LYFE 365

Growing Pains
Christine Norman

“You don’t marry one person; you marry three: the person you think they are, the person they are, and the person they are going to become as the result of being married to you.”
Richard Needham

I have heard this many times before and now I know it to be true. For the first time in 12 years of marriage I am totally experiencing this. I have changed more in the last few months (with all that I have been through in the last 2 years as the catalyst) than I have in my entire life! I am also certain that I am not done and I am unsure of what the finished me will look like. The ride is both thrilling and uncertain. I am thankful that my husband is being patient with my process, as I know that it is NOT EASY. There are times that I don’t even know myself, so how can he? I have to apologize a lot these days.

If you have never been here, perhaps your spouse has. If neither of you have experienced these growing pains, one of you could face it in the future because change is a vital part of life. This is especially true if one of you is intentionally trying to change for the better. When the person changing cannot explain or has not understood it enough to communicate, this can cause unexplained tension. The road to change can also result in dissatisfaction that can be easily projected onto one’s spouse.

I wholeheartedly believe that it is in these seasons of life that couples think they “outgrow” one another but what they really do is fail to grow with one another. Marriage can never be fixed or static, it must be flexible and ever-changing. The goal is to do the hard work of growing together as you change individually and to fight growing apart. This can be accomplished by learning one another at every stage of life. However, it requires the changing spouse to be open and honest, and the other spouse to be understanding and unafraid. This process eliminates the need to say “I’m leaving because you’ve changed.” Instead couples are able to get to know one another all over again, like the best part of dating–meeting someone new, with the safety and benefits of having the commitment we hoped for in dating.

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