My Wife is Just not the Person I MarriedPosted by Stacy
This article originally ran on Alisa Bowman’s ProjectHappilyEverAfter.com , whenever I get a chance to read it I am always inspired . Marriage is a challenge, and this website, not only helps me with my marriage , but with my life. If you are trying to save your marriage, or just be happier, subscribe to the website and buy the book.
“My wife is just not the person I married 14 years ago. I’m not sure what to do!”
I assume he wanted me to reveal the secret formula for reversing this problem, the formula that would turn his wife back into the woman she used to be.
I don’t know of such a formula.
What I do know is this: everyone changes. No one stays the same.
We tend to think of people as solid, static, and fixed. In reality, they are anything but. Living beings (including the ones we married) are in a constant state of flux. Our cells die, leaving new ones to take their place. New brain cells replace old ones, literally rewriting some of our memories. Thoughts and emotions come and go.
The cells in your body are always on the move. This is especially true in the brain. Scientists tell us that the brain is plastic. It can be changed or molded like putty. This is a good thing. The plasticity of the brain is what allows us to shed bad habits and form new ones. It’s what enables us to forgive, forget and move on.
You are not the same person you were 10 years ago. You are not the same person you were last year.
Or last month.
Or one second ago.
Buddhists refer to this constant state of flux as the Law of Impermanence.
Think about that. Think about what you worried about when you were in your teens. What was important to you back then? What were your goals and aspirations? Your hobbies?
How about in your 20s? And 30s? Your 40s and beyond?
I’m guessing that, when you are honest with yourself, you’ll realize that you are not the same at all. For instance, when I look back over my life, I can see that I’ve mellowed. I’m not as competitive as I used to be. I’m also not as anxious, and I don’t care about the same things. I used to collect salt and pepper shakers. Now I have a collection of them and don’t understand why. When I met my husband, I thought beer was disgusting. Now I enjoy having one with him from time to time. I used to eat meat. Then I stopped eating meat. Then I started eating meat again. Then I stopped eating meat again.
While writing this post, I was curious to know if my husband had noticed these changes. So I called him and asked, “This is for a post. I’m going to type whatever you say for all the Internet to read. Since you met me, have I changed?”
Without hesitation, he said, “Yes.”
I asked, “How so?”
He said, “You are meaner and more unfair about everything.”
“Okay,” I said.
“That was my joke answer,” he back peddled. “In case you couldn’t tell, that was my joke answer.”
Interestingly, my husband has always been a jokester.
I rarely play jokes on people. I do not believe this will change. But who knows? Perhaps one day when I’m in a nursing home, I’ll be the resident that the staff thinks is so adorable because she’s always joking around.
Stranger things have happened.
Anyway I asked him, “What is your real answer?”
He said, “You are older and more mature and more confident.”
My husband also has changed over the years, but not as much as I have. For instance, he’s not as particular as he used to be.
So why do we get annoyed when people change? It’s inevitable, after all.
I think the answer to that question is fourfold:
- We often change slowly, so slowly that it can take years for anyone to notice.
- Sometimes we change in ways that might not necessarily be for the better.
- Other times we change rapidly, so much so that people in our lives have trouble keeping up. This is especially true during growth periods—such as during the college years or after the birth of a child. And it’s often true after a trauma—such as a dire health scare.
- Many times we change, but we don’t change in ways that people around us would like.
When any of the above happens, people around us are stunned, saying either “You are not the person I used to know. You’ve changed!”
I’m guessing that everything I just wrote reads like a boring philosophical lesson, one that isn’t very helpful to folks who are annoyed by the changes they see in their spouses. (Yes? No?) Still, acceptance is often the first step of any journey, and that’s especially true here. Yes, your spouse has changed. No, your spouse isn’t going to change back.
But, yes, your spouse will change again. That’s how the Law of Impermanence can work in your favor.
Forget about who your spouse used to be. Think about who you need your spouse to become. Then think about how you might change to enable that spouse to follow your lead.
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