It happens to nearly every newlywed. Sometime after the garter’s been tossed and all traces of your (faux) honeymoon tan have vanished, you realize you spent so much time preparing to get married that you haven’t thought much about being married. Even if you were living together before you tied the knot, there are bound to be some surprises over the next 365 days. Here are 10 you may want to prepare for:


1. You might feel like a kid playing grown-up.
You relished the way the words my fiance felt rolling off your tongue, and found occasion to drop them into every possible conversation. (“Oh, just picking up some beer for my fiance…”) It turns out their replacement—my husband—feels even more magical in your mouth. Still, you may find yourself glancing over your shoulder to see if someone is going to bust you for pretending to be married.

2. You’ll feel as if you are forgetting something all the time.
Just a few weeks ago, roughly 70 percent of your brain space was dedicated to wedding-related details and minutiae. With no seating chart to arrange or bridesmaids to wrangle, many new brides feel a little lost, and some may even suffer a touch of post-party depression. The good news? Now you get to plan your life together, and that, you’ll learn, is actually the most fun of all.

3. The baby hints will start immediately.
Your wedding dress won’t even be back from the cleaners before eager breeders start racing ahead to the next big question: “So, are you guys trying yet?” Since the question itself is incredibly rude, feel free to respond in kind: “Well, we are having nonstop sex, but whether we’re using birth control really isn’t any of your business.” And remember: It’s up to you and your hubby to decide when and if you’re ready to have kids—but know there’s really no such thing as ready.

4. You will fight and make up – (again and again).
Not the sparring type, you say? Trust us: The blending of two lives can ruffle even the most stoic feathers. He’ll leave his gym clothes on the floor too many times; your manic apartment-fluffing before guests arrive will drive him nuts. You may even hurl a few ugly insults at each other. But know that each time you work through a spat and come back together, your bond will grow stronger. In the heat of the moment, remember to take deep breaths, count to 10, and think of all that fabulous makeup sex in your near future.

5. Your relationship with your in-laws is a marathon, not a sprint.
For better or worse, your husband’s parents are in your life for the long haul. Your mother-in-law may drive you crazy with unsolicited decorating advice (“Sweetie, I just found the perfect drapes for you!”), but know that you don’t have to take that advice. The key is gentle management: “Thank you so much! I’d love to consider them.” Combine love and appreciation with clear-cut boundaries and you’re on your way to a healthy long-term relationship.

6. You might miss your mom.
Although it’s been years since you lived with her, don’t be surprised if you find yourself pining for the days when someone else took care of all of the tedious domestic tasks that are now your domain. (We’re not sure how one man can make so many mountains of laundry, but somehow he manages.) Even if your groom is a true team player and pitches in left and right, there will be chores and responsibilities you’d gladly hand over to the first willing party. Sigh. Welcome to adulthood.

7. Sex will become a little, um…familiar.
Relax—we’re not saying that the passion is going to fizzle or that the act itself will lose its toe-curling luster, but after the wedding dust settles, life in general tends to fall into a more predictable pattern. Less roller coaster, more pleasure cruise. It’s not that you won’t still have mind-blowing encounters, but it’s damn near impossible to keep up that honeymoon-action pace forever. Don’t worry: The change will sound less like “Not tonight, dear—I’ve got a headache,” and more like “Hurry up and get in here – (your favourite TV show) – starts in two minutes!”

8. You’ll discover a “habit” you were blissfully unaware of before.
Maybe he loads the forks into the dishwasher with the tines down while you prefer them up. Perhaps he repeatedly returns the empty milk carton to the fridge after he kills the contents. Although these things may make you mental, remember that marriage is about loving each other, warts and all. Plus, if he were perfect 24/7, your friends would hate you, and you’d have nothing to kvetch about on girls’ night out.

9. He may get you a horrible present.
We’re not saying that this is going to happen, but there’s a decent chance that at some point in the next year, you may be given an incredibly unromantic gift like a coffeepot or a Bowflex. One word here: training. Men, left to their own devices, tend to buy presents they either think we “need” or would like to receive themselves. However, when they’re provided with very clear, detailed directions to your favorite store and very specific instructions about what to purchase, there’s a decent chance they’ll turn up with something fabulous, frivolous, and maybe even sparkly. Here’s another helpful word: incentive. Reward him properly and you’ll be swimming in things you love before you know it.

10. It’s really important to take a vacation.
You may be all about planning the honeymoon right now, but once it’s behind you, you’ll surely miss the delicious anticipation of a romantic getaway. (Not to mention a few days of housekeeping service.) Committing to an annual just-the-two-of­-you escape—even if it’s just to the B&B in the next town over—will help keep the romance alive and, hopefully, remind you why you got married in the first place!