The advice that most of us are given when we’re trying to make an important decision is to weigh the pros and cons and think about our options.
When it comes to determining what’s best for us, we don’t always pay attention to how we’re feeling. We’ve been taught to think our decisions over and use logic to help us decide. This week I thought I’d share a personal story about a time when I should have listened to how I was feeling, but instead I listened to my thoughts and mental chatter.
There were many bells and whistles that went off prior to my wedding day but I was unable to see them and brushed them off as “wedding nerves.” Some included our frequent arguments, different intentions and goals in life and our inability to agree on most things. I wanted a career and to make my own money and he wanted me to stay home, volunteer and have babies.
I think we both assumed that most couples had their differences they had to work through. We had been dating for 3 ½ years and living together for 3 years and for some reason I assumed is was normal to have frequent arguments. I’m not sure why, because my parents had been married for over 40 years at this point and had a total of maybe 3 fights that I could remember.We were having 3 fights a week and somehow I thought this was ok.
Even though we loved each other, there was a huge disconnect between us that at some level we both felt. I suppose we were blinded to it or chose not to accept it. We both held on to the fact that we loved each other and trusted each other implicitly; that had to be worth something. I always knew I could have dropped him on an island with hundreds of prostitutes and strippers and he still wouldn’t cheat on me. I somehow trusted him more than anyone I had ever dated.I kept reminding myself of this fact and thought that trust should be enough for me to be happy in a marriage.
As the days leading up to my wedding were approaching, I felt a build up of anxiety that was overwhelming.
I thought I had come to terms with my nerves but on the morning of my wedding day, my sister and I were in the back of the church getting ready and I was fighting back tears. My usual hairdresser had done my hair, but I thought it looked terrible. I was a mess.
My sister looked at me as if she knew how I was feeling and said, “We can walk out this side door right now and go get a cup of coffee and I’ll take care of the guests so that you don’t have to worry. No one will care in five years that you walked away, trust me.”
No, I’m ok thanks, I guess I’m just nervous.” I said, as tears started rolling down my cheeks. “Weren’t you nervous on your wedding day?”
She looked at me as if she wished she could’ve lied about what she was about to say, “No, I couldn’t wait to get down the aisle to be with Andy and be his wife. I was so excited I couldn’t make the time go fast enough.”My heart sank and at that moment I knew something was wrong, but it was too late. I still hadn’t been able to fully acknowledge and accept that I wanted out, so I pushed forward.
I could hear the music playing and knew everyone was waiting for me. I thought about how most women would kill to find a good man who wanted nothing more than to provide for her and allow her to stay home and raise a family. Everyone gets nervous I thought as I picked up the train of my dress, stood up, looked in the mirror and told myself that I could do this. This should have been my biggest clue to walk away and call off the wedding but I was never one to quit.
The days leading up to the wedding felt like the countdown to the end of my life. This also should have been a clue that I was making a mistake, but I assumed everyone felt anxious and nervous.Even at that moment, I still couldn’t see that my heart wasn’t in it; I continued to tell myself it was wedding jitters. Once I gained my composure, I looked at my sister and said, “I’m ready!” “Ok” she said smiling, “let’s go.” But I knew she could clearly see that I wasn’t ready at all.
[Tweet “Instead of talking yourself into saying, “I do”, don’t be afraid to say, “ I’m sorry, but I can’t.””]
I walked out into the entryway of the church and could see all the people who had come to honor this special day with me. Their smiles quickly turned to concern as they saw the frightened look on my face. Suddenly the room began spinning and everything looked blurry. My heart was racing and sweat had consumed my entire body. I was desperately trying not to cry; I was terrified.
I leaned on my fathers arm and began walking down the aisle. When I finally saw my husbands face, he shared the same look of fear. As we approached the altar, my sister whispered to me, “Are you ok?” Nodding no, I said, “I’m having trouble breathing.” She was to the left of me and was holding on to my arm to help steady me.
The room quickly became dark and blurry and my knees started to buckle. My legs could no longer hold the weight of my body. The dizziness took over and my legs gave out completely. I was fainting at the altar!
My father and sister quickly grabbed me and caught me before I went down. If you were seated in the front of the church, then you definitely saw me faint, but if you were in the back, you probably missed it because they caught me before I hit the ground. This should have been another clue that I was on the wrong path.
I managed to rally and get through the day and ended up having a beautiful wedding and one I will never forget. The evening ran smoothly and we celebrated all night.
Needless to say, we lasted about 3-4 years and parted ways in an extremely friendly and civil manner. There were no hard feelings or indiscretions to deal with, but we each had to figure out a way to accept the failure of it all. I think for both of us, that was the hardest part.
I recently had to make an important decision and I felt those familiar feelings that I had leading up to my wedding and I knew immediately that if I moved forward, I would be making the wrong decision.
Since my divorce, I now honor my intuition and guidance and listen to my body. I don’t question my feelings anymore when making a decision. Instead of weighing the pros and cons, I imagine myself making both decisions and weigh which decision feels better, and the one that feels better is the one I go with. No exceptions.
Unless you’re one hundred percent sure, you might be better off giving yourself some time and pausing to see if the feeling of calling off the wedding feels better than going through with it.
Only you know if you’re making the right decision for yourself, so be sure you’re truly listening to your inner knowing and guidance; it will never lead you astray.
Instead of talking yourself into saying, “I do”, don’t be afraid to say, “ I’m sorry, but I can’t.”