Hitch yourself to another human being for long enough, and eventually you’ll notice yourself starting to change in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. Maybe you’ll take on some of their weird habits, or find yourself watching the same TV shows or buying the same brand of toilet paper they like. Maybe you’ll attach new meaning to certain words or phrases that only the two of you understand. Maybe you’ll start to look alike.
But not all changes take so long to make themselves known. According to a study recently published in the journal Developmental Psychology, there’s a biggie that happens in the first year or so of marriage – not in what you do or what you buy or how you look, but in who you are.
Overall, it’s kind of a mixed bag – the very beginning stage of a marriage can change people for the worse, but also for the better. A better takeaway, then, might be the fact that they change at all. “Oftentimes, when people talk about being unhappy in their relationship, they talk about, ‘Oh, I changed,’ or ‘He changed, she changed,'” Lavner says. “But that can work in both directions, like, ‘Maybe things weren’t as good, and then one of us changed in some way and that really made things better.'”