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 counsellor and psychiatrist Dr Prashant Bhimani 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,” he says, listing one of the reasons for troubles cropping up after a commitment is made.
However, why do these differences occur and what can be done about it? 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 meddling, lay down rules and regulations and try to influence either of the partners, the marriage becomes a ground that is ripe for conflicts. In the dating or even living-in phase, strangely couples tend to be left alone to their devices. But post marriage things change.
Tip: Try and establish a good relation 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 put on his or her best behavior. They take special efforts at looking great, being witty and trying to hide their weaknesses.
The more you get used to your partner, the pretenses and facades drop. Love after marriage often changes because the effort to woo your partner is no longer there. You become 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.
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 guarantee that the relationship will last but it is tougher to break a marriage than it is to break a relationship.
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. When you are sure you want to be together, you move on the next phase – raising a family.
Tip: 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.
Priorities change. Buying a house, building assets and securing for a good future become important while you try to reduce expenses and the temptation to spend on each other. 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.
5. Sexual attraction fades
If you have heard often 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 and women.
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. The pulls and pressures of married life also takes a toll first on a couple’s sex life.
Tip: Be more adventurous in the bedroom. Look out for ways to please each other and maintain the joy in the relationship.
6. There is more adjustment
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 rise 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. At the back of their mind, they know they have to give it a shot whether they like it or not. It’s only when these fights increase 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. Love before marriage too 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.
After marriage, a lot of plans become common. Ambitions and desires need to be aligned as you are sharing a life with someone. You may require to be responsible for things you really think of earlier – housework, raising a family, sharing bills and so much more.
Tip: Do not fight responsibilities. Accept that you would need to take some of the burdens and problems of your partner on your shoulder too. True love means sharing responsibilities together.
8. Change in expectations
Perhaps the biggest difference in love before marriage and 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
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. You build a positive constructive image and play it on a loop.
But marriage and staying together for a long time teaches you to pay attention to the smaller aspects of the personality. 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 and learn to be more balanced in your approach.
Tip: Learn to hold on the positive outlook towards your partner you had before your marriage. Accept the negatives along with the positives for a long lasting relationship.
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.