Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Don't Expect Them NOT to Change

This past Friday, I had the opportunity to attend my cousin's wedding.
As is typical, their sealer gave them a few bits of advice,
and it got me thinking about the counsel we were given when we were married.

One of the pieces of advice we received is one I hear very frequently--"Don't try to change your spouse."
I agree with this, for the most part--although I do feel that we can help one another see ways we can change for the better in a positive, non-critical fashion.
But that's a post for another day.

Today I wanted to write about the counterpart to this advice.
While we shouldn't critically try to change our spouses,
we also shouldn't expect them to NOT change.

It's something that isn't talked about much,
but through the past 6 1/2 years of marriage, it's something I've come to realize is definitely true.
As I look back at the 19-year-old bride I was, I can see that there have been some obvious changes.
Most, I feel, have been for the better.
But as life's stressors have changed, they have also brought out traits that haven't always been good.
And as those traits have been realized, I have worked to overcome them.
But I'm grateful Sam has been patient with me as I have changed through the years.

And just as we change as people, our relationship changes.
While we've grown ever closer,
circumstances have created changes that may not always seem positive on the surface.
If I look back on our newlywed days, I could choose to feel discontented with where we are today.
Constant love notes, sappy e-mails throughout the day, and focused conversations about Gospel insights were threads of our lives back then.
As our life's tapestry has continued to form, our more recent threads have involved midnight baby-soothings, loud dinners filled with jabber of children, late nights of graduate school work, and rare uninterrupted conversations--usually on date night.
But our lives aren't worse. Our relationship isn't suffering.
And while I still appreciate eloquent notes, the continual acts of service displayed in fatherhood mean just as much.
So rather than feeling discontented about the changes that have taken place,
I can find joy in our maturing relationship in which we are continually becoming more unified and working together to raise our children which naturally binds us more fully.

When I chose to marry Sam, I wasn't choosing to spend eternity in static existence with him.
I was choosing to spend eternity changing with him.

1 comment:

  1. Amen. I totally agree. Jeff and I most certainly are not the same people we were 20 years ago as newly weds. Time, experience, children and so many other things have shaped us into different versions of our younger selves. I like to think our relationship had been enriched by the changes within us and between us. I like how you phrased it as "changing with each other". Marriage to me is a process of always trying to help each other be the best possible versions of ourselves and live up to the potential God sees in us. If we are progressing, we are inevitably changing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts today.

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