“Change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.” ~ Robin Sharma
Change is an inevitable part of life. We all experience it. Coping with change within romantic relationships can be particularly unnerving and disheartening.
Each of my 21 years of marriage has had one constant — they have all been different. I met and married my husband as a teen and I can say that we are both completely different from who we were when we first married. To say we’ve changed is a massive understatement. Enduring, embracing, and accepting the changes in each other is one of the little secrets to our longevity.
Why it’s problematic to say “He/she is no longer the person I loved”
It is quite common for divorcing couples due to “irreconcilable differences” to cite their partner’s change as the primary reason for the demise of the relationship. “He/she is no longer the person I married,” is what they contend. However, the fallacy with this argument is that this is the case for every long-term relationship. If my husband were the same person I married 21 years ago, that would be extraordinarily tragic.
Humans remain in a perpetual state of change. We are getting older, gaining more knowledge and learning new things. The result is–usually–a wiser, more mature, and different individual. Embrace it.
You’ve changed too, even you may not realize it…
Every single experience you have attaches itself to you and alters you just a little. These transformations, which happen in your perspective and your approach to life, can range from minute and barely detectable to severely profound and significant changes that shift your thinking paradigm. Give yourself, your partner, and the relationship the space and permission to evolve.
You definitely don’t want your relationship to be a pool of dead water
In a relationship, refusal to change is actually more detrimental than actual change itself. Requiring and expecting that you, your partner, and or the relationship remain static is unrealistic, unhealthy, and disastrous. The trick to maintaining a healthy long-term relationship lies in understanding that relationships are meant to be fluid and embracing these changes in yourself (yes, you are changing as well although you may not notice it) and all aspects of your relationships keeps things fresh and injects passion into the relationship.
I miss the old him sometimes, but I feel lucky that he has changed
My husband was a goofy, happy-go-lucky, naive, and fun-loving guy when we first met. He loved to laugh and was a kind and gentle soul. While I do, at times, miss his wide-eyed innocence, his playfulness, and his nonchalant attitude, I am so proud of the man he’s become. In fact, I love him now more than I did then. The years have morphed him into an astute, driven, and passionate provider and protector with a wisdom beyond his years. He has become a wildly successful and accomplished individual whom people depend on and seek to emulate.
Our relationship has also undergone dramatic changes. It has been refined and gone from youthful puppy love to a deeply profound and enriching marriage that is nurturing, powerful, and fulfilling. So, how did we do it? What’s our secret? We gave each other room to grow. We learned to embrace the change we saw in each other by doing three simple things:
- Accepting the change.
- Adapting to the change.
- Encouraging and challenging each other to continue evolving.
Enjoy the ride of your relationship!
A relationship is a journey through change with another person. Being afforded the opportunity to participate in someone else’s journey is a privilege. Resisting and fighting change is an exercise in futility and stunts the growth of the individuals and the relationship.
A long-term committed relationship is a wild and jarring emotional roller-coaster. You will laugh, cry, scream in terror, shriek with delight a few times along the way. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.
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