Somebody once said there is one constant in life, and that’s change. Every day is a new day, and with each passing month and year your life will look different from the last. Some change is bad, but likely most of it can be viewed as good. It’s all about perspective and what you choose to highlight and build into.
Think about yourself one year ago from this time–then five, maybe even ten. Think about your spouse the same way. Likely, if you have been married for any length of time, you’re not the same person you were back then. And neither is your spouse.
Many counselors hear this in their offices: “He’s just not the man/woman I married.” Oftentimes, it comes from a place of mourning, perhaps of simpler days before kids, jobs–-and well, life–happened. Responsibilities pile up, the “honeymoon” is over, and all of a sudden, you wake up realizing that things just aren’t what they used to be.
You always have a choice to make. You can tally up hurts and disappointments, blind to any positive change or growth that may have occurred. You can become apathetic, maybe even resentful. But in the midst of change, may we suggest that you’re simply focusing on the wrong things?
Instead of being so resistant to change, welcome it. Create space for change to equal growth, learning, and maturity. Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt. Ask questions about how they are viewing life. How they are affected by jobs, kids and daily routines. Get to the heart of the matter. Learn to LISTEN without judgment and speak without criticism. Be curious about each other.
Ask each other what are you dreaming about and how you can help. Perhaps take a trip down memory lane, revisiting how life used to be, and yet how things are now and can be in the future. If you’re bored of the same old, same old, suggest a new hobby, activity or project. Always remember, it takes two to make a marriage work, or in the worst case scenario, fail.
It’s no secret that divorce rates are alarmingly high in this country. We are quicker to commit and quicker to give up. You married your spouse for a reason–likely, many really great reasons…like he or she looked good, smelled good, felt good, sounded good, and tasted good...right? Life has a way of sidetracking us, of asking that we look to our right and to our left. Comparing your marriage or your spouse to another has never and will never be fruitful. What will be is choosing daily to build into your spouse. To invest in what you have, who you married and the future you wish to create together.
So if he’s not the man you married, perhaps it’s time to stop complaining and time to start digging in deeper. Take the 5 languages quiz and change the way you relate to each other. Marriage was never guaranteed to be easy. But it is rewarding when you endure seasons of change together and come out the other side better for it. It’s the only way we can turn society’s view of it on its head. Start where you are. Embrace change. Build something beautiful together. Holler for help when you need it.