapy can do wonders for your relationship and get you ready for marriage.

#6 You question their motives. Do you lay next to your partner at night and wonder if they really love you? Do you wonder if they are out to get your money? Do they try to control you? Is something eating at you?

If you question your partner before a marriage, it will not go away by saying, “I do.” In fact, it will likely get worse because you have more to lose. Sure, marriage is about love, but trust and love go hand in hand. If you don’t trust your partner, you are not ready to marry them. [Read: 15 subtle things that change when you get married]

#7 You won’t compromise. As I just said, compromise is a big part of having a successful relationship or marriage. Both of you need to be able to set aside trivial things to benefit the relationship.

If you are not willing to make sacrifices or even put your partner first sometimes, you are not ready for marriage. This is one of the things we notice in divorced couples. At first, you are high on the beginning stages of a relationship. You are happy to give and give, but once that wears off couples expect things to stay the same.

The thing is, relationships are not easy. They require work, effort, communication, and sacrifice. And if you or your partner are not willing to do that, even before the nuptials, there is a very good chance that things will only get worse. [Read: The questions you should be asking before marriage to see if they are the one]

#8 You’re doing it for them. You love your partner. You know they want to get married. You cannot imagine hurting them. Even though you may have hesitated accepting a proposal or instigating one, you ultimately moved forward for their sake.

But, if marriage is not what you want and you are only doing it for them, eventually that will lead to resentment which can manifest into problems like cheating, lying, and more. I know I said you have to sacrifice to have a successful marriage, but you do not need to sacrifice your future. [Read: 13 questions you need to ask yourself before considering marriage]

#9 You want the title. This sounds bad. I know. You probably do not want to admit this at all, but some people just want to be married to say they are married. It sounds shallow, and well, it is.

You may want to be #relationshipgoals, post cute wedding photos, and have a relationship that others are jealous of. But those are not good reasons to get married or even reasons at all, really. If marriage is your goal, but a happy and equal marriage isn’t, you are definitely not ready for marriage.

#10 You feel pressured. This may sound crazy. You are pressured to drink. You are pressured to lose weight. But being pressured to make a change as huge as marriage seems insane, right? You probably think you are stronger than that. You probably think that your parents, society ,or even your friends could never pressure you enough to do that.

But, even with that obvious idea, it happens every day. People get married, engaged, or even propose because they feel pushed. Their peers are all married, and they just feel like they should. Feeling like you should get married means you are not ready for marriage.

You need to want to be married in order to be ready for it, without that, you will continue to show signs you’re not ready for marriage. [Read: 14 ways to know if marriage is for you]

What to do if you’re showing signs you’re not ready for marriage

It can feel embarrassing and shameful to admit you’re not ready for marriage. You may feel like a failure for calling off an engagement or admitting you’re not ready. But guess what? Coming to terms now, and talking to your partner about it before the wedding is the most mature thing you can do.

It may feel flaky or immature, but now is better than walking out on your wedding or divorcing three months in. You may even get a positive reaction from your partner. This doesn’t mean you should break up, but maybe you go to couples counseling.

You don’t need to have major relationship problems to benefit from counseling. Couples counseling can build confidence in your relationship and build your way up towards marriage.

[Read: 13 steps to let go of relationship insecurity and learn to love more]

If you are showing signs you’re not ready for marriage it doesn’t mean you’ll never be. Just keep living and growing.

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Samantha Ann
My name is Samantha Ann. I am 28 years old. It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding...