Gone are the days when we were misguided enough to use the fool's arsenal of, "You did this." "You said that." A typical newlywed, rookie mistake.
Most couples learn, or at least are told, by friends, family and any advice column worth its salt not to do that. The wise ones listen.
We learn to have selective memories and deal in the present.
But what about forgetting who your spouse was as a person. What they wanted, how they acted, how they responded to situations, when you first fell in love, were first married.
You'll often hear people who have divorced siting the reason as, "He just wasn't the person I married anymore." "She isn't the girl she used to be."
Of course not.
First of all in her case, she's no longer a girl. And in his case, he was wooing you. Now he's got you. At some point he's going need to relax and watch a game. For those who marry young, and even for those who don't, I've got news for you.
Your spouse is not going to remain exactly the same person he was when you were married.
I know! Your mind is blown!
But seriously. Think of the age you were when you were married. Okay. Now. How long have you been married? Let's, for argument sake say, 10 years. So if you married when you were 25 and you're now 35 why on earth would you be the same person? If you reversed those 10 years would you expect to be the same as when you were 15? I sure hope not.
So why on earth would we expect our spouses to remain the same?
When we married I was 20, my husband was 22. We are now 45 and 47. We've had two children together, raised them, build a business, (him, not me), logged countless miles away from home traveling for that business, (again him not me). Lived in 6 houses, 4 of which we owned, one of which we built. (One of which we fled like refugees because of all the drug dealing going on next door - yes, it was our first. What it was cheap!!!?) We've gone to Europe twice, Arizona a kagillion times, and various other places around North America. Buried both our mothers, seen all four parents through various cancers. Married off two daughters, gone through empty nest (me not him - well him too, but more so me), and become grandparents. And…. earlier this week, celebrated our 25th anniversary.
So what about this list of life events would cause you to expect someone to remain the same? Could you imagine if all of this left someone unchanged?! You'd have to be Rain Man or something!
But here's the trick. Getting to know your spouse over and over again. And I'm going to let you in on a secret. You won't necessarily like each new incarnation of your betrothed. Yup. That's right. Sometimes the stage of life your spouse is experiencing will not cause him to be the glorious, joyful, life loving person you married. Some stages of life bore us, some beat us up. And who do we beat up when we're feeling beat up? Yup! The ones we love!
This too shall pass.
I'm not going to tell you that you're going to grow from having gone through these stages together - but you will. I'm not going to tell you that seeing these other sides of your spouse will cause you to see their weaknesses and vulnerabilities and allow you to know how to better care for him more deeply - which they will. Or that these changes are simply part of growing into a wiser person, who, when the current situation is gone, will leave your spouse a deeper, kinder, person to go through life with - but they will.
Because really, that's what you're doing. Going through life with someone. Each version of them. And the longer your time together the more versions there will be. Some you're going to love. Some not so much. Such is life. Such is marriage. Such is the nature of our natures.
Stick around though. First of all because that's what you pledged to do. But also because growing up, growing old together. Experiencing life together, is a wonderful thing. Because really it's not about the happily ever after that we're all sold as little girls. When it all comes down to it, it's about simply having someone there, beside you, experiencing what you experience, caring about what you care about, building a life that's yours. Together. All of it. Including the occasional bumps and bruises.
You're not the same person you were last year. You're going to be even less the same 10 years from now. So will he.
Let your spouse grow and change, just as you do. Just as everyone does. Yes we love and adore who we marry. The first edition, but there are many sequels to come. Some better than the original, some not so much. But be there, listen, seek to understand. Be patient and kind, just as you'd want him to be when you're going through something, because believe me, you will - that empty nest stage is a doozy! Value what you have. Because it's yours and yours alone. Your story, together. Let it be written. Page after page. Let it evolve. Don't fight the changes, grow through them. It's lovely to see the years and experiences accumulate on each other, the lessons and the memories. It's life, it's fluid. Embrace it.