David Dsouza, a standup comic based in Dubai and the woman of his dreams Kareen (names changed) were an ideal couple. A love story that had plenty of twists and turns, they were truly “couple goals”, with a very public affair and a grand proposal in front of around 400 people during a live show. An equally grand wedding followed. Unfortunately, their love after marriage did not carry the same ardor.
Long story short, they were separated within a year. “It just didn’t work out. Love after marriage is so different from love before marriage!” says David. “Our ambitions differed, habits seemed opposite and life goals changed. It just didn’t seem feasible to stay together.”
It is a story that is all too familiar. Couples declaring undying love for one another, going through trials and tribulations to get married find that love flies out of the window soon after they exchange vows. But is there a reason why love disappears after marriage? Why can’t feelings remain the same even if the situation changes? We asked counselor and psychiatrist Dr. Prashant Bhimani (Ph.D., BAMS) for some insights into this rather perplexing journey of relationships.
Love After Marriage — 9 Ways It Is Different From Love Before Marriage
According to Dr. Bhimani, love after marriage is different because of differing expectations and reality. “Whenever there is a mismatch between what you expect and what you get, the result is stress and it takes a toll on the strongest of relationships. That’s why there is a distinction between love before marriage vs. love after marriage” he says, listing one of the reasons for troubles cropping up after a lifelong commitment is made.
Life after the wedding cannot be the same. However, why do these differences occur and what can be done about it? What happens in the life of a girl before and after marriage? Here are nine ways in which relationships change before and after a couple says, ‘We Do’, as enumerated by Dr. Bhimani.
Related Reading: Dating For Marriage? 11 Important Things You Should Be Prepared For
1. The involvement of families
When you get married, the involvement of families is but natural. Matters never do really remain between the two of you. Even in relationships where couples lead supremely independent lives and have the freedom to make their own decisions and choices, families – his and hers – will have a say.
In successful love after marriage stories, cooperation by families play an important role. But if the families turn out to be meddlesome, laying down rules and regulations, trying to influence either of the partners, then the marriage becomes ripe for conflicts. In the dating or even living-in phase, couples tend to be left to their own devices. But post marriage things change.
Tip: Try and establish a good relationship with the family of your beau before the wedding so that things don’t seem to drastically change after it.
2. You tend to become a bit careless
The 10th date is not like the first date. In the initial stages of a relationship, a man and woman are on their best behavior. They take special efforts at looking great, being charming and trying to hide their weaknesses. But love changes after marriage and we will tell you how.
The more you get used to your partner, the pretenses and facades drop. You start becoming more comfortable in your natural state. Eating crumbs of chips off your shirt, kissing them without brushing your teeth — the whole enchilada. Since time has passed and one is not worried about ‘losing’ their partner anymore, one eases into a more normal routine where they act more like themselves.
Love after marriage often changes because the effort to woo your partner is no longer there. You revert to your natural self as you no longer need to ‘impress’ your better half. This kind of comfort level is great, but the less effort you put, the sooner the attraction fades. So even though it’s good that you feel easy around them and can be your best self, there is a fine line before that quickly turns into a dullness.
Tip: Even if you are married, plan surprises, date nights and gifts. Do simple things to keep the spark alive.
3. Love seems more secure
The adrenalin rush might give way to a warm, fuzzy and comfortable feeling after you marry the love of your life. Marriage is a huge commitment and brings about a certain sense of security. Of course, it is not a guarantee that the relationship will last, but it is tougher to break a marriage than it is to break a relationship. So one feels like they’ve made achieved something massive after due persistence and effort, and have thus finally won the woman or man of their dreams.
Love after marriage therefore, brings with it a certain surety and promise of a long-term association. If the relationship is strong, it can lead to contentment and happiness. That’s the main thing about the qualities of a relationship before and after marriage. There’s only more and more connectedness to look forward to. When you are sure you want to be together, you move on the next phase – raising a family.
Tip: Does love last after marriage? Of course it does. Build on the secure feeling to cement your bond further and take your relationship to the next level with the aim to grow together as a couple.
4. The purpose of money is different
Like it or not, money plays its part in the success of a relationship. Love before marriage means you splurge on each other with gifts, vacations and what not. Once you are together, these very things may seem to be frivolous as you try to build a life together. Remember when he’d send you a rose everyday to your desk at work? Yeah, that might stop happening once you two are married. Or remember the time she bought you that watch that cost half her monthly paycheck on your birthday? Well maybe this year, you’ll have to do with a home-cooked brisket and that’s it.
Priorities change and that’s when the changes between love before marriage vs love after marriage start showing. Buying a house, building assets and securing yourselves for a good future become important while you try to reduce expenses and the temptation to spend on each other. Earlier, all the money was to splurge, impress and enjoy. Now it’s more about stability. Money issues can ruin a relationship, if not handled well.
