Marriage is a big step and a new chapter in each person’s life. There will be a lot of ‘new’ things in your life, including a new last name, a new address, a new second family, and even a new life. Everything changes the moment you say ‘I do.’
It changes your life a lot, from smaller things like sharing a bank account, owning a house together, no more alone time, and a lot of compromises, but it can also affect your mental state and even your personality. These changes can be both positive and challenging.
Getting married can change the way you think, the way you feel, and what you do in your day-to-day life. Read on to discover the 10 things that usually do not stay the same after tying the knot!
How you see yourself.
After getting married, there’s no more you and I, everything gets replaced by ‘us.’ According to Michelle S. Park, MA, licensed marriage and family therapist in NYC, in the first year o marriage, most couples are often surprised and go through an identity crisis, due to the fact that they begin to realize they’ve just made a lifetime commitment with someone, and from now on, you’re responsible for their well-being.
Newly married couples need a little bit of time to adjust to the new husband and wife life, explains Park. Many couples don’t even realize how much getting married will change their lives and their personality. Michelle mentioned one of her patients, April M, who needed 10 months to feel ready to change her name, and even a few years after, she still misses it.
Your sense of security.
Adrienne C., another one of Park’s patients dated her now-husband for more than 15 years before tying the knot. They began by living together as roommates, then as a couple, and finally as married couples with children. While she remembers marriage not being a priority for her because they were happy being in a relationship, they finally chose to get married for health insurance and other such reasons.
Adrienne also mentioned that she didn’t want the relationship t change because they were very happy before they got married. However, tying the knot has brought a sense of security and comfort to their life they didn’t expect.
“I felt more secure in terms of if anything should happen to either one of us,” she added.
Getting married doesn’t come with instructions and you definitely won’t receive the superpower of reading your spouse’s mind. Most of the time, you won’t be able to decipher what’s causing the eye crinkle, the short response, or the prolonged silence, so you’ll be tempted to assume the worst.
But according to Park, the key is just asking them what’s wrong. Also, you need to remember that a good question should start with one of two words: how or what. These questions require a more specific answer, so you won’t have to deal with short answers like ‘yes’ or ‘no.’
Additionally, instead of asking your spouse if they’re mad at you, it would be better to ask them what they’re thinking about or what’s on their mind right now. As Park has explained, it’s still important to speak your mind and articulate your needs. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean your spouse is a mind-reader.
“Let go of the idea that if you have to tell him what you want, it’s going to be less meaningful in some way.” It’s worth acknowledging that people change, and their preferences do the same over time, that’s why it’s vital to express your needs.
Your role in the relationship.
People tend to learn a lot from their parents’ relationship, so you might assume that just because your mother used to do things a certain way or your father handled certain things, your marriage will be the same. However, you and your partner are not your parents and you should come up with different ‘rules’ that work for both.
But according to experts, you shouldn’t make any assumptions and chose to share your expectations with your partner. According to Heitler, some couples would prefer to take similar roles as their parents, while others will want to create their own.
“Somehow, I was suddenly responsible for remembering birthdays, anniversaries, and buying Christmas gifts for another entire family,” says April. “He pretty much just handed it over.”
Your intimate life will also suffer a lot of changes, for the better.
Tying the know is a huge commitment that will give you a sense of security and comfort you probably didn’t know before. For some people, getting married represents a game changer in bed as well.
According to Susan Heitler, PhD, a clinical psychologist in Denver and author of The Power of Two, the safer you feel in a relationship, the more confident you’ll be in the bedroom. You might want to experiment a lot and approach the situation with a lot of confidence. As Heitler has explained, these changes are likely to last more than the honeymoon phase or the phase where you just can’t keep your hands off one another.
In fact, you become more connected with your partner as time passes and you begin to feel comfortable with each other. When emotional intimacy grows, your intimate life will also change for the better. Here’s an interesting book you may want to read.
How often you get intimate.
While your intimate life can improve for the better, it’s probably not a surprise for anyone that you’ll reach a phase where you’ll do it less. However, that doesn’t mean you’re no longer attracted to each other or the spark is lost.
According to Park, “Dry spells will happen, but less frequent sex does not signal the beginning of the end.” As you grow older, you care more about quality than you do about quantity. However, you still need to find new ways to connect with your partner, including kissing, cuddling, and holding hands.
Intimacy can exist even when you’re doing it a few times a month, Park added.
According to a study conducted at the Ohio State University, women are more likely to gain weight after getting married, while men are most likely to gain a few pounds after getting divorced.
The researchers at the Ohio State University analyzed data from a survey made of more than 10,000 participants and discovered that people tend to gain weight especially after reaching 30.
While the researchers didn’t investigate why is that, relationship experts believe it’s because 30 is on average the age when people get married or even divorced. Both of the things previously mentioned can be a huge shock as you’re forced to adjust to the new lifestyle, which can affect your weight.
As Heitler has added, happiness and sadness are powerful emotions that could contribute to both the increase and the decrease of appetite.
Where to celebrate the holidays.
When you’re in a relationship, holidays can be quite complicated. After you get married the biggest problem is deciding where to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas. As Park has explained, one of her patients was shocked when he realized that they’ll always have the not-so-pleasant discussion around the holidays and the struggle of deciding where to spend them.
According to Ricardo L., the biggest problem was deciding where to spend Thanksgiving. Of course, I wanted to spend it with my family because my dad cooks the best turkey, while my wife wanted to spend it at her parents’ home.
Their solution? In the 12 years they have been married, they managed to alternate between the big holidays. If you choose to spend Thanksgiving at your family’s house, it would be wise to spend Christmas with your spouse’s parents. Or you can do both families on each holiday if you have the possibility. This way, there will be no tension between you two. Or, why not invite your families to your household to celebrate the holiday together as a big family?
You won’t have as much free time as you did before.
Ricardo also remembers that he had a lot more free time before getting married to his now-wife. Even though he used to make plans on seeing his partner, they were his plans, while now it’s more about their plans.
That’s what usually happens after getting married, instead of thinking about what ‘you’re doing’ you have to think about what ‘we’re doing.’ “It was a weird shift for me at first, almost like I lost a little control of my day,” he said.
Sometimes it’s hard to adjust to newly married life because even though you love spending time with your spouse, you still want some alone time. That’s why it’s equally as important to spend time together but also apart, explains Park.
Understand that spending time alone is important for both yourself and for the well-being of the relationship.
After getting married, you’ll have to deal with a lot of discussions regarding laundry, who does the dishes, who takes out the trash, and even how to fold the towels. A lot of unessential issues appear once you get married, and a lot of them are related to chores and other tasks around the household.
There’s no more ‘my’ way, or ‘your’ way, everything is ‘our’ way now. For instance, maybe you were ok with your now-husband leaving his clothes on the floor while you were in a relationship, leaving together. Also, if you didn’t live together before, chances are you didn’t even notice. However, since you’re married, seeing their clothes piled on the floor is really getting on your nerves.
According to Heitler, instead of arguing and criticizing your spouse, it would be better to work on a plan of action that works for both. Consider buying additional laundry baskets so it will be easier for him to just toss his clothes in. And remember, it’s not about your or their way, it’s about finding a solution that works for both of you.
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