If you are married, you may have experienced a significant letdown after the wedding festivities were over. In my practice, couples often report that the day after the wedding they get into a big fight, and the honeymoon is suddenly ruined. Some say they never really recover from the blow out. In the rush of getting married, many of us forget to reflect on our internalized messages about marriage. These messages are unseen ‘ghosts’ who say, "I do" along with you. "The Marriage Ref" Makes Us Want to Stay Single
These ghosts are born from our upbringing. They include family, cultural, and personal experiences that subconsciously tell us what marriage "is" or "isn't" and what it "can" or "can't be." As a therapist, I know these ghosts can cause significant rifts between couples.
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There are a broad range of reasons that justify fighting after a wedding. Fighting may be caused by sudden commitment stress after months of intense planning, money and intimacy fears or even hangovers. I believe there is a hidden reason some of these fights happen that is rarely discussed. This hidden reason comes from the male half of the partnership.
The majority of married men in my practice tell me that marriage is emasculating. That's right: marriage equals castration. Instead of actually using the term "emasculation", they say things like "Who am I?" or "Why does she need me?" I'm Not Physically Attracted to My Husband [VIDEO]
Without sounding cliché, men want to feel like "Men." While we do not believe that there is a conspiracy afoot to kill off manhood, there is definitely a deep cultural anxiety that we are not allowed to be Men once married. No, we are not referring to the stereotypical Cro-Magnon Man. We are talking about the New Millennial Man, but with the ages of old hunter instincts shamefully hidden away.
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Emasculation begins with expectations. These are common (and legitimate) expecations:
- Men are co-providers for the family, and are expected to never complain about it. (Let's keep this one!)
- Men are a significant part of child rearing duties. (Let's keep this one!)
- Men listen to what is said. (We are all for it, as long as we get to talk, too!)
- We are your best friend, partner, lover and shrink. (Let's be realistic, we can't be EVERYTHING!)
- We are emotionally stunted. (Maybe! Please give us a chance!)
Society and requirements impose many expectations on us. The moment we are married, our ghosts decide to visit and say things like, “Well, you’re married now, you need to bring home the bacon.” The answer we hear is, “She can take care of herself.” “I want to relax!” She will say, “Honey, I've had a horrible day at work.” All of a sudden, we force ourselves to transform into problem solvers and jump into action, only to find out she just wants us to listen. What A Year In Marriage Taught Us About Love