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Dealing with post-wedding hangover

We’ve recently completed a consultation with a young couple that got married this past December. It’s the third couple with the similar issue that we’ve consulted with so far this year.

The story goes something like this…

You’ve poured all your energy and resources into your wedding for months that easily run into a year or two. You’ve been preoccupied that whole period with everything around the wedding, because it just had to be the wedding of your dreams. The stress, fears, anxieties of both stepping into the unknown territory of marriage, and whether everyone you’ve invited will in fact show up.

You’ve gone through all the motions of hiring, buying, renting, and returning everything imaginable. Then there was the caterer that prepared below average food, the photographer that was busy pulling electrical cords in the process of the ceremony, the DJ that started elsewhere before your wedding, an irritated Pastor that’s been waiting for three hours for the ceremony to start, the sound engineer whose microphone kept cutting and the uncle who had a little bit to drink before his speech at the wedding reception. As if that’s not enough, you still had to worry about what if someone actually speaks up when the Pastor asks the congregation for “anyone with reasons why these two should not be married”.

The apprehension, adrenalin and the risk of putting yourself out there by giving your life often to a virtual stranger, does get high.

And now, after all has been said and done, you’re feeling a little blue, because it all came to a sudden end. When you came back from the honeymoon to the regular life we all live, you’re often looking for that same excitement, and it’s not there. Living with someone you’re not used to, along with adopting a whole new family and life as a fully grown person can have its lows. And it’s not that you didn’t anticipate all this, but before the wedding, you thoroughly kept yourself busy.

You always had something to do, decisions to make, places to be, people to not only spend time with, but who were desperately trying to assist your every whim. And now it’s all over.

Whether you choose to admit it or not, wedding planning became your pastime. It’s really difficult to go back to the way it was before the engagement. Because you are a different person now.

Now is not the time to doubt whether you’ve made the right decision. Your irritability has nothing to do with your spouse. It’s just post-wedding hangover, an emotional response to the withdrawal many people experience after the intense high of saying “I do”. Don’t complicate life further by taking it out on your poor spouse. You still need to go through the normal adjustment of being with him that many couples go through in the first year. You’ll need that energy. There are ways of dealing with your hangover.

Search for other recently married couples
You or your spouse may have friends or people you know that recently got married. Or even better, a couple that’s been married longer than you that may have gone through the “after-wedding hangover.” They do exist. You’re not alone. Your current friends may have no clue what you’re going through and may in fact misdiagnose your withdrawals and end up making wrong decisions. If anything, they are probably so over talking about anything wedding related with you.

Plan small regular dinner get-togethers with few friends, host weekend braais, and plan to go visit your relatives for a weekend. Planning social events will bolster you from isolation and loneliness, which can lead to depression.

Go do couple things
You’re married now, so go out as a married couple. Do new things together. Things you didn’t do when you were engaged. Develop a hobby together, take walks along the beach, get a game you can play at home, go see a foreign film once a week, and then get a glass of wine at a tiny bar to discuss the screening. Do something new, just the two of you!

Consciously shift your perspective
It’s not be uncommon for two people in the same relationship to have different reactions to the same event. You may think: “I put everything into that wedding and now it’s over and it’s such a let-down. My life is so boring now and I have nothing to look forward to.” Your spouse on the other hand may think: “Our wedding was an exciting and rewarding experience and I am so fortunate to be married to my partner. We have our whole lives ahead of us”.

A shared purpose
One of the biggest sustaining factors for your marriage, beyond the wedding, is to have a common vision and goals as a couple. This gives you something to work towards for a lifetime. Without this, you’re likely to pull your marriage into different directions. And you don’t want that. You have to look at the wedding as just the beginning of your life together, not the climax. There are just too many amazing things to look forward to in marriage, like
date nights, anniversaries, buying a new home, decorating, travelling, having children and so on. All what a wedding is, is just a door into a whole life of marriage ahead.

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