The period leading up to your nuptials can be one of the most blissful in your life, from showing off that shiny new diamond to the moment you finally say “I do,” you celebrate with friends and family at that pitch-perfect reception you planned so carefully and head off on the honeymoon you’ve always dreamed of. You’re on the proverbial cloud nine—so high you can hardly imagine coming down, even when the honeymoon’s over.
To be fair, you are probably wise enough to expect a period of adjustment when you return to the world of work, chores, bills and normal life. But it might actually be harder than you think. Studies have shown that many couples struggle more during their first few years of marriage than those who have been married for a long time.
In the beginning, many couples struggle with a let-down period that’s not unlike the post-holiday January blahs. Depending on how much you invested in the wedding festivities themselves—both financially and emotionally—you might experience some sadness just because it’s over. Some couples may have also saddled themselves with some serious wedding debt, introducing an unwelcome element of stress right away (now why again did you insist on the champagne-and-caviar bar?).
But the challenges usually run a lot deeper than post-wedding come-down and buyer’s remorse about the fancy flowers at your reception. Though many couples today live together before getting married, for others, this could be the first time they’ve had to work on divvying up household chores, finances and a world of other details about the new life you’re sharing. Maybe he thought her tradition of joining girlfriends for a drink after work every Friday was over now that they’re married, but she thought differently. Maybe he never mentioned that not only does his beloved dog shed like crazy but also has a voracious appetite for shoes…until after her favorite pair of Ferragamos are history. When conflicts catch you off guard, tensions and resentments can build quickly, and even lead to a sense of panic: What have I gotten myself into?
Down the road, other realities sink in. While sparks still fly in the bedroom, one or both partners may begin to take intimacy for granted now that they’re married and caught up in the routine of daily life. This is normal and natural—no couple can sustain the hot-and-heavy chemistry they felt in the beginning any more than a new Mercedes convertible would hold the same excitement after a few years of driving it. But that doesn’t mean you’re in for a long, slow decline in your sex life. Studies have shown that married couples have more sex than single people, even those who’ve been married for a while, and one key is as simple as continuing to do it. Even when you don’t think you’re in the mood, make the effort—your appetite might return faster than you’d think. And never underestimate the power of flirting; telling your partner how good he/she looks in that new pair of jeans can go a long way toward reminding both of you of the attraction that brought you together in the first place.
For all of these issues, the key is having realistic expectations of your post-honeymoon life together. Anticipating conflicts, resolving them ahead of time where possible while understanding that others will still take you by surprise, and taking the time to talk things through in depth before the wedding—even with professional premarital counseling—can make all the difference in the world. And it will be a healthy first step for building a lifetime of marriage skills that will serve you well for many happy years to come.
You deserve to have a great love life. Let’s see if we can make yours better.Our Orange County relationship counseling services can help you get your relationship back on track. We look forward to connecting with you.