Whether you have been married for only a brief period of time, many years, or…
When you first marry the person you love it is so easy to ignore your differences. So you begin your marriage full of hope and with the belief that whatever problems may arise will be handled as a couple. You perceive your spouse to be a certain kind of person who will act a certain way. You begin your life together and just deal with the day to day issues the best you can.
As time goes by many couples discover they are not as compatible as they thought when first married. During the early years of the marriage most couples work hard to make the relationship work. A man and woman are more tolerant of each other’s peculiarities. You come to expect your spouse to act a certain way and can even get to the point where you are able to predict behavior.
No one stays exactly the same as the years go by. Priorities and needs change. It is not so much that the person changes, but it is what the person requires to satisfy particular needs that changes. This can be difficult for a spouse to understand sometimes. As a result a husband or wife may come to believe their spouse has changed in ways they can’t understand and it causes problems in the marriage.
Seeking Harmony With Your Partner
If you perceive distance growing between you and your spouse it may be because the two of you have not spent time nurturing your relationship. Those compatibility issues that were glossed over in the early years of the marriage are bound to eventually come to light. It’s easy to say, “Oh…he’s changed!” and not really take the time to evaluate if he’s changed or if you are just not reading the situation correctly.
There are many different areas where you need to maintain compatibility. There is not a marriage in the world where a couple is perfectly compatible. For example, you may not agree on how much time to spend on social activities or you may have different opinions about religious issues. On the other hand, you may have started with the same views and those views have changed over time.
When a spouse is perceived as having changed, it can cause problems if the couple does not talk about the perceived changes. Silence can cause more problems in a marriage than anything else. If a spouse begins to act differently it probably has nothing to do with you or the marriage. It is just a sign of maturing and of changing priorities. Chances are you appear to be changing also, yet you would swear you are exactly the way you have always been.
Unlike having a major argument, perceived changes in a spouse is an intangible that can be difficult to pinpoint in many ways. A spouse can become sullen, more critical, less sociable, desire less sex or become more resistant to change. Dealing with these kinds of changes means having open and honest discussions so you can have a good understanding of what your spouse is thinking and feeling. The goal is to maintain harmony and equilibrium in the marriage and not just tell yourself your spouse has changed and its his or her problem.
Trying To Find Common Ground
A marriage is always a work in progress. It is never static because it is made of humans with changing needs and issues. When you come to believe your spouse has changed over time, it’s time to explore your relationship with your spouse. Honest and open communication is the cornerstone of every successful marriage. You should explain your perceptions to your spouse and then let him or her respond. If you listen carefully, you will probably discover it is the same person you married but his or her needs have changed and are not being met.
From the point of discussion you and your spouse can then begin to seek ways to blend your new needs into the framework of your marriage. These needs can include the desire for more intimate relations or the desire to spend time on more community involvement. You may want to see more signs of affection or appreciation or would like to revamp financial goals. When people feel frustrated because they can’t meet the most important needs in their lives, it can appear they have changed. It’s amazing how often people live together for years and are reluctant to bring up important topics out of fear the conversation will just turn into an argument.
Has your spouse changed? The answer is he or she probably has not changed that much but the needs may have changed. Understanding the needs of your spouse and changing your perception accordingly can lead to a stronger and healthier marriage.