If you’re planning on getting married, then you might well find yourself feeling a little anxious. While this is a very exciting time in many ways, it also marks a huge change in lifestyle and a big change to your identity. That’s before you even consider the stress of spending all that money on a huge wedding day…
The question you might find yourself asking before you get married is: ‘how is life going to change?’. Will you suddenly find yourself feeling more mature and spending nights on the couch reading next to your significant other? Or does life continue just as it did before?
Nothing Changes and Everything Changes
On the face of it, very little changes when you first get married. Many people will return to the same lifestyle they enjoyed prior to marriage and in some cases this can even feel like something of an anticlimax. After the huge upheaval that is the process of getting married, returning to life as normal can sometimes feel a little disheartening.
In this regard, buying a house together is actually more of a big change.
Chances are you will still continue working the same job, doing the same things in the evening and engaging in the same hobbies and extracurricular activities.
But while there is no big obvious change in terms of your routine, you will find that there are some subtle changes that impact the way you think and act and these can run deeper than you realize at first.
The Practical Changes
It’s a strange moment the first time you have to tick a box that says ‘married’ when you’re filling out a form, or when you introduce someone to your wife or to your husband. Each time this happens, it can cause you to somewhat re-evaluate your identity and the way you feel about yourself.
This identify shift though is going to be much greater for the woman. Becoming a wife means not only that your relationship status changes but also your name and that can have a much bigger impact. If you are also changing other aspects of your lifestyle – such as your job – then this can sometimes feel like you’re losing a lot of what made you ‘you’.
For other women, the process of changing all their documents to their new name can take so long that it it’s months or even years before they really feel as though their name has changed!
Something else that changes in quite a big way are your priorities.
When you’re dating and even when you’re engaged, you’re ultimately two individual entities who will go about your life separately. You want to be together and you work to make it work, but you’re ultimately only responsible for yourself and you only have to answer to yourself.
When you’re married though, this can change. Suddenly, your finances are going to be tied together much more closely and you will probably have plans together for the future – such as buying a house, having children, moving home or even adopting a pet.
These plans mean that you are no longer only responsible for yourself. Now you have a responsibility to your partner too and this causes a shift in priorities. Now when someone invites you out and you don’t have the money, or if you’ve been away a lot lately, you may find yourself saying that you can’t because you need to focus on your wife or husband. And whereas in the past this might have been met with scepticism, now people will understand that you have other priorities.
This is a subtle change but it really does alter the way you approach life.
In terms of your actual relationship, again things change more subtly under the surface rather than in any big way.
The first thing that changes is that your relationship will feel more ‘special’ and in some ways sacred. When you are married, you have made a vow to each other and you hope that it is going to last forever. This makes you feel more of a single unit, rather than being two separate individuals who are merely living together.
At the same time, being married can help to give you both a sense of confidence in the relationship and that can allow you to relax even more and to be yourselves. Perhaps you have always felt very secure in your relationship and in yourself – but being married will almost always take this to another level. You now know without a doubt that your partner loves you enough to devote their lives to you and this means you can be totally yourself.
In some ways, it’s almost as though marriage creates a little bubble around the two of you. From that point on, you have already become a family – even without children – and that is a very comfortable feeling.