The Honeymoon's Over, Now What?

A discussion about the reality of married life.

Married Life

Not So Newlywed

What happens when the honeymoon’s over?

-Jill Jordan

newlywedsSo you’ve married the love of your life. You’ve had a beautiful ceremony and an amazing honeymoon, and everything is just … magical. It should be smooth sailing from here on out, right?

At least that’s what I thought before I spoke with women who’ve actually been married. Turns out the first year of marriage can be one of the most difficult.

Hilarye, a recently wed 23-year-old says, “We didn’t live together before we were married, and we were both extremely independent and thought that things had to be done a certain way,” she confides. So the 24/7 proximity took a bit of adjustment. “We went from never seeing each other to seeing each other every day. While it was wonderful and fulfilling in so many ways, it also took some getting used to.”

Marriage is also a time when the idea of compromise really hits home, says Melissa, 24, who’s been married for just over a year. “It was just that sudden discovery that a bit of my freedom, my independence had been taken away. I could no longer just pick up and do whatever I wanted at any given time – I had a husband to consider.”

Naturally, with compromise come the inevitable arguments. “[We had] lots of fights over everything. Money, sex, families, time together, special events, friends,” says Amanda, 27. “He would be constantly withdrawn or very loud and angry. I would be loud and angry, and then hurt and crying. There were several times I would be in the shower sobbing and thinking, Why did we think this was a good idea?”

When people marry later in life – after having spent a decade or more on their own, these differences can become more pronounced. “Trying to adjust and cohabit under one roof was a challenge and still is a bit challenging,” says Maria, 37. Though she adores her husband, she admits, “We both have different upbringings and families, and I think that makes it even more challenging.”

So instead of the nonstop sex and romance fest I’d imagined, it turns out that the first year of marriage is a struggle to find a balance of identities. You’ve joined together as a team, but each person has their own lifestyle, core values and sex drive – their own way of living. But as every woman I spoke with agreed, if that balance can be found, then you two have the potential for a stable, long-lasting marriage. Melissa summed it up quite nicely: “As hard as marriage is some days, it is totally worth it.”

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