Post-wedding Blues Are Dreadful And No One Warns You About It
‘We Just Got Married’. Photo BridesI didn’t plan my wedding myself, well not in the frenzied, goal obsessed way I see brides plan it these days. My husband and I worked at the same organization, and the policy was unclear about marriage within the business. Clutching this as our excuse and even though my husband was well on his way out of the organization, we planned and executed a ‘low-key’ wedding.
The traditional wedding was a big event that held in my hometown in the southeast of Nigeria, but because very few friends knew I was getting married, the list of people to impress dwindled to my parents and in-laws guests.
My aunt had local connections, and she negotiated on my behalf with the baker, decorator, band… My mum and mother-in-law took care of food vendors. We got back, had a court wedding and another quiet church ceremony.
So when a younger colleague asked if I felt sad right after my wedding and opined that married life was a little underwhelming with her words, ‘I am still in love with my husband, but I don’t know if how I feel is healthy’, I couldn’t help her until I had done some research on the issue. When I got married, I didn’t have the ordeal of being distracted with wedding planners calls during premarital counselling sessions, spending hundreds of hours on the internet searching for the perfect everything, overspending, over-planning or suspending reality because I was getting married. So I couldn’t relate to her experience.
Psychologist Emma Kenney, creator of sochal.com, says it’s a hugely common experience — so why did no one warn us? What people experience is what we call the post-wedding comedown or post-wedding blues. It is typified by boredom, sadness, lethargy, loneliness and isolation and a few other complex emotions.
The good news is that it’s not a singular story, its common. According to Jocelyn Charnas, a clinical psychologist and premarital counsellor.
“[It] happens when couples experience a period of a letdown following the excitement of planning the wedding.”
Here are a few reasons post-wedding blues happen:
Bisi has this to say of her post-wedding emotions. “I didn’t want to admit it, but I loved planning the wedding. I had a focus. I had a goal. I had a reason to go to the gym. Looking back, it’s hardly surprising that when that focus ended, it lost me. I’d got my time back, my life back. But what was I to do with it? ‘Bet you’re glad all the stress and planning is over, aren’t you?’ They repeatedly asked me. But no, actually I was miserable.” Abby, who got married in 2016 agrees: “Without a wedding to plan I realised I wasn’t happy, which is not something you’re expected to feel as you start your new married life!
When the laser focus is on the ‘perfect’ wedding
John who admits he and his wife spent so much time planning a perfect wedding has this to say, “I now know people should plan past the marriage. The plans should absolutely not stop on the wedding day, or on the honeymoon. You should plan what’s next for you as a couple. The next goals, the next hopes. Then you’re working together towards more exciting things.” He adds “it was a rude awakening to the reality that it’s “showtime”
No common enemy
Many couples encounter opposition when they decide they want to marry. Efe faced opposition when he decided to marry Seyi a woman 3 years older than him and from another tribe “We had to fight many battles to be together. Strangely, after the wedding, family members ceased to trouble us. Even my mum started getting along with her. But we found that having crossed that hurdle, being married didn’t make us happier, after some time we had to seek professional help.”
Janelle Obieroma, a relationship counsellor says “people genuinely think marriage will change their lives, but then they realise only their names change to husband/wife.” With her experience as a coach, she has learned that “there is nothing knowledge cannot help.” She also thinks many people don’t realise what a huge commitment marriage is — until they make it. So while the day-to-day doesn’t change, the big picture does.
What to do?
Talk to your partner about how you are feeling.
Be open to counselling by talking to premarital counsellors, you’re taking a proactive step in insuring the future of your relationship when you do this.
Make every day exciting and important
Subjectively, I would encourage you to be kind to yourself. Accept that this is a passing phase in life and don’t rush into things or make rash decisions to try and feel better immediately. Take your time.