My husband is not the same man I married. And I am not the same woman he married. Throughout our relationship, we have evolved. We have grown. Sometimes we have moved in completely different directions like proverbial ships in the night.
But that is the characteristic of any long-term relationship which has been through hardship, turmoil, and uncertainty. You’re not always on the same page. And you can never remain the same people you once were.
I wouldn’t expect my husband to be that same guy I first hooked up with. If he stayed as he was and never changed, we would never have been able to move on to more challenging roles, such as being parents together or starting a business together. I want someone I can grow with. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to like or enjoy every stage of that growth.
You have to be willing to accept that — at times — your partner is going to change for the worse. Sometimes a person gets sick or addicted. Sometimes they fall into depression. Sometimes that carefree, laughing person you fell in love with becomes utterly bogged down by the stress of money, jobs, kids, and emotions. Sometimes that person may even be you.
And that’s where things get messy. When you dig in to a relationship with another human being, share a home, have children together, deal with each other’s families, and just try your very best to balance all of the things that need to be done to maintain a life together without drowning, it means you might fail one another on occasion.
There may be days when your partner lets you down. There may be days when you do the same. There will be days when don’t give as much as you could to the relationship and vice versa. There will be days when you question being together at all.
Anyone who is married or in a long-term relationship knows this to be true. You can’t possibly give 100% to a relationship every day — especially when you’re managing a household. It’s not a realistic expectation for anyone to have.
The same goes for change. One day your partner could wake up and decide they want to start going on hiking trips, go back to school, or quit their job. One day that could be you waking up with a different idea on how to live your life. And that’s something you would probably want your partner to support and understand.
This is why so many people struggle with relationships. They’re either expecting their partner to conform or change to suit their needs or else they are resistant to their partner changing in ways in which they’re not ready to accept.
Change can be good. It can also be terrifying. The bottom line is that change is inevitable and when you enter into a relationship or marriage you should understand that.
There is literally nothing better than having a partner with whom you can discuss your innermost feelings with and who will be open to the life choices you make down the road.
People don’t always make good choices. Sometimes they fail miserably. Sometimes they spend years struggling to find their purpose in life. Having a partner who will stick around for those times is priceless. To be within a relationship where you both evolve in your own ways and learn to appreciate those changes is the real payoff in making a long-term relationship work.
My husband is definitely not the same man I married. He can’t ever go back to who he was before. I have changed him, his children have changed him, and every obstacle he’s overcome in his life has changed him. I would say exactly the same thing about myself.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.