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What Happens After the Wedding?
Your photographer snaps the last shot as you and your new husband drive off into the sunset. Hooray! You’re married! Now life will be smooth sailing, right? Unfortunately, most romantic fairytales end with marriage–it’s hard to find any that tell you how to live with the prince after the wedding.
If you’re departing for your honeymoon right after the ceremony, you’re not leaving yourself much time to think about things. From newlywed bliss into vacation mode, you can leap from one happy occasion to the next. However, the day after you come home and shake the perfect white sand out of your shoes, you’ll be faced with the reality of living with your new spouse. That’s not to say that life together will be anything short of marvelous (that’s why you married each other, after all), but it’s important to head into your “happily ever after” with a good idea of what “ever after” really means.
If you already lived together before the wedding, you can cross this one off your list. There aren’t likely to be many surprises about your living situation if you already know about your hubby’s bad habits of flicking toothpaste on the bathroom mirror, peeling off his dirty socks in the living room, and eating mass amounts of ice cream despite his raging lactose intolerance.
Even if you think you know your husband’s living style, though, you may be surprised that he’s no longer on his best behavior after the wedding. Get ready to encounter a little more dirty laundry, spoiled milk cartons on the counter, or whatever habit it is that makes your life partner the unique snowflake he is. Realize that you might not be on your best behavior anymore, either: you may decide to wear comfy sweatpants a little more often, burp out loud, or not clean every dish as soon as you use it. It’s all too easy to get disillusioned and panic that you’re “letting yourselves go.”
The best way to deal is to stay realistic. You never thought his “Prince Charming” act was possible to maintain 24 hours a day, did you? Realize that you’re seeing the man you love fully in his comfort zone: he loves and trusts you enough to be entirely himself. That gives you the same gift in return, of course: be your true self and bask in the knowledge that you will be loved. Just make sure that you both communicate your needs clearly and feel appreciated. Of course, it never hurts to plan a few special date nights, too, just to keep that “best behavior” sharp.
Having Special Event Letdown
After all the months of obsessing over flower arrangements, table runners, wedding colors, and which the second cousin got to sit at which table, it may feel a little strange to suddenly have free time on your hands again. Many brides get post-wedding blues when there’s no more wedding to plan. If you feel yourself getting a little anxious, channel your energy into the next big project: throw a “just married” party to include all of the friends who couldn’t attend your wedding, or get to work planning your one-year anniversary.
Remember, keeping busy doesn’t have to be all about relationship celebrations (unless planning your wedding made you realize your true calling as an event planner!). If you’re itching to throw yourself into a new project, try something that will enrich your life in other ways. Learn a new skill or language, take up a new hobby, or concentrate on earning some new responsibilities at work. The happier you are with your personal life, the better partner you’ll be.
The funny thing about a new marriage is it doesn’t always feel quite real yet. Many brides and grooms have the sensation of “playing house” for the first few months. If the words “my husband” don’t feel quite right in your mouth yet, don’t worry. Everything will feel normal eventually. And, in the meantime, you can revel in the excitement of doing everything from taking out the trash to making dinner plans–as a blissful newlywed.
Getting Cold Feet
If you thought cold feet were something brides just got before their weddings, think again. The first time your perfect new husband does something to make you angry, you may experience a flash of, “Was this really a good idea?” It’s perfectly normal to feel a little uncertain at times; after all, you’ve just made a huge commitment to be with this person for better or for worse.
If you feel misgivings start to settle in, focus instead on the aspects you love about your new spouse. Make a list of all the things you miss most when he’s not there. The more you turn your mental energy towards appreciating your husband, the less energy you’ll have to spare for mulling over his flaws.
In some cases, extreme regret over a new marriage is a sign that something is wrong. If you find yourself unable to focus on the good parts of your spouse, or if you have recurring arguments over fundamental values, it’s time to seek professional relationship counseling. You may still be able to salvage your marriage, but you’ll need to get an expert’s help sooner rather than later.
Making Each Day Exciting
The best part about marriage is that, ideally, it’s a lifelong commitment between two people in love. That means that you have a partner with whom to share the ups and downs in life. Some periods will be pure bliss and some will take hard work and attention, but in the end, you’re embarking on a journey that will be a constant learning process of how to be better partners for each other.
If you concentrate on making each day exciting in some small way (maybe leaving a flower and a note for your husband, or surprising him with tickets to a new movie), you’ll find your efforts reward you with a marriage that doesn’t get dull or routine. Embrace every day of your marriage, whether it’s a tough one or an easy one, and always keep looking for ways to make it even better.