So the honeymoon is over. You’ve had the wedding, gone on that once in a lifetime honeymoon destination together, set up house, done all the lovey-dovey things, and now you’re over it and you realise that the honeymoon is over.
But this most certainly does not mean that it’s the beginning of the end. It could be the beginning of the best years of your life.
It’s Less Tiring
Whilst it’s undeniable that the honeymoon phase of every marriage is exciting and the fulfillment of our romantic fantasies, the reality is that sustaining this level of an emotional high is exhausting. It’s like the 100 metre sprint. It’s only sustainable for 100 metres, after that, if you keep trying to keep to that speed, you’re likely to collapse and pass out.
If you think of it, marriage is more of a long distance run. You need to keep your eyes on the prize at the end and you need to be able to stay committed and focused, and finally you need to pace yourself so that you will have the reserves to weather the unexpected and to support each other when you need to.
So, the end of those extravagant gestures, intense moments and exclusive focus on one another is not a bad thing. It simply means that you are secure enough in each other and able to look towards achieving more together.
You are More Relaxed
In the beginning of the relationship there will be lots of tension. Internal ones as you question whether or not you are with the right person, if you are ready for a commitment and if you really think that you have the ability to make your partner happy. External ones as you navigate the integration of both your families, and understand if your values and your partner’s values and expectations are compatible. All of this tends to result in a great deal of anxiety and stress. The break-ups are intense, and so are the make-ups.
However, once you have answered all those questions about commitment, compatibility and compromise, you’re past that first stage. The stress drops, and you feel more relaxed around each other.
You are Both Yourselves, and It’s Still Good
In the beginning of a relationship, you dress yourself up, you try to look good at all times, and your try really hard to be amusing, fun, exciting and the perfect person for each other. There is an element of uncertainty and performance around all your efforts. But when you finally find someone with whom you want to spend the rest of your life with and you feel secure in your love for each other, then you start to let your hair down.
You start to be more comfortable around each other. You don’t feel the need to wake up 1 hour earlier to get your hair done just right, or to say that honestly, you feel tired and would rather stay home, watch tv and order a pizza than go out to a fancy restaurant for dinner. And guess what? If you are over the first honeymoon phase, and if you truly are secure in your love for each other, yours spouse will probably agree with you!
When you get to this stage, congratulations! You have managed to make it past the “idealisation” phase of your relationship. In the beginning, you may try to be the “ideal” spouse, but eventually, you will find that who you are as a person is already ideal and that you don’t have to be someone else to make your spouse happy.
You Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
The early years of a marriage are often fraught with uncertainty because you don’t really know each other that well. You worry about making mistakes or looking silly because you don’t know what your partner or spouse is really thinking.
As time goes by, you start to understand what’s really important to each of you. Knowing what your shared values are means that you will know how to avoid making the types of mistakes which really hurt each other and your relationship. When that happens, and if you can stay true to your values, then you’ll know that when you make mistakes that it’s not the end of the world. You’ll be able to see past the little imperfections which are part of all of us.
The end of the honeymoon is not the end of your relationship, it’s the beginning of your marriage.
Moving away from the emotional intensity, stress and uncertainty of the honeymoon phase gives your relationship the space to grow and develop into something stronger and more resilient.