Wifey Wednesday: He’s Not the Man I Married Anymore!

My husband has changed--but so have I. Thoughts on change in marriage--and why it can be a good thing (even if it's hard!)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.

Thank God.

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

  1. 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?

Change Chafes

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.

Spouse’s Name

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 BickhamDayna 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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Comments

  1. I am so extremely blessed that we have changed through our marriage! I feel that we have grown in ways that I would never imagine. And I even look forward to the changes and growth ahead of us! It is amazing how when God pairs us up with someone they help guide us into being a better person! Sometimes I just can’t believe how it all has worked out.
    Cassie recently posted…Creating True Agape: 20 At Home DatesMy Profile

  2. I’ve heard it said that we try to change our spouse to be more like us, and when we succeed, it turns out we really don’t like ourselves that much.

    It’s good for spouses to change, to grow, to mature, so long as they are growing to be more “Christ-like”, and not more “me-like”.
    Jay Dee – SexWithinMarriage.com recently posted…Household Hierarchy: What does our physiology say about who should lead?My Profile

  3. I found your blog and link-up through Tribe Writers: Faith Writers and joining in since I’m currently doing a series on the Love Dare book. Delighted to find you. Good wisdom here. The key truly is growing together. Blessings.
    Beth S recently posted…Three Word Wednesday: Love is kindMy Profile

  4. I love this post….Thank you…but what advice do you give if it’s turned around…What I mean is this….My husband and I have been married 12 years…He has always been a wonderful husband and father to our children….now more than ever he is growing in the Lord and I see him maturing in Christ…it is BEAUTIFUL! God’s goodness amazes me…oh how faithful He is to us….and yes we’ve both changed…I see the good changes in my husband, but I don’t like how I’VE changed over the last 12 years….my husband even told me one day that I’m not as ‘fun’ anymore…like I used to be…I’m serious all the time…of course I’m the ‘mean’ parent and I can’t stand this….I used to be more carefree and happy-go-lucky….now, not so much….I’m not sure how to get back to that fun me…maybe it’s lost forever?

    • Sometimes moving forward means having a moment of recovery. What changed that you lost your spark? Sit down and do this assessment with your husband with you as the center of focus. What could you adjust or change to get back to loving life a little more? What would free you up to laugh? It may mean you need to learn new coping strategies for handling stress or restructure your disciplining protocols with the kids. You may just need some more one on one time with your husband. Do not take this on by yourself.

      Also remember this: you see the problem, your husband is communicating with you and you want to reach a solution. You have so much going for you. Do not let the enemy or your own hang ups derail you. Make one small change at a time. Anything more would be too drastic and cause issues than solutions. Clear your schedule one day and do something fun with the family. Go hiking, go to the beach, or take the day to fish if that is your thing.

      Laughter is good, like a medicine. Medicine does not always heal us the moment we take it, but if we continue to take a daily dose, we eventually get healthy again. You can recover one laugh at a time. Do not give in or give up.

      Hebrews 12:1 comes to mind. Throw off the weights that are on you and just run the best home, family, relationship, and race you can.

      Be sure to check back in or email me at daynabickham @ gmail dot com (eliminate spaced and use the . for dot) to tell me how things are going in a few weeks. I would love to hear from you!
      Dayna Bickham recently posted…Finding Purpose Out of a Paltry PastMy Profile

  5. Before I started dating my husband, I had a “short list” of 3 non-negotiables for anyone I’d date.
    He had to be smart, he had to want children some day, and he had to love God.
    Just looking at those three things, he has changed and not changed.

    He is still smart, and has gained incredible business sense and people skills to go with it. Watching him in action is a delight. (He used to make me squirm a little at times – he was rough around the edges!)
    He is a wonderful father to our four children. The love of kids and the fun I saw in him years ago has been tempered by the ability to discipline, instruct, and raise up our family.
    When we married, we had only been Christians for a few years. Our faith was new, exciting, raw, untested. Now it has deepened with time and trials into something strong and beautiful.

    I don’t think I’d want to be married to that 22 year old any more, but the not-quite-40 year old is a keeper!

  6. The problem is that we have both changed and not for the better. We are more angry and we bring out each other’s horrible traits. I’m so lost right now.

    • Tisha, I am so sorry. I know there was a time in my marriage where all seemed lost. Divorce loomed on the horizon. The only reason I had not been served with papers is because he was out of a job and did not have the money. We struggled to just be in the same room. For us it only came around when I began seeking God first.

      I let God begin to work on me and Randy saw the fruit of it in my life. It reminded him of why we loved one another in the first place. I do not know your story, but our Dad does. I want to pray for you.

      Father,

      You know Tisha and her husband. You see their hurts, their insecurities, and their fears. Show them how to forgive. Let them turn to you and seek your face. Comfort them and give them wisdom. Line up moments like this in their daily life as signs that you love them. Guide them to one another again and show them how to let go of the anger. Teach them how to love like you do. Heal every fissure and hurt. Give Tisha hope again that all can be well again and the strength to bear the burden of that hope until she sees the promise fulfilled. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

      Tisha, I do not pray this lightly. I mean every word. I will continue to pray whenever your name comes to my mind.

      In Christ,

      Dayna
      Dayna Bickham recently posted…Finding Purpose Out of a Paltry PastMy Profile

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