The honeymoon phase. Newlywed glow. Marital bliss. Chances are, you’ve heard terms like these to describe the experience of being newly married. And as a recently married woman myself, I’ll tell ya: there’s a lot of truth to these terms, especially when you marry someone who truly makes you happy.
But here’s the thing: You can’t sum up the newlywed experience in such a reductive way. Getting married is complicated. Not just in the logistical sense (turns out you have to apply for the marriage license before the wedding), but also because it’s a big adjustment no matter how prepared you feel. Frankly, I feel like there’s this societal pressure put on newlyweds to feel blissed out all the time in those early days of marriage, and few people ever discuss anything except the good stuff.
For me, getting married ushered in this weird realization that every single decision I make from here on out will affect someone else. I can’t just quit my job or book a vacation or even make a major purchase without factoring my husband’s feelings. Going through life with another person in this way is wonderful – but it’s also complicated and strange and unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced.
I rounded up a group of other newlyweds and asked them to share the things that most surprised them. Here’s what they had to say.
“What I found most surprising is that people take your relationship seriously, but your relationship hasn’t changed. We’re still in love the same and our lives are the same, but family suddenly respects us. Even though we’ve been together four years, [over] the last month we’ve both noticed how the world treats us differently, yet we’re exactly the same – just with a government title.”
“My husband, and I got married August 6, 2016. We had been dating for three years, and even though we knew each others spending habits, I am so surprised at how hard it is to share a bank account. We see each others spending, have to budget together and decide who needs new clothes first, or what is best to spend our money on – my idea or his idea. It’s definitely strange, but we are just learning to be sensitive to each other’s ‘needs’ and ‘wants.’ Right now, I think both of us are afraid to splurge on anything.”
“I was married two years ago. The most surprising thing to me in being married is the amount of things that life asks you to juggle. On one hand before you get married everything in your life is about you, but on the other hand when you get married everything in your life becomes about your spouse.”
“I was married on Oct. 24, 2014 so coming up on 2 years of marriage. The thing I found most surprising after getting married is how quickly we both became complacent. It seem all the little things we did before marriage started to slow down and it took me a few months to notice. For instance we almost stopped dating each other. Now I make sure we have date night at least once a week to maintain our connection. Life happens and I realized quickly that you can easily get lost in the day to day rat race.”
“I guess I feel the pressure to be responsible and always think twice before really doing anything because everything I do affects someone else now. Then there’s the act of balancing time with your own family along with time with your in-laws. Celebrating the holidays is definitely more complicated once you get married. Also, my bank account seems to drain way faster now that I have a wife.”
“I’d say the most surprising thing I found after getting married was actually that nothing really changed at all! My husband and I had been together for eight years before we tied the knot, and I sort of expected our relationship to shift in some seismic way since we had already experienced so many life changes together, and ups and downs both together and separately, but all I felt was an overall feeling of calm and stability after we were married… something that hasn’t changed in the two years since we said “I do!” It was kind of a relief, actually.”
“There are a few things that have surprised me. For one thing, wedding withdrawal. It was really hard for me to come down from the high of having a huge party and being surrounded by all my friends and family. After a year of wedding planning and then actually experiencing the wedding and honeymoon, real life seemed weirdly empty. The other thing that really surprised me was how hard it can be to maintain your other relationships. I feel like even my relationship with my parents changed a little bit after I got married, which was really strange. My husband is definitely my priority, but making time for my friends and family is still important to me. It’s something I’m working on.”
“I got married because of familial pressure, which is something I regret. I’m always wondering if it was worth it — to me, I don’t think it was. Now I have to hold this over my head when it feels kind of silly to say the word “Husband.” I don’t think I’d be married if it weren’t for family pressure. Which is sad, but still a reality for women, especially in religious families.”