Marriage is a big commitment and perhaps one of the biggest life decisions we will make, pretty much like what education to pursue or what career we should take up. The person we decide to pair for life, have children, share a home with, play a huge role in how our life pans out and how satisfied and happy we are with it.
Though marriage changes the role of both men and women, it has far more impact in the daily life of a woman vis-a-vis that of a man. While her old roles continue to be as important, she has to shoulder new ones too. She is not just a daughter or sister anymore but a wife, a daughter-in-law, house manager and in the future a mother too! She, especially in the Indian system, is the one to leave behind her home, routine and the comfort of a house she has grown up in and move in with her husband to either his home or set up a new one for the two of them or to relocate to a new city altogether. And they are the ones who have to change their names too! Women experience many changes post marriage which can be both enriching and daunting at the same time. Life after marriage is a new ball game altogether.
A woman’s life undergoes a complete change, sometimes dramatically after she ties the knot. Things a woman inherits along with a husband are, expectations of in-laws, oftentimes an entire kitchen even though she may not be able to distinguish between different types of dal, a completely new wardrobe which may not be to her liking, etc. And of course a completely new lifestyle. Overnight, their priorities and routine changes, and from a bubbly, carefree girl one day, they can suddenly find themselves waking up with a load full of responsibilities. A lot of changes happen in a woman’s life after marriage.
Indeed life changes for a girl after marriage. Boys and men, do you realize this?
15 Changes A Woman Experiences After Marriage
Yes, marriage is a social good—our lives and our communities are better when more people get and stay married. It makes us more responsible at an individual plus a collective level. But the onus of this is far more on women. The ideas of nurturing, care-giving are more internalized in her than probably the other male counterpart in her house, perhaps a brother. But before marriage, a woman is perhaps more of an equal in her home with the other male child. That changes quickly for women after marriage.
Add to that the pressure of bearing children and carrying the family name forward is one hell of huge change too! Remember the saying it takes a village to raise a child, well in this new world where nuclear families are replacing joint ones this work of an entire village mainly falls on the tender shoulder of one woman. Here is a list of 15 changes a woman goes through post-marriage that have a major impact on her life and her relationship with others. Our expert Deepak Kashyap explains why men are not so easy with taking care of children in this video here.
1. She becomes more responsible and reliable
Yes, marriage is a stabilizing force for relationships, that the commitment itself helps couples stay together when they otherwise but think of the carefree non-married days. You could work or party late and wake up past noon, can you do that now? You could order in food at a whim or maybe stash the already cooked food and go out to chill with friends just because, can you do that now? You could plan your weekends, to that friend’s place or at an aunt’s in a different city or even trips with your friends, can you do that now?
A woman’s life changes drastically after marriage. After marriage, you are accountable not just for your husband but if you live with in-laws, they too. Your father does not take care of your finances anymore, nor is the major onus of household chores on your mother. Your priorities change, from being your favourite others somehow crowd that space! Surprisingly, most women do not complain about the extra responsibility post marriage because in a way they have been preparing for it. This is a major change that happens in a woman’s life after marriage.
2. Career almost takes a backseat in her life
Think of Hillary Clinton, Jacqueline Kennedy, Twinkle Khanna, marriage changes woman’s priorities. Carrer gets pushed down as adjusting to the new place, keep the home running, meeting expectations of in-laws take precedence. Their outlook towards life change so does her focus and then there are practical issues. Think of the women who change cities post-marriage and lose out the seniority and connection of their workplace. Though they may be able to balance career and home in the first few years of marriage things change even more once the kids come into the picture. A friend wrote about how she always had to take a leave from work because the hired help at home did not show up and she eventually ended up resigning and stayed home till the kid turned 14!
However, if one is focused and makes work her priority then she usually resumes work sooner or later though the career trajectory takes a huge hit. Plus it is not often that women get support from in-laws unless they part with a portion of the income and contribute it to the household. We always advise our readers to chalk out their deal-makers and breakers before they decide to tie the knot!
We at Bonobology tried to get stories of husbands who had agreed to change cities for the wives’ career (the promotion needed a city change), we could not get one such case in the entire country. Think of the other way round. Women constantly up their careers on hold or at the back seat and encourage the growth of their husbands. Read this piece here about one such study by Harvard!
