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Candid conversation warms up cold feet for brides, grooms

Updated: December 15, 2012 6:06AM

Cold feet are common this time of year, but there’s another kind of cold feet that can impact the future of your relationship.

A new study seems to suggest that the “cold feet” that can strike a bride or groom as they are about to tie the knot actually can be a major predictor of their happiness and relationship satisfaction down the road.

The study was led by researchers from the University of Alberta, Edomonton, and Kansas State University.

They collected data from more than 1,000 couples about to walk down the aisle. They ask them to rate their level of marital confidence — defined as confidence in their decision to get married — and then they followed up with those same couples at future points down the road.

Their findings were quite illuminating. The couples who reported the highest level of marital confidence were the couples who were most likely to be happier three years down the road. Meanwhile, the researchers found a link between relationship satisfaction and time spent together as a couple.

Most notably, the biggest predictor of relationship satisfaction was quality time spent together, particularly as it related to a wife’s perception of time with her spouse. In other words, if she felt satisfied with the amount of time she spent with her husband, they each were more likely to report relationship bliss across the board.

Apparently Date Night and quality time together still is the gold standard when it comes to keeping a relationship strong and bonded. Additionally, the study also points out even moderate anxiety over getting married can sometimes reveal relationship issues that might present major concerns down the road.

So how can you tell if your anxiety is a red flag or nothing more than wedding-day jitters?

Have you planned a marriage, or just a wedding? It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of choosing centerpieces and tasting delicious cakes, but if you have channeled all your energy into the wedding, and not the marriage, you might find yourself confronting issues down the road. Don’t deflect all your concentration and energy into the right parchment paper for your invitation — if there are doubts or questions in your mind, now is the time to address them, regardless of it you already have y set the date or made a down payment on a hall.

Have you thought about why you are getting married? What marriage means to you? Sometimes couples get married because they feel like they are “supposed” to or because it is time for them to take the next step. However, if you aren’t ready for this type of commitment, it can be very problematic. Don’t let your friends, family, societal expectations or your biological clock rush you into marriage before you are ready. The only “right” time to get married is when you are ready, and not a moment sooner!

Have you discussed all of the major issues? By now, most couples realize that they should talk about things like whether they want to have kids or what religion (if any) they want to be, but there are other important issues to consider as well, especially as it comes to finances (this often is the most common concern that couples argue over). Do you know what debt your partner has (you might have to take that on as their partner), or what plans for they have for the future (does your partner have plans to stay home with the kids or start a business down the road)? These seems like far-off issues, but the reality is that these are the things that can threaten relationships in the long-term. You also should discuss issues such as thoughts on discipline and family time (how many in-laws visits/family holidays are acceptable for both of you).

Last but not least, brainstorm ways to keep your sex life spicy and exciting long after the honeymoon. Tackle any bedroom issues before walking down the aisle, because they won’t simply disappear as a result of getting hitched. And, if you have real concerns you’d like to talk through before the wedding, consider having premarital counselor with someone in your faith or find a therapist in your area at

Dr. Berman is the star of “In the Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman.” The second season will premiere at 9 p.m. Dec. 4 on OWN.

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