Getting Cold Feet: Second Thoughts in Life’s Crucial Moments

I once watched a video of a man making a confession about how after his wife gave birth to more children than he had expected, and it came to a point where he couldn’t foot the bills for his wife and children, he then ran away leaving the wife all alone to fend for herself and the children.


Can we imagine what his wife would tell him when he comes back professing love? It would be something like this: A real man with claims of so much love wouldn’t do that to the one he claims to love and care about.

I told myself this man just got cold feet; he chickened out from his commitment to himself and his wife. As funny as that story sounded that day, this is what some of us have done at some point in our lives in different situations about different things; speaking for myself, I know it is something I’ve done, not once, not twice, but at least three times in one particular situation as I can remember. 


Are you on the brink of making a big decision? Are you hesitant or dealing with cold feet? It’s common to be unsure when you’re planning to get settled for the long term. There are certain concerns, but they should be considered seriously and dealt with openly and honestly while facing yourself. While our worries may usually be based on our thoughts, they could also indicate that something more serious is going under the surface.

Don’t ignore your cold feet; If you’re unsure about your relationship, talk about it and talk with your partner. Neglecting your issues is a sure way to end up in a mess of dissatisfied expectations and unneeded discomfort. When we open up, discuss our worries, and address the fears that are causing us trouble, we can push our feet, shiver to the edges, and return to confidence, understanding, commitment, and trust.

Not every case of cold feet equates to a dramatic ending; cold feet can occur for various reasons. The decision of whether cold feet signify a change in circumstances or a fresh start is about being clear about what we would like to achieve and what we want from our lives and relationships.

Get Cold Feet Idiom Meaning

It is not uncommon to hear people employ the “get cold feet” phrase, which means losing courage; the phrase implies losing nerve or having second thoughts about something. It is commonly used to refer to people who are worried about getting married, but it could also be used to describe different situations.


The idea of this metaphor was first used in the 1800s and was employed to describe Presbyterian missionaries to refer to poor people. This was later used to describe gamblers who had lost all their money and then walked out of an ongoing game or “got cold feet.” The first instance of having cold feet as a reason to pull out of an event was documented in a student magazine in 1884; the article was about one woman who decided not to get married at the last minute without providing an explanation.

Examples of Getting Cold Feet

“Getting cold feet” is an idiom that describes moments of hesitation, doubt, or anxiety before making an important decision or taking a significant step. Here are some common examples of situations where people might experience getting cold feet:

  • Wedding Jitters

Just before walking down the aisle, a bride or groom might experience doubts about marriage, leading to cold feet.

  • Starting a New Job

On the first day of a new job, an employee might feel nervous and have second thoughts about their career change.

  • Entrepreneurship

Aspiring entrepreneurs may have cold feet before launching their own business, fearing the risks and uncertainties involved.

  • Moving to a New City

Before relocating to a different city or country, an individual might doubt his decision, worrying about leaving his comfort zone and familiar surroundings.

  • Medical Procedures

Patients scheduled for surgeries or medical procedures often get cold feet as the date approaches, fearing the unknown.

  • Investing

Investors might have second thoughts about a significant financial investment, especially during volatile market conditions.

  • Public Speaking

Before delivering a speech or presentation, even experienced speakers can get cold feet due to stage fright.

Before taking a big step in a romantic relationship, like getting engaged, people may experience doubts about their compatibility.

  • Academic Exams

Students can get cold feet before important exams, fearing they may not perform up to their expectations.

These examples show that getting cold feet can occur in various life situations, often as a response to the anticipation of change, uncertainty, or the gravity of the decision. It’s a common human experience, and how individuals manage these moments of doubt can greatly impact their personal growth and choices.

Getting Cold Feet: Synonyms and Similar Phrases

Some phrases and words that are the same as the expression “get cold feet” include:

  • Lose one’s nerve
  • Have second thoughts
  • Back out
  • Bailout
  • Wimp out
  • Think about it.
  • Chickens out
  • Don’t be a slacker
  • Funk out

Getting Cold Feet

The expression “getting cold feet” is a universally accepted expression that refers to an unexpected feeling of anxiety or doubt before a major decision or a significant occasion. That moment comes when your heart beats faster, your sweat forms on your palms, and your mind is full of doubt. Second thoughts can be a natural part of life’s journey, but understanding them and managing them effectively is crucial. 

Cold feet can refer to the hesitation we experience when our relationships take on a serious level or when we are asked to take on the next phase. You don’t need to be a runaway bride to feel cold feet. Also, you don’t need to be contemplating the possibility of a commitment for the rest of your life. The cold feet can occur when we find ourselves stuck in our ways, unable to progress physically or emotionally with our partners.

