Everyone knows marriage is hard.
After you’ve finally paid off all the bills from your wedding day, you’ll start to get into a groove where you find yourself fostering a new type of a relationship together — one more serious and connected than when you were just dating. But one thing not too many people know is, after you get married, your mind and your body can change drastically. Since you’re no longer on the hunt to find someone who wants to settle down in a relationship with you, the way you approach day-to-day life (when it comes to your thought process, eating habits and even overall anxieties and fears) begins to flow down a different path. If you’re wondering what is going to happen to your mind and body when you’re married, here are some answers from five doctors and psychologists.
1. You can get a dad bod.
We’ve all laughed at the term “dad bod,” but according to doctors and scientists, it’s actually a real thing that happens. According to Dawn Maslar, author of “Men Chase, Women Choose,” when a man commits to a woman, bodily changes occur. She says, A Harvard study found that when a man commits to a woman, his testosterone drops. This causes changes in his body, particularly muscle mass and body fat. This is what can lead to the ‘dad bod.’ Testosterone builds muscles, so with less testosterone, you tend to have less muscle and burn fewer calories. This causes more fat to be stored, usually around the belly. Which means if you’re marrying for looks, you might want to look for a different reason to settle down with someone forever. Everyone’s body changes.
2. You’re not as stressed.
One of the more positive aspects of marriage is that it can actually reduce your stress levels. Sounds too good to be true, right? Dr. Ritu Trivedi-Purohit, PsyD, says, In healthy marriages, couples find that their love transitions from high-intensity, passionate love to a deeper, compassionate love over the course of a few years. Intense love can be stressful on the mind and body (sending your heart racing and muddling thoughts); however, over time, deeper love can protect partners against stress.
Love hormones oxytocin and vasopressin are released in the brain helping us bond with our partners over time. This fact alone is what may keep us all pushing through the stressful moments of online dating or dating IRL: so we can finally settle down with someone who keeps our brains in check and releases hormones that make us feel chill.
3. Life can be longer.
No, that doesn’t say “life will feel longer” once you’re married. Being in a tight-knit relationship with someone may actually increase the years you have on this planet. “Speculation is that couples encourage each other to eat better, exercise, keep doctor appointments and do what the doctor says,” says Dr. Ben Michaelis, PhD.
He continues, “Socializing together is also good for mental and physical health. The comfort of having a trusted, reliable partner creates endorphins that are healing influences in the body. As people age in marriage, having a partner who knows you well can help you live longer and be happier.”
Note to self: Find a person whom I love hardcore enough to ditch the pizza for the healthy veggies in our mutual quest to live until we are 100 years old together.
4. The weight can pile on.
You may have found yourself working double time to get in shape before the wedding and eating healthy while you were dating so you could impress the person you were with. But Anjhula Mya Singh Bais, who has a PhD in international psychology, says weight gain is common after a marriage: I do know many couples who feel a sense of safety and true belonging after marriage, and this manifests itself in weight gain as a result of cooking and eating meals together, as a result of sharing daily life and being comfortable with one another in all forms. The positive in this tip is entering the full-blown comfort zone with another human being. You can finally ditch the show you put on for someone you’ve just started dating and desperately want to impress. I’ll take an expanding waistline as long as I can get away with not hiding my post-Indian food burps from my significant other. 5. You can lose anxiety. While marriage may seem scary with many ups and downs (especially during the first few years), it is a bond that should ultimately make you feel more comfortable inside and out. Tyra Gardner, a therapist who specializes in relationship therapy, says marriage is a transition that can change your mindset for the better: Mindset change is big in marriage because the way you think changes in regards to referring from ‘I’ to ‘we.’ Couples become comfortable with themselves mentally and physically and [see] a decrease in anxiety about relationships.
If there’s one reason I’m mildly excited about hopefully getting married in the distant future, it is because I’ll (fingers crossed) never have to go on a dating app ever again. I’ll never have to care about how my profile looks or waste hours wondering what to message a guy back who just said, “Hey, sup?”
This article was originally published on Elite Daily