It’s Wednesday, the day when we always talk marriage! Today please welcome Dayna from Dayna Bickham, who shares how her husband has changed since they got married.
The man I married no longer exists.
When we married, nearly twenty years ago, I thought I knew what our life together would be like. I thought I knew what I was getting into and who I was marrying. Boy was I wrong.
Randy was a people pleaser, a mercy man, and was more emotionally driven than most guys I knew. When I met him I liked these things about him. I was so opposite. I did not care what people thought of me or my actions (good or bad), I saw things in stark black and crisp white and emotions were something of a bi-polar topic for me. I wore my joy and anger on my sleeves equally, but hid any other emotions because they made me feel weak. Randy seemed to know that and gave me a safe place to land where all that broken stuff in me did not matter.
But Randy isn’t the man I married all those years ago. My husband has changed.
You see, I married a guy who I thought would understand me as I was and never try to change me. I married a guy who I thought would always strive to please me. I married a guy who I thought would let me emotionally vomit on him any time I needed to because he understood me. Oh, how wrong I was.
Randy is not that same shy boy I married and I am no longer that self-centered little girl.
Marriage is a great catalyst that way.
cat·a·lyst ˈkatl-ist/ noun
- A substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change.
Change is Coming
Marriage begins with a blissful ignorance. There may be small things that bug us about the other one — like toothpaste cap application issues and replacing the toilet paper — but in general the buzz we feel from being “in love” still lingers and we move on. But over time we realize that the things we thought we liked about the other person may not be as good as we thought.
Life begins to rub up against us in some really uncomfortable ways and stress begins to squeeze us. Like those glow sticks you have to break and shake to make glow, stress bends us to a point where we hit our breaking point. The consequent shaking can either tear you apart or make you cling more tightly to one another. If you cling then likely you will change – fundamentally and radically. The people who come out of the stress induced crisis are different than the ones who go in.
This is life — but in marriage it is intensified.
So change is inevitable. Slowly and surely the man you fell in love with will change. So will you. This is a good thing.
Does anyone want to still be married to the kid version of their spouse — the one who did not know how to pay bills, who’d rather go see a movie than mow the lawn and found video games a better way to spend all his time — that kid version? What about you? Do you think he wants to stay with a girl who takes hours to get ready, never says what she really thinks, doesn’t order her own food but eats all of his fries, and spends all her time daydreaming instead of doing?
So when you find yourself getting frustrated with your spouse because they are not the person you thought they were, kindly get over yourself.
I know that seems harsh, but it is time we grow up a little when it comes to marriage. Our spouses are not one size fits all and there is no return policy. Not if we want marriage done God’s way.
So I propose — if you are having a difficult time with your spouse — you do this. Write down the top three things you loved about him/her then (leave some space in-between your answers – or you can make a chart), next write down how those things have changed.
How Did He/She Change
Why did they change? What happened?
Is this Good or Bad? How?
|Trait 1 You Liked|
|Trait 2 You Liked|
|Trait 3 You Liked|
Now, write down why those things have changed. If we are honest, the reasons why may include the answer, “Because I changed…” or life challenge words like “cancer” or “mom’s death” may come into play.
Finally, ask yourself why the change in your spouse is a bad thing? (I am not talking about sin issues here — those need to be addressed separately from this.) Ask yourself, what new character trait has developed? How that can make your marriage stronger?
If you can, get your spouse to do this evaluation on you, and then talk about what that means to your relationship. There will be things that are beneficial to your marriage and things that you will not like. It will be up to you to “fix” those outliers and move forward with more focus on who you are now.
Change Your Mindset
Like any plant, we need some encouragement. Plants get encouragement through their environments and from pruning/training. We are similar. We get encouragement to grow when our marriage is safe, full of life, and well apportioned with love and devotion (our environment). In addition, our spouses can help shape our growth by lovingly working alongside us — pointing out what needs cutting out — so we can grow (pruning/training.)
I am not saying your spouse is there to parent you. I am saying the person you married should be trustworthy enough to help make you into a better person without destroying you at the roots.
Just as iron sharpens iron, friends sharpen the minds of each other. Proverbs 27:17 CEV
I cannot tell you how many times Randy has brought up my trigger temper (at great risk to him! Ha!) or I have encouraged him to break free of his shyness more. Both are uncomfortable topics for each of us, but if we want a healthier, happier life, growth must happen.
Lou Holtz, one of the best football coaches of all time says, “In this world you’re either growing or you’re dying so get in motion and grow.”
The key is growing together.
What kind of changing has happened in your spouse since you married? How have you handled that change?
Dayna is a writer and speaker. She is also a wife, mother, and Whovian. Bow ties ARE cool. She loves great music, food, and laughing. Above all she loves laughing. Dayna blogs at daynabickham.com. During the summers she leads mission trips around the world. Her passion is teaching people to hear the Lord for themselves and to pursue whatever he says with their whole heart. You can friend her on Facebook and Twitter. Dayna’s is the author of Chosen for Purpose: Overcoming Giants and Living Your Dreams, available at online retailers everywhere.
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