Remember I said I had cold feet at least three times? What initiated the feeling of cold feet was that I could no longer do with ease the things I used to. Don’t get me wrong, I was not being pressured; can I say it felt like that sometimes? Yes, but that was all on me; the pressure came from myself and the need to do better, but one obvious thing was that my inability to do as well as I used to got the best of me and created some form of anxiety, cold feet. I started to read unnecessary meanings into things; yes, that was how bad it got. I didn’t even know how to, at the very least, be a friend.

Cold Feet: The Nature of Second Thoughts

Second thoughts or cold feet typically occur when people confront life-altering decisions or circumstances. They could be a result of getting married, starting a new job, losing a job, moving to a different location, or even working towards an old-fashioned desire. Second thoughts may manifest in many ways:


You might begin to question your options, wondering whether you’ve made the right choice.


Fear of failure can cause you to be hesitant about moving forward.


The feeling of discontent and anxiety could take hold as the time of truth is nearing.


You may reflect on your previous decisions and ask yourself whether you could have chosen an alternative route.


External factors, such as the expectations of others, can increase the burden of making a choice.

It’s important to understand that second thoughts are aspect that comes with being a human. These times of doubt usually suggest that you’re making a big decision or are stepping outside of your familiar or comfort zone. Instead of seeing them as an indication of weakness, think of them as an opportunity to reflect on your own improvement.

Cold Feet: The Causes of Second Thoughts

A variety of factors can cause the cold feet that you experience:

Fear of Failure

The fear of failing is a normal emotional state that may serve as an inspiring force and crippling anxiety. The fear of not meeting your personal or others’ expectations can hold people back from setting goals and pursuing their dreams. 

The fear of not being successful or not meeting expectations could hinder decision-making.

Unrealistic Expectations

Sometimes, we construct events or decisions in our heads, creating unattainable expectations that can be difficult to achieve.

Unrealistic expectations can be an unintentional deterrent. They can lead to disappointment and discontent by placing excessive demands on us or others. It is essential to rethink our expectations, aiming for achievable goals while accepting the imperfections of our lives. When we do this, we will find peace and avoid the traps of having unrealistically high expectations.

External Pressure

External pressures, whether from the family, society, or even our peers, can significantly influence our decisions and actions. Although guidance from others may be helpful, it’s essential to find a balance between our expectations from the outside and our personal desires and beliefs. Remember that your journey must ultimately align with your goals and dreams instead of merely conforming to the pressures of society to discover true satisfaction and fulfillment.

Lack of Preparation 

If you aren’t prepared for the future, this can cause anxiety and doubt. Insufficient preparation could be a major obstacle on your way to success; it is often the cause of anxiety, self-doubt, and inadequate results. Proper preparation is the basis of confidence and competency; it doesn’t matter if it’s an exam task or a life-changing event; spending time and energy preparing will make a huge difference, turn uncertainty into opportunities, and help set the stage for success.

Past Trauma

Experiences of disappointment or failure can come back and influence your present choices. Past trauma can profoundly influence our lives; it can leave emotional scars that affect our behavior, thoughts, and relationships. The process of acknowledging and addressing the traumas of our past is vital to recovery and personal growth. The process of seeking help and therapy can assist individuals in breaking away from the burdens of their past, allowing them to progress with vigor and a renewed sense of well-being.

Cold Feet: Controlling Second Thoughts


Be sure to examine your doubts. Are they founded on legitimate worries, fears, or insecurities? Or are they based on irrational worries? Self-awareness is a way to distinguish between these two.

Seek Help

Contact trusted family members, your leader in the church, or friends who can offer a new viewpoint and emotional help.

Visualize the success

Instead of dwelling on past failures, think about positive outcomes and the potential positive outcomes of your choice.

Embrace Uncertainty

Know that life is uncertain and taking risks is a part of growth and development. 

Set realistic expectations

Setting realistic expectations is the compass that guides us along the path of life. With realistic expectations, we can set achievable goals, decrease stress, and ultimately find satisfaction in the joy of life. When we anchor our goals in the reality of our lives, we can set ourselves up to be successful and live a more satisfying life. 

Break It Down

If you’re overwhelmed by the size of the choice, try breaking it down into smaller steps that you can manage to ease anxiety.

We’ve all had cold feet in some way about something, and if it turns out that we are the problem if we don’t confront and correct it, it will become more and more evident in other areas of our lives, from family to job, to career, to business, and to our commitment in relationships.

Cold Feet: The Bible Resolving our Fear of Commitment

Having an outbreak of “cold feet” is not uncommon for engaged couples.

