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Ask Dr. Norman Brown Your Own Question
Dr. Norman Brown
Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1200
Experience:  Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
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i was one month away from being married when two things happened,

Customer Question

i was one month away from being married when two things happened, firstly i went to try on dress suit for wedding and went rigid, fiancee noticed this and got upset doubt started to take over my mind was i doing right thing, I loved the girl very much but was feeling stressed. why did i go rigid?
secondly a few days later I got very nervous and cried uncontrolably for a no of hours and later had a dream about a funeral ( I lost a brother in a road accident many years ago but he didnt feature in dream) was i getting a message of some sort?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Jen Helant replied 4 years ago.

jenhelant :

Hi, I think you are just nervous about the changes the marriage will bring. This has nothing to do with your love for her, but you realize that things will be different. The dream about the funeral could be that you feel your singles life is dying subconsciously. This could be why you had that dream and also why you went rigid. I don't think you were getting a message. It is mainly your fears of your subconscious. I would be true to yourself and weigh out within yourself if you fear marriage itself or if you have a problem with your fiance. By analyzing this it can help you have better insight as to how to proceed. Either way you may want to consider postponing the wedding if you feel you need some more time. It is normal to get cold feet and be nervous, but if you feel it is excessive then that may be a sign to just hold off a little bit.

jenhelant :

I wish you well and please let me know if I can be of further help.

Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 4 years ago.

Jen's got it right. The youngish bachelor-you has to die symbolically if you're going to become the new man you'll be when you're married. Anybody who doesn't feel some fear, even paralysis, at the prospect of the sacred commitment of marriage (even if you don't believe in God or religion, love has that much power), is not going into the changes with his eyes wide open. Talk to some of the older men you know who have been married for some time. Some of those your age might be dismissive about it, but the more sensitive ones have probably felt something like what you're feeling.

Jen's also right to suggest that you think about your bride-to-be. If you have known her for less than a year, you might be marrying too quickly. For it usually takes at least 6 months of steady exposure to start having some of the personal frictions and different goals and values that can become standing conflicts for the entire life of your marriage. That's not a bad thing, because it's inevitable. But if you're not aware of anything, or you just see a glimmer on the horizon (like she's Catholic and you're uninterested in religion), then you might be a little to blind to what's coming in your future together, so your paralytic fear could be a signal that you either need more time, or need premarital counseling, esp focused on your inevitable differences and how you'll learn to manage them.

It's also not crazy for a young man to be frightened of the prospect of becoming responsible for the life of both his wife and a child or two. If your experience with your own parents makes you feel like you're not sure you'll want to be a father ('cuz yours was not a good role model), or that you will avoid every argument like an STD, because your parents' arguments were SO endless and so destructive for everyone around--then you're going to need some training in fatherhood and/or marital disagreements, and that might mean you'll need individual or couple counseling some time in the not-too-distant future. But marriage is the best emotional finishing school we have, so it's not something to avoid like an STD.

Marriage is called a sacrament, because if you recognize it as an experience that's larger and more unpredictable than anything you've done before, you'll realize that you should be overawed by it, but it's as rich and interesting as birth and death, so it's worth the risk.

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