“What happened to the man (woman) I married?”
Such phrases are often thrown out as accusations, as if the act of getting married cements personality, habits, and preferences in place, never to change again.
But that’s not how it is, is it?
It sounds stupid now, but when I first married, I didn’t expect my wife to change…
No, I wasn’t a moron, just naive and inexperienced.
Here’s how it worked…
I’d do my best to understand her and her preferences about a given thing or situation (a good thing).
Once I understood I’d make a quick note, mentally and sometimes physically. Then I’d treat her according to what I finally understood. I’d be careful. I’d work hard at it. I wanted to remember. I wanted to live with her in an understanding way (1 Peter 3:7). I wanted to nail it down so that I’d never, ever hurt her again because I didn’t understand her.
Then it happened. My carefully crafted understanding of my wife turned out to be wrong… and it wasn’t because I had misunderstood.
You’ve changed! 🙁
The first time my carefully devised plan of understand collapsed, I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t figure out what had gone wrong.
- I’d worked hard to understand her.
- I’d asked LOTS of questions and she gave me honest answers.
- I’d figured it out.
- I didn’t miss anything.
What went wrong?
Nothing went wrong. My wife had changed.
Growth and change bring certain challenges
Everyone changes. That’s because everyone grows… or at least should be growing.
My spouse is no different and neither is yours.
I often refer to the changes as “seasons.” One will last for a while, then another slowly overtakes it.
My tendency is to think that the first “season” is the way things should be, that things will stay that way indefinitely.
But that’s not the way life is, is it?
The circumstances of life bring change, and changing circumstances force us to change.
We have to navigate the crisis, disappointments, and hurts life brings our way. We have to learn how to endure, to understand, and overcome.
That forces us to grow. It forces us to change long-held beliefs and preferences. It pushes us to become more flexible, more understanding, and hopefully, wiser.
And if we won’t grow, we become entrenched in attempts to control our world. That only leads us to become ingrown and dysfunctional.
Changes are especially difficult to manage in marriage
But I’m glad for them, all the same. Why?
Because they force my wife and I together. They force us to keep working to understand each other. They force us to communicate and endure, together.
Those are the things that make a good marriage, they are the “weights” we have to lift in order to for our relationship to become stronger.
And best of all, God is sovereign over the whole process.
We can trust Him to guide us each step, to provide what we need to take the right steps, and to empower us to love and understand our spouses as we should.
Your spouse has changed… how have you handled it?
How have you navigated the changes of life? Have you done it together, as a couple committed to remaining unified and close to each other?
How have you handled the reality of a changing spouse?
Has resentment built in your heart? Have you found yourself getting frustrated with the “inconsistency” of your spouse?
Have you demanded that your spouse extend grace to you but have been unwilling to do the same for them?
Remember, you’re on the same team. You’re “one” (Mark 10:8).
You are meant to draw strength from each other, to lean on each other, to support one another through the seasons of life.
How are you doing with that? Do you need help getting back to that place?
God is here, to help you in the changes of life. Let Him.
You’ve changed! Yes, I have. And I’m glad. 🙂