Very glad to have a new guest blogger in Vincent Matinde. In this article Vincent and his wife Ann tackle the subject of post wedding depression based on their personal experience. Enjoy and stay blessed.
I stood in the middle of darkness watching my wife sleep. It was still uncanny that I had tied the knot and now I shouldered more responsibilities than my own. But there was something else nagging me.
‘What have I done?’ was the question that repeated itself time and time again. I had just completed the most successful wedding of the century, I thought, but a strong ‘buyer’s remorse’ started to hit me, days after the honeymoon.
Many similar nights passed by, questioning myself if I had done the right thing or I had chained myself to a decision I could not free myself from. I did love my wife and she did fill my life with joy, but this strange feeling did not depart.
My wife did not know this. After all, we were the ‘newest couple in town’. I was getting distressed and I did not know it.
We planned our own wedding and successfully financed it and we were convinced that God was guiding us through this. In the months heading to our wedding, we were in the thick of things that we probably forgot that ‘we were getting married to each other’ and our heads were on the wedding day.
It was about calling this service provider, planning to visit another service provider, talking about our traditional obligations, sitting down to do our budget and so on. Don’t get me wrong, planning our wedding was one of the best decisions we made – story for another day.
For my wife, Anne, the first few weeks into the marriage, she had no idea how to ‘behave’ like a wife. Suddenly all the theories in the movies and young adult talks had morphed into a practical and she did not know where to begin.
The pressure she had was, how to ensure meals are prepared to exception, ensure the new husband feels like a king and figure out where ‘submission’ fits in all of these things.
She started being anxious and that turned into a quiet non-spoken despondency. She did not know where to start.
A lot of couples face the same issues in their marriage. Even some have been too intense that it has resulted in a three month marriage. We did not know what was happening to us, or if other couples felt it. We did not even reveal this to each other.
I struggled for months, thinking I had made a grave mistake. Who is this stranger in my house and is it true my freedom is totally gone? My life had changed visibly, but I felt the same old guy.
But on the outside, we were doing well. We had gotten what ‘all’ single people long for.
Well, time passed on and those feelings withered away as we got comfortable with ourselves. I got to know her much better as we shared more time together. All the trumped up obligations she imagined did not materialize as she thought.
However, we did not ever speak of what we had gone through earlier.
Three years later, and I finally confessed of the demons I was fighting in those initial months. She also opened up and said she was also distressed with the imaginary weight on her shoulders to be the ‘perfect wife’ or the ‘proverbs 31 wife’.
That is when we knew we had gone through the post-marital depression.
What is Post-marital or post-marriage depression?
Some analysts call it the wedding blues. Sounds a bit simple, but many have ended their young marriages on this and probably did not know about it. Add it on to other unresolved issues and colourful weddings have ended up in divorce courts.
Aspiring brides and grooms need to be aware of this silent marriage killer and tackle it head on. Personally I feel that it is a natural progression after the hustle and bustle of the wedding phase, that when it is over, there is little to chase as a couple.
For many months and even years, the goal has been to plan a wedding not a marriage.
Life begins after the celebrations. Dealing with each other, finding compromises, the small nitty gritty that you did not expect start showing up all over.
But for others is the discovery of the real person in their spouses. What they saw is not what they get.
In as much as newlywed couples need their space right after a wedding, the supporting couple and friends should not entirely leave them on their own. Open up spaces and opportunity to examine how the newlyweds are doing.
For the new entrants into marriage, it is not a shame to say you are struggling in an area, even if it seems petty. Speak it out of love and involve a confidential third party to walk with you.
And for those who are reading this and aspire to get into marriage, be aware of this feeling. It is natural to doubt if you had made the wrong move, but now you are in it, make it work.