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By the time you got married, you knew your partner through-and-through. But, according to our experts, a few things are still bound to take you by surprise after the big day. “Most people underestimate how the commitment to marriage changes their relationship, even if you lived together beforehand,” says Lesli Doares, marriage coach and author of Blueprint For A Lasting Marriage.
What might those shocking revelations be? Here are four things that could take you by surprise in your first month of marriage, according to our experts.
1. You’ve got expectations about one another’s roles.
Before you tied the knot, your relationship may have felt equal. But after the ninth time you’ve taken out the trash without any help, you may start to feel an imbalance, Doares says. “Both partners carry expectations about what it means to be a wife and husband,” she says. “Most of the time, couples are completely unaware they have them, but they form the lens they now look at each other through.” And because these expectations are often based on what you witnessed growing up, Doares says, you may be surprised to see history repeating itself in your own relationship.
2. Your spouse handles money differently than you expected.
Most couples don’t join their bank accounts or give one another an all-access pass to their money until after marriage. “Decisions that used to be made individually are now joint ones,” says Doares, who adds you might be shocked to hear your spouse make a case for a new TV but complain about shelling out for a weeklong vacation. “What is important to one may seem unimportant to the other,” she says, “and this can make for some surprising interactions.”
3. Your friendships and family relationships may change.
According to Toni Coleman, psychotherapist and relationship coach, couples become their own family unit after they tie the knot, sometimes becoming more isolated than they were before. “Once married, couples often feel that they need to make their spouse a priority, checking with him or her before making plans or spending too much time out with others,” she says. Family relationships may also shift. Coleman says that some couples feel like they should no longer talk about their relationships with family. Or, “they may expect their spouse to spend more time with their family,” Coleman says.
4. How quickly the real world takes hold of your life.
Says Doares, “Once the big day is passed, with all of its focus, it’s easy to take your eyes off of each other.” Many couples are surprised to find they lose touch with one another, and let other things take a priority over their partners. “Couples often start being less polite and appreciative of each other as their focus shifts,” Doares says.