Kings, it’s almost that special time!
The moment you’ve both been waiting for. The planning, the guest list, the cake tasting, the bachelor party. All these great moments are coming up, and for some, another thing begins to happen, anxiety.
You begin to ask yourself: “Am I making the right choice?” “Is this forever?” “What if we don’t work?” “What if she doesn’t like me when we are old?” “Am I really the one to break the generational curse?” “Will her ex crash the wedding and stop her from saying, ‘I Do’ and confess his love to her and sweep her off her feet like in the movies?” Racing thoughts, uneasy feelings and fear of the unknown can be quite a trip and make you doubt your choices. These are what we call the premarital jitters. They happen to us all, but it’s different when experienced by men of color.
Most Black men are conditioned to not want to express their feelings because all our lives we were told “stay tough,” “man up” and “you gotta help yourself.” That mindset taught us to keep our emotions in check, otherwise it’s a sign of weakness. But how much has that hurt us in the long run? Do we not feel emotions like others? Are we immune to the premarital jitters and the doubt? Let’s do away with that thinking, and really break these generational curses. To do that, we need to be aware of what to look for. Here are some signs that you may be experiencing premarital jitters:
Avoiding You may try to change the subject of conversation when talking about anything wedding-related. Your responses may be: “Talk to my fiancée, she’s doing the planning” or “I’m just here so I don’t get fined.” (Shout out to Beast Mode.)
Irritability Our fuse can become shorter once we feel stressed or anxious. You may see yourself snapping at people more or becoming less tolerant of people’s actions. This can become frequent closer to the wedding.
Extreme Sarcasm You may try to “joke” off the jitters, but there can come a time where the sarcasm becomes hurtful and the negativity can do more harm than good. Don’t be a Debbie Downer when prepping for this important day.
Self-Doubt There may be times when you live in your head and begin to doubt every choice you make—from the number of guests to the wedding itself.
Shutting Down During this process you might cut off all your emotions and not say anything at all—you shut everything down, from talking to being around people.
Even though some of these signs may sound concerning, every man has experienced some of these feelings during the wedding process. It is important to remember, even though you are having these feelings, you can work through them. Here are five ways to deal with premarital jitters:
Remember Why You Proposed Sometimes with the stressors of planning the perfect day, we focus on what’s not going right and how much over budget we are. We forget why we are doing this in the first place. Take a moment and remember when you proposed to your Queen/King and the reaction they had when you dropped to one knee. Those are the memorable moments that will get you through the doubt.
Eat a Healthy Diet Many people like to stress eat, and we forget that our stomach is our second brain. If you are eating like crap, you will feel like crap. Take a step back from the fast food and do a cleanse, eat more greens and take your vitamins. This will help with energy and concentration and decrease your irritability.
Exercise Regularly Energy doesn’t die, it just transfers. When planning a wedding, there is a lot of energy that needs to be released in an appropriate way. Exercising can help you have a clearer mindset and feel ready for the Big Day.
Seek Advice from a Healthy Source Be mindful about where you get your relationship advice. Not everyone is equipped to give you the right advice. Reach out to someone you know who is married and has been in your shoes. Another alternative is to consider talking to a relationship therapist, mental health counselor, or priest or pastor.
Talk with Your Partner Chances are your partner feels the same way you do. Talking to your partner is an important step to building a healthy foundation. Get used to helping and supporting each other. Ask for what you need. Show your vulnerability. As therapy service provider Black Men Heal once said, “Vulnerability is the new sexy!”
Well, Kings, these tips will help you start off your journey to marriage the right way. Remember, this is your day, too. Your feelings matter, and you matter. Enjoy this process and make as many memories with your spouse as possible!
Ed. Note: Alphonso Nathan, also known as “Phonz the Therapist,” is a licensed Black male therapist, speaker, author and mental health advocate. He is vice president of Pennsylvania-based Brightside Counseling and co-owner of Brightside Psychiatric Practice. Alphonso is also working on a campaign with Taraji P. Henson’s Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, focusing on mental health and the Black youth. You can reach Alphonso at @phonzthetherapist.