3. Her decision-making style changes
Before marriage, all decision making is fairly simple. Which friends to hang out with, rest in early after work or watch something on T.V, maybe go out friends, work weekends to impress the boss and climb the career ladder or be chill at work and get the salary back at the end of the month. However, after marriage women have to think of their actions vis-a-vis their in-laws and husband. What would they prefer? Would they not approve of her staying out late at night with her friends, maybe male colleagues? Interestingly married women even get fewer ‘single’ invitations. Friends and family try and loop in the spouse in their programs unless it is at odd hours. Life after marriage does change because now two heads are taking a decision together.
Her phone habits change too!
Related Reading: It took me 4 years to decide, but I changed my name after marriage
4. Patience and maturity become her number one traits
While you could storm out in anger after an argument with your parents or put off home cleaning or taking care of chores assigned to you or even ask the family to stop boring you with their rant, you cannot do the same with the husband’s side of the family. Willy-nilly you will need to learn to be patient and calm about things. Not to throw a fit and even smile politely when every bone in your body is screaming to make them shut up. You must have heard your mother advise you to even voice your displeasure pleasantly. They have been told time and again that to have a successful and healthy married life, that they should cultivate dollops of understanding and patience. Check with your married friends on their patience quotient and have some laughs!
Also, you need to deal with your husband’s mood and attitudes. They had a bad day at work, they are off mood, hence you must understand; they come back from work happy and want to celebrate a project well done, but one of your close friends has had a break-up and you are not in the mood to be happy, but then you are the cold bitch who doesn’t participate in her husbands good moments. Life becomes being mature! This a major change that happens to a girl after marriage.
5. She rarely gets her personal space and time
Time to read, pursue a hobby, pick a skill, go on solo vacations go for a toss, because you simply do not have the time or the energy for them. You are either working long hours at your job, or to keep the home running or you spend time to develop that bond with your new husband and his family, plus you are fitting in the time to be a good daughter too! Your social life has suddenly doubled, with his relatives and yours, his friends and yours, it leaves you with no ‘me time’. Personal space is usually the ‘me time’ which is about rejuvenating or chilling or perhaps not doing anything. But marriage in the beginning and once the children come in leave no time and space for the women to be on her own or do the things she likes. This is something that a majority of women complain about after marriage. Her routine after the wedding is – taking care of the husband, professional commitments, his family members, household chores, her parents so on and so forth. Life after marriage does leave a woman with very little me time. Space is important in every relationship and you must try and ensure how you can carve it out!
6. A married woman thinks before speaking her mind
In your circle of family and friends that you have grown up with, you speak without care. You give your opinions and discuss your point of view openly. You argue for what you believe in and perhaps even hold on to your side of the story and stick to it. Your people know you in and out, you have figured out the way with them and you handle each other’s likes and dislikes. But after marriage you do not have that level of openness or comfort with your new family hence you have to weight the words that come out of your mouth. Not just your words even your body language. With time you learn to understand how to convey disappointment or displeasure but it is a process and one that requires a lot of fortitude. Read a story of this woman on how she spoke up her mind to her in-laws here.
The unwritten rule to be followed however is to think before you speak. While this is a good trait and generally helps us build better ties, at times it can be frustrating and lead to a lot of bottled-up resentment and unhappiness, especially between the couple.
7. Her dressing style changes
‘You cannot wear what you want’, is one of the biggest complaints women have from marriage. This can almost be a deal-breaker, even in love marriages. What is an appropriate attire to meet family and friends and what is not, rules are stated and have to be followed. In many families, things do get easy as the new daughter-in-law sets in and begin commanding power, but that usually takes years. She may have to forgo her love of skirts, pants or jeans, and dress up more conservatively. They may be ‘generous’ and be okay with wearing westerns strictly with friends but the daily dressing up style is discussed and has to be agreed upon. A married woman has to adapt to the dressing style of the family she marries into, plus keep her husband’s preferences in mind too. Though some families allow their daughters-in-law to dress the way they want, most of them have reservations about the clothes she should wear after marriage. We had a story of a girl where the mother wore tracks and a t-shirt but the daughter had to cover her head and wear a sari at home.
One good thing however that marriage brings is the constant work to look flawless. Remember your dating days, you spend hours on the right make-up, clothing, hair-style, accessories, now that you are together you can go easy on that and it does free up a lot of time! You are automatically more casual.
8. She gives special attention to her family
Do you remember the line, ‘Kisi me itne pass hai, ki sabse door ho gaye‘? Marriage will change your equation with your friends, especially your single friends. You will find yourself socializing more with your husband’s gang, or you may hang out with your husband’s cousins and their spouses. You will meet your friends perhaps on your birthday or that occasional coffee for a hurried hour. Also, the way you stand by them will change. You may be less inclined to rush to them if they have had a break-up or need your support which may not mean much to your married household. While earlier you wouldn’t care much about picking and dropping them off you will have less time and energy to be available. You may be putting the time and energy into your relationship with your husband or his family.
