The adjustment from being single to being married can create feelings of loss and anxiety. Here’s how to cope.
The sudden change that comes after the honeymoon can be one of life’s most sobering moments. Some young couples describe this as “being hit in the face with a cold glass of water” or “being struck by lightning.”
Others express it this way:
“I feel like I’m on another planet, and I want to go home!”
“I miss being able to do what I want to do, when I want to do it.”
And here’s a favorite that marriage therapists hear often: “If two becoming one means that I disappear as a person, forget it!”
If you feel like this, don’t think you’re alone or that your situation is hopeless. The following quotations illustrate the fact that the adjustment period from aloneness to togetherness is often complex:
I figure that the degree of difficulty in combining two lives ranks somewhere between rerouting a hurricane and finding a parking place in downtown Manhattan.—Claire Cloninger
I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.—Rita Rudner
Many couples wonder how the blending of two personalities and sets of ambitions, desires, and dreams could ever be expected by a wise and all-knowing God! Trying to adjust from “freedom” to partnership can be difficult and exasperating — but it’s a process, not just a destination.
The Feelings are Normal
When we shift from being single to being married, we experience loss. Losing something leaves us feeling sad. But as we grow in our relationship with the person we committed to, the grief can turn to joy and contentment.
It’s common for young couples to experience various levels of “buyer’s remorse.” That was the case with Nicole and Ted.
Nicole had waited for many years to find the right man to spend the rest of her life with. At age 33, she met Ted. Within 13 months they were married in her hometown of Atlanta.
Though she was certain Ted was the man God had chosen for her, Nicole missed her independence. Often she felt sad, conflicted, confused — wondering whether she’d made the wrong decision about marriage. She loved Ted and was thankful for him, realizing she couldn’t have asked for a better man. But she struggled with having to give up her “alone time” and sense of freedom.
After praying, studying the Bible, and getting direction from Christian friends, Nicole began to see that her feelings were normal and that most people experience them. She accepted the responsibility of honoring the relationship God had given her with Ted. Each day she made conscious efforts to enjoy her relationship with her new husband in the fullest sense.
Though she occasionally needed time alone, Nicole learned to think in terms of two instead of one. When tempted to do her own thing at Ted’s expense, she resisted. When it would have been easy to plop down on the couch after a hard day’s work, she spent time with her husband first. Ted responded in a similar way, and their marriage developed into a bond filled with joy and intimacy.
That’s how closeness and biblical oneness develop in marriages in spite of selfish tendencies. Though challenging and often confusing, the transition from independence to interdependence is absolutely vital to your union.
From Focus on the Family’s Complete Guide to the First Five Years of Marriage, published by Tyndale. Copyright © 2006, Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.