Know Yourself

It is important to be aware of what your position is on the issue because sometimes we’re susceptible to individual moments of excitement or fear. When you ask or talk about marriage or a relationship, is it during a heated debate? You may not appreciate the answer. However, ask during a great date, and you could start discussing names for your baby. What you want to find is the “climate” of your relationship, not “weather.”

A climate is a steady pattern, while the weather is an individual situation. Is your relationship favorable, with occasional instances of conflict, or is it the opposite? It’s a sign of trouble when you discover that you’re always arguing your way into or out of a significant engagement like marriage or relationship. If you’re unsure of your feelings, contemplate, write, or discuss until you gain some clarity, but it is probably best to refrain from giving rings or even saying “I shall” or “I do” until you’re confident that you can.

It is important to seek out opinions from those who have met you before and during your relationship to determine their opinions. 

  • Are they of the opinion that this arrangement is good for you? Are they noticing any significant changes in your life in the time you’ve been in this relationship? 
  • Is Christ in any way more or less apparent in your life as of the time you’ve been with this person? 
  • Are you sad or happier? 
  • Are you more, or perhaps less, happy with your life?

Assess Your Potential Partner

It’s also important to receive the same advice from the people who know you and your fiance. Infatuation can do funny things to them. For an insignificant period, they may take pleasure in things, people, lifestyles, and other things which generally are insignificant or of no interest. If they have been around for a long time, it will aid in identifying areas where these temporarily flexible boundaries could snap back into place.

In the same way, love is similar to a drug that can cover up anger and other negative reactions. Understanding how your spouse dealt with themselves before coming to the scene can prevent tremendous heartache down the line.

It’s not just important to solicit input from those who know you personally, but it’s equally important to solicit from those who have witnessed you work together as partners. While the googly eyes and exuberant laughter are wonderful, how do they think you perform as a team?

  • Are you displaying Christ evident in your daily life and your lives apart? 
  • What are their perceptions of your strengths in your relationship? 
  • Weaknesses? 
  • Are there any things that cause them to think regarding your relationship?

Evaluate Your Expectations of Marriage

Sometimes, friends and family fail to see the warning signs of a bad relationship. Sometimes, they’re too sensitive and believe that conflicts indicate a disaster. This is why it’s crucial to seek out input from people who have experience with how to handle marriage.

A mentor, a counselor, or a pastor who has been happily married for a long time are all excellent information resources. Particularly those adept at evaluating relationships and have witnessed several relationships go through the motions and fail. Their eyes are tuned to the subtle but crucial signals that a real struggle could be ahead. Plus, they can assist in determining the best way to deal with any potential issues before they escalate into difficult battles.

Read More: Standing for the Truth Regardless of How You Feel

Read More: Dismissive Avoidant Attachment: Signs, Causes, and How it Affects Relationship

Read More: What is The Bystander Effect in Psychology?

Cold Feet: The Importance of Christian Counsel

There is no one who can tell you the exact outcome of your marriage if it will be successful or fail. This reality can be extremely frightening; where there is fear of worry, despair, and helplessness in this world, there is security, peace, and strength in Christ’s death:

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 14:27 KJV

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:18 KJV

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28 KJV

Christ understands what it takes to go through for his bridegroom:

Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Ephesians 5:25 KJV

He did it for you and me:

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

1 Peter 2:24 KJV

In the context of a Christian home, relationship and marriage are sanctified to the extent that it is satisfying; through the grace of the Holy Spirit is the ability to show Christ to each other and feel joy even in the midst of the most challenging times:

2- My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

3- Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

4- But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

James 1:2-4 KJV

Suppose we’re loyal to our spouses, even if they’re inconsiderate, selfish, or indecent. In that case, we show them an illustration of God’s promise that: 

I shall never abandon and never leave thee.

Hebrews 13:5 KJV

Thus, the most crucial of the advisors you must look up to is the one who is deeply in love with Jesus and with whom you can see the love of Jesus in all of its glory.

It can be challenging to determine when to take the dread of marriage seriously, but it’s not something to be ignored. With the support of friends and family and those who know Christ and his marriage ceremony, We can do more than simply offer courteous Christian phrases. We can help them seize the rigors of the commitment of their lives and help them relax in the one whose commitment is unchanging and unshakeable:

And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing but should raise it up again at the last day.

John 6:39 KJV


Getting cold feet or having second thoughts is an aspect of life. It’s a sign you’re getting ready to begin something important and significant. If you understand the reasons behind it, you can learn to cope with second thoughts and manage these times calmly and confidently. Remember that second thoughts can be the stepping stone to self-discovery, personal growth, and ultimately success. Consider them part of your journey, and continue to move towards your goals. 

The Cold Feet of Commitment
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