From Girlfriend to Bride readers dish on what making the leap of faith is really like.

Wondering what to expect from married life now that you’re engaged? Read what these brides had to say about the transition from girlfriend to fiancé and finally wife!from girlfriend to bride

“We were together for 15 years before we were married, and we considered ourselves a fully committed couple. But I was surprised by how much more committed I felt after marriage. I think part of it was that people’s attitudes toward us changed; it was as if we’d never been seen as a ‘real’ couple before. Once we fit into that category, everyone seemed to “get” us better!”
—Rachel, Scarsdale, NY

“At first, it was hard to get used to the idea that my money wasn’t necessarily just mine anymore, and that I was going to have to manage it better, share and save! But now I’d say that I actually love our joint bank account. It’s what we’ve set up to pay our bills and save for the future. Each month we enjoy looking at the amount we’ve been able to put away together. It’s fun seeing something tangible that we’ve accomplished as a couple.”
—Megan, Livingston, NJ

“Activities that my husband used to do solo or with other guys are now my responsibility. For example, he’s a sci-fi geek and I’m expected to watch Star Gate with him.”
—Tamara, Denver

“I’d lived alone for ten years before getting married. On my last couple of nights in my bachelorette condo, I kept thinking how much I would miss my freedom. Now, while I still cherish my autonomy, I get lonely when my husband is on a business trip or out late with the guys.”
—Annabella, Newton, MA

“Job security is not as much of a concern for me now. My husband and I are in it together, and I know that if something happens, I’ll have my partner to fall back on.”
—Liz, Chatham, NY

“Sleeping becomes more of an adventure. There’s the romantic notion of spending the night cuddling together, but after you’re married, it’s more like flying elbows and legs. There’s snoring and incoherent talking in one’s sleep. (After a while, you learn to appreciate a business trip and a truly great night’s sleep all by yourself!) Fortunately, falling asleep and waking up beside the one you love makes it all worthwhile.”
—Robin, Fayetteville, NC

“The best thing is that my husband has started to cook. He definitely takes the lead in the kitchen, and he seeks out new recipes online to try out. (Now if only he’d become as interested in cleaning up!)”
—Ranee, Apple Valley, MN

“The biggest change was how much we both had to compromise for holidays. We’re in Atlanta and my large extended family is in Southern California while his is in the Bay Area. Everyone wants you there for the holidays. When we were dating, my family took priority, but now we’ve learned to equalize things. It can be a bit hectic, but it’s working.”
—Vicki, Atlanta

“Ironically, I found that marriage made us both secure enough to spend more time pursuing our own interests and careers. As singles, we were more likely to spend all our time together; now that we have a solid foundation we’re taking more productive steps in other aspects of our lives.”
—Jennafer, Philadelphia

“When I got married, I had to get used to the fact that I no longer had to do everything. My husband would offer to clean or do laundry, and I would say, ‘No, I’ll do it.’ When I finally let him help, I was amazed at how great (and how much easier!) it was to be a team. I never thought I’d let go of my controlling tendencies, but I did.”
—Robin, Fayetteville, NC

“The biggest change for me was becoming our own family. Suddenly, what was best for us—not for our extended families—came first. It’s all about my husband and me making decisions that work for us. This can still be hard for me at times, but our decisions are not based on pleasing our families.”
—Jessica, Los Angeles

“I can easily say I am no longer the crazy party girl who used to dance on tables. Since I have been married I have no desire to do that.”
—Lori, Teaneck, NJ

“As a single woman, I was pretty open with my girlfriends about all aspects of my relationship, including arguments, sex, gripes, etc. But after we got married, I became much more protective of our relationship. It’s as though a lot of things have become more private. Now, if my husband and I argue, I’ll discuss our issues with him before I’ll think of confiding in others. What has really surprised me is that I often find that once the two of us talk things over, I no longer need to turn to other people.”
—Beverly, Los Angeles

“Your money and his money become ‘our money.’ That means shopping isn’t the same as it was before we got married because I have to discuss and think more carefully about purchases before I make them.”
—Liz, Chatham, NY

“Suddenly our entire social life is up to me. My husband used to make dinner reservations, but now he acts completely helpless unless I schedule and plan everything.”
—Michelle, New York City