After the dress is packed away and the flowers are preserved

Now what?

Here’s a little something I’ve never thought about before: post-wedding blues. AKA post-nuptial depression and post-bridal depression. According to relationship psychotherapist Paula Hall, one in ten new brides is so disturbed by the anticlimax of married life that they end up clinically depressed.

Many people find the early months of marriage are full of differences of opinion. Both partners want to make sure things are right from the start, and often trivial issues get blown out of proportion.

Most problems revolve around different expectations of what being married actually means. One partner might look forward to lots of cozy evenings in, while the other wants to spend more time focusing on their career.

I imagine, however, that the sense of disillusionment that some brides experience after the top of the cake has been stashed in the freezer and the wedding gifts have been put away might have something with the inevitable shift of focus. For a year or more, many brides devote themselves wholeheartedly to the wedding. The reception. The dress. The attendants. The flowers. And so on. Once all the pomp and glamour is over, real life can look kind of drab and dull.

So what’s a former bride to do? Women’s Life recommends that they:

  • Know that you are not alone in your feelings and that they are a normal reaction to a huge change in your life
  • Discuss your feelings of loss with your partner. Don’t feel guilty about them or try to hide them. Chances are that he feels the same as you. By being open and honest you can support one another through this transition
  • Be realistic in your expectations about marriage. Building a life together takes time. Don’t try to get the same connection with your partner that your grandma and granddad have after 50 years of marriage. Nothing about married life is instant
  • Don’t feel obligated to spend all of your free time with your new husband. Remember that you had your own life and interests before the marriage and your husband liked you because of this
  • Start to focus your energy on something that you were interested in before the wedding, but did not get round to doing, for example taking up a new sport

Focus on something new, huh? Like having babies? KIDDING, KIDDING!

3 Responses to “After the dress is packed away and the flowers are preserved”

  1. Kai Jones says:

    I think what contributed to this the most is that planning a wedding is a project with a completion date, while building a marriage is an open-ended project with no specific evaluation period, and you can’t tell when, if ever, you’ve reached the goal.

  2. jenny says:

    I read a line in “The Enchanted April” last night that expresses this fairly universal feeling of anticlimax very well:

    “After those early painful attempts to hold him up to the point from which they had hand in hand so spendidly started, attempts in which she herself had got terribly hurt and the Frederick she supposed she had married was mangled out of recognition, she hung him up finally by her bedside as the chief subjet of her prayers…”

  3. angie says: