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Does Anything Change After You Get Married?
How to answer that question when you hardly know the answer
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?”
I’m SO guilty of asking a question I now dread getting asked:
“Did anything change after you got married?”
It’s what automatically rolled off my tongue whenever I came in contact with a newlywed, mostly because I was curious, fearful, and selfishly wanted to know.
Most of the answers I got made me feel falsely at ease, just like the way someone tells you everything is going to be okay, when they have no idea whether anything will be okay.
“Nothing changes and it’s great!”
“Even if things change, everything will be okay!”
Those answers made my head turn.
I was always a little on edge about what the first years of marriage would be like.
Now, I’m living it.
When people ask me that question, I usually answer it in five different ways (depending on my mood, the day, or the person I am talking to).
“Oh, you know, everything is always changing! So of course things changed.” Sort of true.
“I’ve been so busy, I haven’t even noticed!” Big lie.
“Yes.” The concise way of sharing the truth.
“I don’t know, maybe?” The same answer I also give at the deli when they ask if I want my bagel toasted.
“Everything changed.” My go-to answer on days when I’m having an existential crisis
Seriously though, how would you answer that question?
“Did anything change after you got married?”
The truth is, my real answer is some big mashup of all of those things and more.
I have yet to craft an elevator pitch answer to whether or not things changed after Adam and I got married.
The short answer is yes.
The long answer? Gulp. How much time do we have?
What people tell you about the first years of marriage depends on who they are, who you are to them, and what they’ve decided to say in that moment.
Which made me wonder what other people would say…
What would the celebrities, the marriage therapists, the divorce lawyers, the people like you and I say?
Today I’m sharing with you 3 quotes about the first years of marriage that I thought were eye-opening, interesting, and not so typical of what you thought someone would say when asked about the first years of marriage.
Love is one long sweet dream and marriage is the alarm clock!” — Zeenat Essa
I felt this one deeply because I loved the idea of marriage being a wake up call. When it comes to things “changing” a lot of those changes, at first, are more realistic and pressing conversations.
For example, I’m only a few months into my first year of marriage, and I’ve had at least four meltdowns over the fact that Adam and I don’t have any long-term goals (or even 2021 goals) and that stresses me out.
Before marriage, our goals were tied to planning the wedding, figuring out exciting dates, or even around hobbies we wanted to start doing together.
Now? The “wake up call” goals are around how we want to grow our relationship, our life, and ourselves in this marriage.
Do you feel the same?
“It’s simply different from cohabitation. Even though they look like the same thing, with cohabitation there’s always a relatively easy out. With marriage, you have signed a binding contract. You are in a permanent union and the stakes just feel higher. Every fight or disappointment within the marriage may feel more significant and more loaded because this is it.” — Aimee Hartstein, LCSW.
I’m so guilty of this one as well.
Every time Adam and I argue now, I always find myself saying:
“Is it going to be like this for the rest of our lives? What if nothing changes?”
Before, fights came and went. Now, I place such a bigger significance on our arguments, disagreements, or even differences.
That right there is a major way that I feel marriage has changed my outlook on our relationship.
Am I alone in this?
“Continue to do the things you did that made your person fall for you in the first place and keep up on the newer quirks they enjoy about you,” — Jacob Kountz, Marriage Therapist
Marriage is a deep exhale.
You’re done with the wedding planning process.
You’re done with figuring out when to get married, how to get married, what the wedding should look like, will you actually enjoy the wedding day…things like that.
But, like we talked about before, you might start to get unsettled by the question of:
I’ll admit this to you. We’ve been married for a few months and haven’t been on one date.
We haven’t even thought about going on a date.
Sure, we go out to dinner and spend the weekends doing fun adventures but we never plan for a Friday night date night or a Sunday afternoon date.
Perhaps labeling something a “date” makes you subconsciously feel like you’re still dating the person you are married to and there’s something fun and fresh about that.
What do you think?
I’ve recently been finding myself obsessing over the questions of what changes when you get married because I’m no longer the one asking the question.
I’m now the one who has to answer it.
And I don’t have an answer.
I don’t have an answer that’s short, sweet, or even one that would make sense to a friend as they bit into their croissant over a coffee catch-up.
I have so many answers, long-winded ones.
Answers that only make sense if you’re willing to realize that yes, things change when you get married, for the better and for worse.
That’s the truth and that’s what this newsletter is here for.
To talk about and explore all those changes and more.
So thank you for being here and for sharing this with someone who would adore reading it too.
Love you (for as long as we both shall live),
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