Not all life transitions are paved in grief and loss. Some are joyous, with reason to celebrate. Regardless of the type of transition you face, they are all life-changing and require you to become more accepting. Take marriage, for example—there are so many reasons why life changes after getting married—and each one challenges you to adapt to something new.
And, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns, either. When two people make a commitment to each other, there can be fireworks sometimes, and other times sparks can fly.
Whether you are contemplating marriage for the first time or it’s a repeat performance, acknowledging how many aspects of your personal life will merge with your chosen partners is important. At its worst, this can create discomfort, awkwardness, and contention. At its best, it will serve to liven up and deepen the conversation about who you are now that you are married.
That’s where the transition comes into play. The wedding is just the beginning and it is the catalyst. How you each change from the inside out starts the journey through transition. At the outset, you each may try to hold on for dear life to who you were going into the marriage. When that feels impossible, it may be time to let go and see where the ride takes you as you begin your life after marriage.
How Life Changes After Marriage
You are a complex person. So is your life-partner. We all are. As a coach, I work with women in many different areas of their lives. It starts with getting grounded in their values. Then we talk about home, health, friends, family, finances, career, relationships, spiritual and emotional well-being, and personal growth.
Each one of these areas will be affected when life changes after marriage by some measure—you can bet on it. One or two areas may be affected more than others, and that depends on how willing you are to collaborate, consider, and compromise.
Following are some thought starters to get you and your partner talking about why life changes after getting married and how you two can make the best of each situation:
Values Are Vital
In a shared life, shared values are important. When considering life after marriage, you may want to talk first about what you each care about most—what are your non-negotiable values, no matter what? It’s a great place to start because there are some things that should not change after marriage.
When two people share a life, differences of opinion become more important. I’m sure you don’t want to compromise your values or principles or kowtow to him just to keep the peace because that will set a precedent that can be hard to break over time. So how do you avoid butting heads over a difference of opinion?
First of all, ask yourself a few questions. Is the topic worthy of taking a stand? Can you talk about it openly, without judgment, and consider both sides as though they are equally valid? Can you keep the emotional dial set to low? Is there a compromise? Can you default to ‘agree to disagree?’
Money Matters More
Sharing incomes and expenses can become a major bone of contention, especially for two independent souls who are merging their lives. Where money is concerned, open conversation is required. It may make sense for you to set ground rules and boundaries around spending habits and tracking expenditures. Which one of you is best qualified to manage this? If both of you are equally able, what timing arrangement can be made to split the responsibility, so no one is the grinch all the time?
You may inherit lovely in-laws, or they may become the outlaws. Now that you’ve joined forces in life, spending time with family changes. Weekend visits, vacations, and holidays become a decision that the two of you get to make together. Splitting holidays, separate vacations, and Sunday dinners with mom are all up for grabs. More choices to collaborate about. Another reason why life changes after getting married.
Friends Come Too
Each of you has single friends, couple friends, people you share hobbies with, and others you just hang out with. You’ll like some of his—not all. Same for him.
This is a new season for each of you in this partnership. As the old saying goes, you can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends. Trying to be friendly with people you don’t care for can become difficult and cause a rift. You may want to talk about allowing each other the time and space to be with those people you care about most, without expecting your partner to tag along every time.
Alone Time Is Scarce in Life after Marriage
You may find yourself craving more of this thing called ‘me time’ because you don’t get as much now that you’ve entered into life after marriage. You may find yourself spending more time together at home by choice. On the other hand, sharing space with your beloved life-partner can get cramped after a while—for each of you.
Being open about needing your space is a great conversation to have. It may pave the way for you to feel freer to talk about your other needs as a loving person in a partnership.
The Weight of Responsibility
This doesn’t have to feel as heavy as it sounds but the fact is, when life changes after getting married, this sense of responsibility comes along for the ride. You each consider the other partner’s feelings and sensibilities. You may feel the desire to contribute equally, whatever that means to you in your particular relationship.
The change is that you now have someone else in your life, and your choices and decisions impact him, too.
Warts and All
If you are being open and honest with your life-partner, there is no hiding. Being vulnerable and bearing your soul are the threads from which your companion-tapestry is woven when you are in a committed relationship. You weave from one side and he weaves from the other, allowing your threads to pull through to the other side and his to do the same. Gold and silver, silk and cotton. Smooth and nubby. Warts and all.
This may be the biggest change you will experience, and it is the one that will affect how you show up for all the others.
When life changes after getting married, you will notice that you are changing from the inside out. You will begin accepting and adapting to life change, which is a very good thing. Make this transition one for the ages.
Step Onto Your Bridge
When life-changing moments flip your world upside down, I create a bridge so you can turn chaos into calm. You build resilience and learn to live a life guided by your own values and vision. Are you ready to take the first step onto your bridge? Do you want to explore how change can impact you? Would you like to learn how to move through it with more dignity and grace? I’m here to help. Get my free ebook From Darkness to Light: Learning to Adapt to Change and Move Through Transition.