Ashley’s "happily ever after" didn’t feel so happy.

Although she loved her new husband dearly, the first few months after their wedding were not the fairy-tale life she had imagined.

"It was a tough time for me because I had moved to a new city, far away from family and friends," Ashley says. "I did not have a job yet, and I was feeling very lonely. In fact, I spent most days watching our wedding video and crying."

Understanding post-wedding blues

Ashley’s story has become so common that the term post-wedding blues has been coined to describe the short-term depression that often afflicts newlyweds. Some women – and to a lesser degree, some men – feel an emotional plunge after the buildup and excitement of their wedding ceremony. "I went from being a beautiful bride to a boring old wife," Ashley says.

This disenchantment happens for many reasons. Some brides have fantasized about their wedding day since they were little girls but have given little thought to their married life afterward. They may begin to experience the financial reality of their new life as they pay for wedding expenses, living costs and more. In addition, the bride and groom are usually running on adrenaline before the wedding and physically crash after it.

The temporary unhappiness some newlyweds feel can also be attributed to a sense of loss. No matter how wonderful their new marriage may be, husbands and wives have to let go of the single life and start a new chapter as a couple. The finality of their decision sets in, and they may face fears or doubts about their new life with their spouse.

How to pull through

If you’ve been hit with the post-wedding blues, perhaps the following suggestions can help pull you through:

Find a mentor

People often experience guilt for having negative thoughts or less-than-blissful feelings after their wedding. Seek an older, godly mentor or counsellor who understands your emotions. This person can help you shed the guilt and examine the unrealistic expectations you may have for marriage. Then you and your spouse can work on relevant relationship issues that are not based on unspoken or childhood assumptions.

Discover a new vision

Ask God to reveal His purpose for your life and show you opportunities to serve others. The post-wedding blues last longer when you focus on yourself. To lessen their hold, turn outward to help others instead of turning inward to wallow in self-pity.

Set goals together

Moving from point A (singleness) to point B (married life) takes time. Although your marriage may not resemble the happily ever after you’ve always dreamed about, you can build a rich and fulfilling life with your spouse. Create a mission statement for your new life together. Write short-term and long-range plans for your home, marriage and health. When you focus on things you both want to do, hope for the future is often renewed

Give yourself permission to cry

During a dramatic life change, feelings of uncertainty and sadness are normal. It’s OK to cry – alone or with your spouse.

Some emotions come as a result of exhaustion and are not an accurate reflection of your level of marital bliss. Set aside time to pray and rest. Take comfort in God; He can be your rock and strength during this transition.

Emily Osburne and her husband lead marriage workshops for young couples.

© 2009 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

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