Recently, I was interviewed for an upcoming article about what I know now about being married that I didn’t know as a newlywed. I gave advice that I believe is true for any relationship to work. But the next day, I came across a brilliant hidden truth about marriage and this one is worth its weight in gold!
The advice is to stay married, you must embrace change.
The author of the article "To Stay Married, Embrace Change," suggests that many couples who have gotten divorced cite growing apart as a top reason, which seems like a logical fallacy when we take into account what we know about human evolution. We are all going to continue to evolve throughout the course of our lives, each person independently of each other. Meaning that the person we married on our wedding day will not be the same person we grow old with and neither will we.
If you look back on your life however old you are, you will surely see different chapters begin to unfold and you can also likely see how you aren’t quite the same person you were back then. Sure, the core elements of your personality are still there, but perhaps your hobbies and interests have changed. Your outlook on life is a bit different. Your priorities have shifted. Your motivations are different.
When it’s you, you embrace this change naturally most of the time. You barely think about how you have changed because the evolution is natural to you and as you perceive, in your best interest.
When it comes to our partners, however, we tend to hold onto the version of them that we fell in love with and fail to fully embrace their changes as we have our own -- “each [person] goes from rock climber to couch potato, from rebel to middle manager, and from sex crazed to sleep obsessed,” the author says.
How you perceive this change in your partner could lead to the ultimate conundrum for your marriage. “Nostalgia, which fuels our resentment toward change, is a natural human impulse. And yet being forever content with a spouse requires finding ways to be happy with different versions of that person,” the author writes.
The overall lesson and hidden truth I took away from this article was that we all change and we must first recognize this and then commit to falling in love with new (enhanced) versions of the spouses we married. Rather than berating them for not being the person we married, we should appreciate them for the people they have become. After all, wouldn’t we want the same in return?
As I am finishing writing this post, the SheKnows article published with the advice of 11 happily married women who share what they wish they would have known as newlyweds that I referenced at the opening of this article. One of the women, Gina from Pennsylvania, married 19 years, knows all too well about why it’s important to embrace change to stay married. Her advice, in fact, was, “learn to embrace change.”
“Contrary to popular opinion, people change. Or perhaps it's less that they change, and more that they reveal their true selves after challenges like job loss, illness or death. My husband and I weathered the tragedy of 9/11 as New Yorkers, my unexpected stroke at 33, his unexpected heart attack in his early 30s, a child with Down syndrome and a child diagnosed with autism. Sometimes you need to change to survive these challenges and with that, your relationship will change drastically.”