Tip: Try and get your partner on the same page with regards to matters of investment and spending. Or at least reach a mid-point where you agree on most parts. Be open and clear about your spending habits.
5. Sexual attraction fades
Oops! This is perhaps the most difficult thing about how love changes after marriage. Buckle up, because you might not want to hear this one. If you have heard that guys change after marriage, it mostly refers to their sexual attraction. A lot of factors may impact the sex drive, most notably stress, boredom, the mundane routine of married life and so on. The lack of interest in sex is seen equally in men as well as women, so let’s not point fingers at either gender too quickly.
It may be difficult to retain the same sexual attraction for a long time for a single partner which is why it is necessary to invest in your relationship regardless of the time you spend with each other. Earlier the thrill, the passion and the excitement was something else. But now that you crash in the same bed everyday after a long day at work, an undercooked dinner and dishes that you’ve blown off for tomorrow — the sex might just suffer. The pulls and pressures of married life do often take a toll on a couple’s sex life and may even lead to a sexless marriage if not addressed.
Tip: Be more adventurous in the bedroom. Look out for ways to pleasure each other and maintain the joy in the relationship.
6. There is more adjustment
The biggest relationship and marriage difference after the vows have been made, is this one. So pay close attention. Earlier, fights used to be petty. But now things are different. Your outlook towards conflicts changes after marriage and more so, after a child or two. During the dating phase, couples are generally less tolerant of each other. Agreed, conflicts may not arise too often as it is the pre-married phase but in long-term relationships fights do creep in.
Related Reading: The Top 3 Reasons Why A Couple Fights About The Same Things
If however, the same argument rises after marriage, a couple is usually willing to give each other a chance especially in the initial years. Simply because, walking out isn’t an option, so it’s much smarter to just stay and make things work. At the back of their mind, they know they have to give it a shot whether they like it or not since this is someone they’ve chosen to be their life partner. It’s only when these fights increase and become recurring, that the thought of separation comes in.
Tip: Fights and arguments will take place but have an attitude of adjustment and compromise for the sake of keeping the relationship alive, as far as possible.
7. Increased responsibilities impact love
If you do not want love to reduce after marriage, learn to accept responsibilities that come with it. Love before marriage also brings its own pressures, but in this case, decisions can be unilateral and you do not feel responsible for your partner’s life and plans. So if you’re thinking about what are the differences in the life of a girl before and after marriage? It may be that she has to align all her goals with that of her husband’s.
After marriage, a lot of plans become common and need to follow the same trajectory. Ambitions and desires need to be aligned as you are sharing a life with someone. You may be required to be more responsible for things you rarely thought of earlier – housework, raising a family, sharing bills and so much more. Whatever you choose to do, you must do it together. You can’t simply take up a job 500 miles from home because you want to. You need to run it by your partner and arrive at a decision.
Tip: Do not fight responsibilities, because that is a part of how love changes after marriage. Accept that you would need to take some of the burdens and problems of your partner on your shoulders too. True love means sharing responsibilities together.
8. Change in expectations
A relationship before and after marriage undergoes a massive change in expectations. Perhaps the biggest difference in love before marriage vs love after marriage lies in managing expectations. When you fall in love, the other person becomes the center of your universe. You often have more expectations from yourself than your partner, resulting in positive feelings all along.
Once you are married, automatically, the burden of living up to expectations is passed on to your partner. You often expect your partner to understand you perfectly and behave accordingly since you believe s/he knew you before the marriage.
Tip: Remember that however well you know each other, your partner is a different person with a different upbringing and understanding of life. Scale down your expectations about yourself and him/her.
9. Loving the small aspects
Does love last after marriage? Yes, absolutely. Ask all the old married couples who still hold hands when they go on walks and can’t go to bed without kissing each other ‘good night’. When you get attracted to someone, you are usually looking at his or her special qualities and talents. Your focus is entirely on what is special about them or things that really stand out. You build a positive, constructive image and play it on loop.
But marriage and staying together for a long time teaches you to pay attention to the smaller aspects of the personality. The tiny details you did not bother to notice before. You may or may not like everything that you see but a lot of facets that were consciously or unconsciously hidden from you come to the fore. You learn to appreciate the smaller points, understand them better because of them and learn to be more balanced in your approach.
Tip: Learn to hold on to the positive outlook towards your partner that you had before your marriage. Accept the negatives along with the positives for a long lasting relationship.
When it comes to love after marriage, romance books may eulogize the wedding and all that comes thereafter. However, life is a mixed bag and the only way to move forward is to have a clear understanding and acceptance of what marriage is, the sacrifices and understanding that is needed to keep a relationship going. And most importantly, the willingness to give as much as you are willing to take.