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It always frustrates me when people say to a couple ‘oh wait until you get married, it will all change then…’ There’s no doubt that there are some things that change after you get married, but it’s not like it’s a complete 180-degree spin that changes everything in your life. In fact, there are more things that don’t change after you get married than do!
But here’s the point a lot of people miss, things only change as much as you allow them to. That’s right… allow them to. Over the course of a relationship people change – the way we are at the start is not going to be the same as we are one year or five years in, and nor would we want it to be.
Marriage doesn’t change people – but it can change your expectations. The biggest cause of disruption in a relationship or marriage is a misalignment of expectations. Perhaps you’re not communicating them to each other, maybe you don’t even realise you should, but it all comes down to open and honest communication.
Fearing change, and expecting things to stay the same is only going to lead to trouble. Changing and growing together as a couple is part of the excitement of marriage. Here are some of the things that don’t change after you get married (unless you want them to) and some of the things that do.
8 Things That Don’t Change After You Get Married
Despite what you may be told, these are some of the things that don’t change after marriage.
1 – Communication Is Still So Important
There’s a reason why you’ll hear over and over again that communication is so important in a marriage. With almost 50% of first marriages ending in divorce, there’s a lot of people out there who (now) understand that a breakdown in communication can quickly lead to a breakdown of a marriage.
Getting your ability to communicate on point before marriage is so important. It doesn’t become easier after you get married, and it doesn’t necessarily become more difficult, but it can easily be overlooked.
2 – You Don’t Magically Become A Nagging Wife
We hear people joke all the time ‘happy wife, happy life’ and I’ve lost count of the number of times people have assumed I’m nagging my husband about something (ask him… I literally never nag…).
Just because you’ve gone from Miss to Mrs doesn’t mean you automatically become a nagging wife. And honestly, it all comes back to point #1, communication. When you don’t communicate your expectations, and you don’t talk to each other, frustrations can set in and you can start getting snappy and snarky towards each other. But it doesn’t happen just because you get married.
3 – Any Problems In Your Relationship
If you’re tying the knot in hopes that it creates a clean slate for your relationship then you really need to step back and take a moment to evaluate your situation.
Marriage is not a band-aid that fixes any problems.
Sure, the honeymoon period is blissful and happy and can make it seem like any problems have faded away… but that ends, and the problems are still there, and often they have festered and become even worse.
If you’re having problems in your relationship, even if they seem small, go and see a marriage counsellor to get them ironed out before you get married. Actually, I always recommend every couple should see a marriage counsellor before they get married – it’s like a tune-up for your relationship and can help you really sort out any issues with communication.
4 – Your Sense Of Security
I’ve spoken to a lot of women who believe that getting married will make them feel more secure in their relationship and remove the fear that their partner is going to leave them. This is usually from women who push for marriage in their relationship probably before their relationship is ready for that commitment.
Security in a relationship doesn’t come from marriage, it comes from an understanding of each other (see next point), respect for each other, and (of course) communication. It’s not something that can be forced.
5 – Your Understanding Of Each Other
How well do you know your partner? An understanding of each other goes far beyond knowing each other’s favourite food and weeknight TV show preference. There are some things that you get to know about each other through time and really talking.
Do you know how to make your partner feel better when they are having a down day? Do you know how to tell they’re having a down day? Do you know their goals and ambitions in life? Do you know what makes them excited and happy?
Getting married doesn’t mean you’ll automatically know these things about your now husband, your understanding of each other doesn’t change when you get married. So if you want to understand your partner better, you need to take action to make it happen regardless of whether you’re married or not.
6 – Your Household Responsibilities
This isn’t the 1950’s, you don’t have to be the wife who quits her career to be a homemaker, makes lunch for her husband every day and makes sure her makeup is picture perfect for the moment her husband walks in the door (I mean, if that’s what you want then you do you and go for it… but you don’t have to).
I know I keep repeating it, but it really comes down to being clear about your expectations in your relationship. If your partner expects you to quit your job and stay at home to bake and keep house once you’re married, and you’re fully planning on keeping your career and dividing household responsibilities 50/50, then without communicating this to each other there’s going to be some big clashes coming your way.
A relationship is two different people coming together, you can’t expect that you’ll both be on the same page for everything. But that’s okay, as long as you talk to each other about it.
7 – Your Goals In Life
It kind of breaks my heart and makes me get all defensive when people expect women to give up all of their life goals and aspirations as soon as they get married. You don’t stop being you once you get married. And if you wanted to achieve things in life, or hit certain career goals, these just don’t disappear when you say ‘I do’.
Don’t buy into the idea that once you’re married everything is about supporting your husband, his goals and his career. If this is what you want to do then that is totally different. But your marriage is a union of two people, two equal people with equal choices and equal needs.
8 – Your Need For Alone Time
Just because you and your husband are now joined in marriage, it doesn’t mean that you need to be joined at the hip. My husband has always been the kind of person who needs time alone, and over the last few years I’ve started to really value the time I get to spend alone too, and this doesn’t change when you get married.
What fills your cup and recharges your batteries is even more important when you’re married!
If your partner needs alone time, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to be around you, it may just mean they need to find their level again. We all have different needs, introverts especially need alone time in order to ‘recharge’ and many people find that just some time to themselves, for self-care or whatever they want to do, does incredible things for their overall mental health. Respecting this in your partner is so important.
3 Things That Do Change After You Get Married
1 – A Shift In Identity
I love being able to call myself my husband’s wife. Being his wife is one of the things I love about my identity. This doesn’t mean I’ve just pushed myself back to the 1950’s. It just means I’ve added another layer to my identity.
As women, we often take our husband’s last name too (and some men take their wife’s last name, and some choose to hyphenate both), which can take a little while to adjust to, and can also be so exciting at the same time.
2 – Your Commitment To Each Other
I read an article recently that spoke about how once you’re married, all other women are ‘off the table’ (it was aimed at men) and I kind of sat in shock for a minute… If you’re at the point where you’re wanting to get married, and you believe that up until the ‘I do’ moment, other women are ‘on the table’ then you really need to be questioning whether or not you should be getting married.
Commitment in a relationship is a gradual process. It’s not like one minute you go ‘oh yup, from this second on I’m 100% committed to one person for the rest of my life’. You build that commitment over time.
There was something that shifted for me about two years after our wedding, it wasn’t straight after we got married, but rather took time to build up and find itself within me. A shift that made me realise we weren’t just husband and wife, but we were partners, in this for life, no matter what. And it was the most comforting feeling ever.
3 – Your Sex Life
If you think this is on the list because you’re expecting to have less sex or less intimacy with your husband then think again. For the majority of relationships, your sex life goes through different seasons. Sometimes you won’t be able to get enough of each other, other times the thought of snuggling in bed is far more appealing than getting frisky. That is 100% normal regardless of whether you’re married or not.
One thing that a lot of women, in particular, find that changes in their sex life after they get married is their sense of confidence. You’re no longer out to just impress and always wear that sexy underwear, but you’re more focused on getting what you want too.
If you’re finding that things have gone the other way, and your sex life is fizzling out at a rapid pace, perhaps ask yourself if this is just a season, or if this is something serious that needs to be addressed.
Sex is not the most important thing in a relationship, and where it sits on the scale of importance is different for each relationship, but you do need to be on the same page and you do need to be able to connect with each other in some way. There are so many amazing professionals who can help with this.
So, before you start listening to all the people who are telling you that everything changes after you get married, rest assured not everything changes, and the things that do can be pretty darn awesome.
Check out the planner I created to improve communication in your relationship and to help you have more fun!