Related Reading: Does it matter if you don’t change your surname after marriage?
9. A married woman feels secure
So far we have been listing the challenges which a marriage brings. Here are some pros. Marriage brings security- mental, financial, emotional, etc and that is precious. You have that person who has your back, someone you sleep and wake up with, in one sense you are never really alone. You can share secrets, bitch about your friends, relatives and, colleagues and be rest assured that you will not be ratted out! You will have a lover, a friend, a mentor and a confidant in the same person. And this is an exclusive unit, no one else is allowed within. This brings a sense of closeness which is unmatchable. Once children come into the picture the couple gets committed to their well-being, it’s like a shared goal and they become team players! The research from the University of Georgia also found that marriage benefits women’s emotional stability. one direct effect is less stress!
10. She will be extra careful when spending money
Marriage makes women savers if they were not so before. They think more about the future and this encourages them to save more which is a very desirable quality. They also become better money managers and understand budgeting. They save money for bigger things, maybe a better refrigerator, that new washer-cum-drier or even start putting money for the kid’s college fund! As a couple, money management becomes a joint thing for her now. According to a report, ‘Almost 4 in 10 (37%) Married Americans report paying more attention to their finances as a result of getting married. Three in 10 Married Americans report starting to save more money (30%) and worry more about the future (27%) – in both cases, men are more likely than women to agree with each statement’. Having a joint account makes the couple more cognizant of their spending habits and generally brings down impulse spending.
Related Reading:How Much Money Should My Husband Give Me?
11. Her possessive attitude will fade away
Before marriage, a woman is generally more possessive when it comes to her man. She tends to view other women as her adversary and is very watchful about them hitting on her guy. She feels insecure and may feel and act a little obsessive. Marriage and with it the legal contract does bring a certain amount of confidence, and the possessiveness and jealousy fade. Having hundreds as a witness to the wedding ceremony and having a huge fleet of support (for the union to last) people in the form of each other’s relatives also brings its unique brand of assurance. A girl after marriage becomes a secure woman and more accepting of women’s friends in her husband’s life. We do get pieces on their irritation when a woman hits on their husbands, here is a piece on how to deal with it.
This is also a huge energy saver. And generally brings in a positive change in women. Marriage brings stability in the relationship the commitment itself helps couples stay together when they otherwise might not.
12. She becomes the best version of herself
‘After marriage, your success is also your spouse’s success because the couple is a unit. Very much like his successes are yours.’ This makes women become the best version of themselves. At work, at home with friends. You become open to new experiences, you will try your husband’s interests and yours. Marriage makes you understand better, work harder, be more patient and think before you speak.
Related Reading: Crazy thoughts a girl has just after her marriage
13. Her parents value her even more
This is true for every girl who gets married because she is her parent’s princess. So whenever, she will visit her parents she will get all their love and affection. Her parents will value her even more than before because they genuinely miss her and be there for her always. Life after marriage becomes a time for pampering at your parents’ place. But beware we had a query where the man complained about how spoilt his wife was because she was an only child. Remember marriage is about to give and take.
Related Reading: He sends money back to his parents; why can’t I?
14. Weight gain is common for a married woman
Women might gain weight due to changes in lifestyle and eating habits after marriage. Hormonal changes, little time for exercise, less stress on wanting to look flawless, change in priorities, job requirements coupled with home responsibilities, etc. can be other reasons behind the weight gain. People usually gain weight in marriage because they also feel freaking good about their new life companion and know that their love is stronger than a few kgs on the weighing scale! !Weight gain is a major change that happens in a woman’s life after marriage.
15. An identity crisis of sorts may hit you
The losing of identity starts from there. The home and people you have grown up with, the food style that is set in, the house culture and everything that comes along with leaving your home can bring on a serious sense of loss of identity. Some families even change the first names of their daughters-in-law (this happens a lot in the Sindhi community). We get many queries on the pros and cons of taking on the husband’s surname post-marriage. Remember, in the not-so-distant past, a married woman was considered to be the property and had no legal rights. Of course, things have changed but most still take their husband’s name. With women working and bringing in the moolah, yes there is more equality in marriages today yet stereotypical gender roles tend to come out the longer that couples are married.
Related Reading: 20 things women do that kill their marriages
A woman is surely a force to be reckoned with because despite such drastic changes in her life after marriage she can survive, adapt and live a prosperous married life.