Fortunately, but unfortunately, it's not like anyone is going to tell you to your face. The ugly/pretty game is completely mental - you know when you're not looking your hottest, you know when you've put on a few pounds - other people may not know those things, but you definitely do.
For me, I feel like I got uglier. It
I must preface my comments by first saying that my husband loves me with or without make-up; 10lbs heavier, or in old high school sweatpants. BUT, I do know there's a fine line and instead of just relying on the fact that he's going to "love me no matter what", I want to keep him satisfied and infatuated...which entails a little more than a greasy bun and a thrown-together outfit every morning. Beauty is definitely MUCH more than physical appearance, but physical appearance aids greatly in your beauty.
Here are my thoughts as to why SOME of us warp into homely, garment wearing, slummy sisters, rather than super toned, in-style, picture-perfect [modest] bombshells.
FIRST, you may have more down time. Obviously this depends a LOT on your situation - but for the most part, the biggest thing in your life that dramatically decreases is your socialization. You could still be in school, or working full-time, but before marriage, most people made a significant effort to spend time with people outside of their everyday full time activities. Once you get married, that effort decreases significantly, and you find yourself at home, or just with your spouse, more often than trying to get together with a group of other people.
That could bring on a wave of different habits and lifestyle changes that could impact your physical appearance. When you're not constantly trying to catch the eye of every guy you pass on campus, your mindset changes and that's when different habits start kicking in. For instance, you could feel less motivated to work out, spend less time getting ready, eat poorly, have less money to spend on yourself, etc.
My down-time comes after my 8-5 workday and most of the time, I have zero energy and would prefer coming home, plopping down on my couch, and watching endless episodes of GG on Netflix whilst eating handfuls of Chex Mix. Down time isn't really my body's friend most of the time.
SECOND, you may have zero time. After marriage you may have less time than before! You could finally have a full-time job after graduation, you may have babies to take care of, or a chaotic house to run...who knows, but sometimes having no down time is just as bad as having too much! It could cause you to eat badly (since you have no meal prep time), or have no time to work out, or literally have no time to get ready.
THIRD, you have less motivation. I already kind of mentioned this above, but I want to reiterate it. It may be different for some people, but once you're married, you feel like you have him "locked in" - you know he's not going anywhere, so why take the extra time to get ready in the morning or find the perfect outfit for your date that night? He "doesn't care what you look like", so what's the point? Besides, he doesn't like waiting around for you to do your hair, so why "make him suffer"?
OMG I've learned this lesson. Although, I must tell you that guys really don't realize how much time goes in to getting ready. Nate was never around before he came to pick me up for our dates! He didn't know I had to start the process two hours in advance in order to have the perfect outfit and perfect hair and perfect face...he didn't see that routine until AFTER the wedding night. It's a game changer, especially if your significant other is as impatient as mine. (Luckily Nate is quietly impatient, but I can still tell when he's sick of waiting on me). Fortunately, you know how long it takes you to get ready, so as long as your communication with your husband is in full swing, you should know when he plans on leaving and what time you should start getting ready. Nate definitely noticed that I started doing my hair less and less as the weeks went by. He started commenting on shower skipping or "less-fashionable" outfits. (Not that he really cares, but he does occasionally say that he remembers us being more fashionable when we were dating...) I didn't like hearing it, and while I had been used to the same routine for years and years, it made me realize that things needed to start changing if I were going to keep my man happy and satisfied.
FOURTH, making your spiritual life less of a priority. I'm just speaking from personal experience here, but I feel like I became less spiritually minded after getting married. Which, I must admit, is the saddest thing in the entire world, because our church is centered on the family and eternal marriages, and I feel like I could be getting so much more out of my marriage if I were to spend more time on gospel study. Not only do you always benefit from scripture study, but keeping your spirituality in check GREATLY increases your physical appearance. Maybe it's partly because while still single, I felt MORE obligated to be spiritually in-check because if not, I wouldn't be rewarded with my EC or something...haha. Or maybe because BYU singles wards are the best and family wards are not, and having that kind of support system greatly aided in my spiritual well being...who knows. All I know is that your spirit shines through, dull or bright, depending on how healthy it is.
So for those of us that associate with any, or in my case, ALL, of the above, here are some ways to shake things up and hopefully get ourselves pulled together and back to that sexy thing your husband said 'yes' to on your wedding day.
FIRST, don't think that married people aren't fun. Yeah, after you get married, you lose like all of your single friends. It's a big adjustment, but don't let it deflate you. There are SO MANY fun married couples. You were a lot more fearless during your single days; so let that part of you shine again when you're meeting people in your new ward or neighborhood.
Get out of your house. Find things to do where you live. Most likely, you've recently moved from somewhere you've been living for the last little while. Not only do you have a new (eternal) roommate, but you have a new home, a new environment...new everything. Don't let it scare you, let it excite you. Invite people over. Have dinner parties and dessert nights. You finally have a home! Make it fun and something to celebrate and show off!
SECOND, I've found that "me time" is some of the most important time during my day. For some, it really may be impossible, but I would hate to think that. You may have to start saying "no" to the occasional request, or start putting your kids down a little bit earlier than usual, but it's essential. "Me time" may just consist of working out, but I guarantee that you won't regret the time spent getting your heart rate up - ever. Sometimes you just need to get out of the house...go shopping, or just for a drive so you can listen to your music as loud as you want without anyone else caring. Maybe you can't leave the house, but you're baby is napping - some days you just gotta skip the cleaning and sit down and read a book of your choosing, or catch up on a few episodes of your favorite TV show. It's worth it, and you'll feel the difference by making that time for yourself.
THIRD, don't settle with yourself now that you're not fighting for attention. Sure you have a husband now who loves you no matter what, but that doesn't mean you can stop caring about what you look like. To be honest, your husband most likely fell in love with the girl who spent two hours getting ready every morning and making sure she had the perfect shirt to wear with her new jeans. Once he stops seeing those things, it's not necessarily going to turn him off, but it will throw him off. You don't want to stop impressing your man - you still want him to think you're sexy and attractive.
Find time to work out, spend that extra half hour getting ready, eat more healthy, and don't hesitate on buying yourself a cute shirt every few months :)
FOURTH, spiritual growth makes more of a difference than you may realize. By making time for Him, you are much happier, and in turn, you absolutely show it. Find ways to serve other people - whether it's your husband, your co-workers, or a couple in your ward that needs a little date night.
To add on to that, spirituality is more than reading your scriptures. It's being positive about yourself and others around you. This one is hard for me - especially with social media today and all the false pretenses it entails. People only post what they want people to see - you're comparing your very worst to someone's very best. How unfair is that?! My advice: stop taking everyone so seriously on social media. And stop comparing in general.
Some girls are fortunate enough to already have most of the above habits in place before getting hitched - making their lives seem more glamorous and desirable than our own. Forget them. Focus on you. You have control over your life and what you do, so if you want change, then start working on it!
Yes, your husband should love you no matter what you look like, but loving yourself is even more important than that. You'd be a liar if you said you didn't care what you looked like. Every girl does in one way or another - so whether you're doing it for him, or for yourself, it's worth making some little changes for the better.
I'm no expert on this subject. I haven't even been married a year yet, so I honestly have no room to talk. These thoughts and experiences are based purely on personal experience, so hopefully someone else can relate to them, too.