Making the Transition to Marriage

If you're secretly worried about giving up the single life-the digs, the name, the freedom-you're not alone. Here, how to handle the shift from Ms. to Mrs.

transition to marriageThe morning after Elizabeth Evans* got engaged, she did not want to get out of bed. Although the 29-year-old Boston bride was delighted to have accepted her boyfriend's proposal, she says, "I did not want to face anyone. I was afraid I wasn't ‘me' anymore." Marital jitters? That doesn't fully describe Elizabeth's feelings. For her, it felt more like tremors, and they were all the more upsetting because she really, truly wanted to get married. So what was the problem?

In all the fairy tales—not to mention all the movies and all the TV shows—brides-to-be are unequivocally happy. But most women experience premarital worries and woes as they navigate the tricky transition from single life to married life. After all, your psyche is absorbing a major life change. Dalma Heyn, the author of Marriage Shock: The Transformation of Women Into Wives (Villard), says that becoming a wife is one of the three most dramatic changes in a woman's life. "It commands as profound an adjustment, both psychologically and emotionally, as her earlier transition into puberty did and as motherhood undoubtedly will."

Call it growing pains, then. But as marriage experts tell us, we can prosper in marriage despite our aching relationship muscles. We've laid out four growing pains associated with the transition to marriage, each of which can be soothed, given time and the balm of love that empowered us to say "I will" in the first place.