News Flash: Marriage Doesn’t Change You Unless You Let It

While some of us are still navigating their way through the wild world of dating, others are starting to settle down (not settling”there’s a difference). Whether you’re moving in with your significant other or getting ready to take the plunge and walk down the aisle, there comes a time in every relationship where you have to make serious sacrifices and compromises and hope that at the stage you’re at, it won’t break you, but just make you stronger. As someone who recently got married (I’m not old, we were just together a long time and we’re at “that stage”), one of the biggest questions I’ve gotten since returning from my honeymoon: do you feel any different? The short answer: no.

One of the biggest misconceptions that our generation has on marriage is that it’s going to change you in some profound and frustrating way, but I’m here to tell you it won’t, unless you let it, of course.

There’s no rule that states that when you get hitched that you automatically become this “wife” in the most negative sense of the word. That all of a sudden you can’t go out or go drinking or go on vacation with just your girls. And it most certainly doesn’t mean you need to start procreating right away (or at all, for that matter).

Hopefully by the time you and your person decide to get married, you’ve gotten to know each other well enough and have accepted each other completely. If you have, then marriage isn’t what’s going to change you, the idea that you can change someone is what’s going to change you.

If you’ve ever been in a long-term relationship, you know that things do change, sometimes the sex slows down and other factors, such as moving in together, dealing with serious issues or combining your finances can have an affect on your relationship. But, hopefully, by the time you say your “I dos,” all that has been figured out. Not everyone can live together before marriage (if you can, I highly recommend it), but there are some things that you need to get sorted out before you make it legal. Yes, divorce is an option, but who wants to go into that phase of their life with a plan B?

Admittedly, when approaching my wedding, I was dreading being called a wife. When you become someone’s wife, it’s implied that you’re their property and that there are certain expectations that weren’t there before (namely, becoming a mother and taking care of your husband). While I do eventually (very eventually) want kids and have no problem taking care of my now-husband (because he also takes care of me), I hated the thought that this new title could alter who I am as an individual, that it could somehow take away from who I’ve been as a person for the last 28 years. Then I realized that nothing can change who I am unless I want it to. Sure, I’ve gone from girlfriend to fiancé©e to wife in the span of a year and a half, but I’m still the career-driven, Netflix-loving, occasional party girl that I always was and that’s how it should be. And as a couple, we still go on dates and have sex (without the intention of getting pregnant) and hang out with our friends because that’s what we’ve always done and will continue to do.

So when people ask if it’s different now that we’re married, no, it isn’t. We’re still us, partially because we treated our wedding as a big party that was making our already-awesome relationship legit, but partially because of all the things that’s going to change us, our new marriage isn’t it.

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