Marriage is one of life’s milestones, marking a major change in a couple’s life. Which may be why some delay marriage longer than others. They may not be ready for all that the married life brings. Besides the obvious things like changing names, gaining in-laws, joining bank accounts, what other changes can couples expect when they make the move from being boyfriend and girlfriend, to husband and wife?
Here are six things that change when you get married that you may not have thought of:
1. Shift in Identity.
The social expectations associated with marriage alter the way that partners think about themselves. “Assuming the role of husband and wife is one of the most important social roles,” says University of Massachusetts psychology professor Susan Krauss Whitbourne. “In studies, husbands and wives place their family identity as the most important aspect in their sense of self.”
2. Feeling Grounded.
Many couples report a sense of calm and relief knowing that they’re no longer alone once their vows are said. There becomes a feeling of security and a true partnership says parenting exert, author and CEO of divamoms.com, Lyss Stern.
3. Spiritual Reconnection.
After an engagement or marriage, many couples become spiritual and return to the religions of their youth, says licensed marriage and family therapist, Dr. Paul Hokemeyer. “[Couples] become profoundly grateful for having found their life and soul mate and desire to reconnect to their God or religious community.” Couples also feel more connected to their families and childhood friends.
“You will suddenly realize how good you get at negotiating,” says Stern. “Every decision, whether it’s about finances or family, is made with both people in mind.” Compromising is crucial when building a future together. “We must move out of the self-absorbed stage into a mature place of selflessness,” adds Hokemeyer.
5. Lust to Love.
In the beginning lust fuels the relationship and is often mistaken for love. “For the love to last, it must transform into respect and appreciation for the wholeness of the other person,” says Hokemeyer. For the long-term, these feelings transcend time, physical beauty, and health and financial stability.
6. Sex Needs.
The frequency and intensity may change over time, both for the better and the worse. (If you let it.) Hokemeyer says of married couples, “Both partners are now able to feel more confident in their relationship and in their bodies. This opens them up to the opportunity to explore their sexuality on a deeper and more intense level.” It’s crucial couples maintain that passion and desire in the relationship.
As the experts are clear to note, many couples don’t expect how truly different being married feels. For those hesitant to make the lifelong commitment, Whitbourne says examining where those feelings come from may reveal whether or not you’re really ready to take the plunge.