You've Changed: How Marriage Alters Your Brain & Body

According to doctors and psychologists

Welcome to The First Years of Marriage Newsletter! We talk about the conversations, challenges, and changes that begin once the honeymoon ends. Advice from experts, mistakes from me (Jen Glantz), and things you’re going to want to know as you continue to ask yourself this question - “I’m married, so now what?”

PS. I’m working on creating a First Years of Marriage card game. It’s in the works and I’d to get your input. If you have (3-5) seconds, check this out.

One more thing before we get into the good stuff:

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This week’s newsletter theme is all about how our mind and body changes after we say I DO.

Some people will tell you absolutely nothing changes after you get married.

Those people are liars.

At least 99% of them are not telling you the truth. They probably are not intentionally misleading you. They probably just don’t know how to quantify or even communicate the long list of things that expand, grow, and are just different after a person ties the knot.

I’ve wrote about how conversations, decisions, and even arguments change after marriage.

But today’s topic is different.

Something that not a lot of people know, or even think about, is how our minds and body change after we get married.

I wanted to know how so I asked a handful of experts.

Here’s what they had to say:


You're not as stressed.

One of the more positive aspects of marriage is that it can actually reduce your stress levels. Sounds too good to be true, right?

Dr. Ritu Trivedi-Purohit, PsyD, says,

In healthy marriages, couples find that their love transitions from high-intensity, passionate love to a deeper, compassionate love over the course of a few years. Intense love can be stressful on the mind and body (sending your heart racing and muddling thoughts); however, over time, deeper love can protect partners against stress. Love hormones oxytocin and vasopressin are released in the brain helping us bond with our partners over time.

I’ve only been married for a few months and those months have been ultra stressful, the stress hasn’t come from my marriage but from other factors.

So while I believe this to be true - I want you to know that if you feel even more stressed now that you’re married than before, it’s not something to be ashamed of.

Life can be longer.

It turns out that being in a close relationship with another person - one that includes shared values and healthy habits - can positivity impact your mind and body.

“Speculation is that couples encourage each other to eat better, exercise, keep doctor appointments and do what the doctor says,” says Dr. Ben Michaelis, PhD.

He continues,

Socializing together is also good for mental and physical health. The comfort of having a trusted, reliable partner creates endorphins that are healing influences in the body. As people age in marriage, having a partner who knows you well can help you live longer and be happier.

Your Mindset changes.

While marriage may seem scary with many ups and downs (especially during the first few years), it is a bond that should ultimately make you feel more comfortable inside and out.

Tyra Gardner, a therapist who specializes in relationship therapy, says marriage is a transition that can change your mindset for the better:

Mindset change is big in marriage because the way you think changes in regards to referring from 'I' to 'we.' Couples become comfortable with themselves mentally and physically and [see] a decrease in anxiety about relationships.You can lose anxiety.

Dad Bod Becomes Real

According to Dawn Maslar, author of "Men Chase, Women Choose," when a man commits to a woman, bodily changes occur.

She says,

A Harvard study found that when a man commits to a woman, his testosterone drops. This causes changes in his body, particularly muscle mass and body fat. This is what can lead to the 'dad bod.' Testosterone builds muscles, so with less testosterone, you tend to have less muscle and burn fewer calories. This causes more fat to be stored, usually around the belly.

Gosh, we’re trying to learn!

“Marriage is the Rubik's Cube of the 21st Century - something young people are fascinated with but have no idea how to do.”
― Stewart Stafford


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