There is a weekly series in the New York Times called Modern Love. It’s essays submitted by readers themselves. My family reads this to keep our minds open about the many directions love can take. A recent article in the Modern Love section inspired me to write about change and its relationship to love.
Recently, I made a big change for love. I moved to a city I never expected to (or even really wanted to) live in. Although it’s a temporary move, it was a leap of faith I made for love. I was terrified- what if it was a mistake and I ended up miserable? I spent countless hours and late nights worrying. But eventually I realized that this man was everything to me. And I moved.
Since making this move, I haven’t really looked back. I’ve been so much happier. I guess I didn’t realize how unhappy and unsatisfied I had been until I got here and got some much needed perspective. I feel so much more grounded, safe, healthy, and like I can breathe again. I am changed.
The article I am reviewing is called “To Stay Married, Embrace Change.” The author, Ada Calhoun, argues that within one marriage, you will inevitably be married to “different people.” In other words, we ALL change throughout our lives and take on different forms, moods, hobbies, etc. We will be gloriously happy when our kids take their first steps, deep in grief when we lose loved ones, we may go “from rock climber to couch potato.” Or even from a strong/ steady type to a mid-life-crisis, hair dying, belly-piercing rebel.
Instead of shrinking away from these transformations, Ada advocates for changing perspectives on change. So the person you married is someone else now? Instead of feeling betrayed by this, embrace a chance to get to know someone new… A new version of someone you already know very well. She argues that this shift in attitude can make the difference between 50 year anniversaries and divorce lawyers.
Ada herself was divorced. She married to help her Canadian boyfriend obtain a green card. In the article, she explores whether this marriage “counts.” Her love for him was real, but the commitment wasn’t. In the end, they split up. Her current husband has shown her new versions of himself throughout their marriage- learning to love lawn mowing and managing to fling a bowl over a skittering chipmunk- leaving her surprised and delighted. She claims each of these new appearances, earned them 5 more years together.
To me, the real message here is to adjust your expectations. Studies have shown that humans change more over each decade than they ever expect to. It’s important to realize that your partner WILL change, evolve, and be DIFFERENT than the person you locked lips with on your wedding day. Accepting that fact can help make transitions easier as they come, being ready for change rather than fighting the tide. Even though my change has been a positive one, Deven is having to adjust to the fact that I am up at the crack of dawn to run 5 miles instead of the sleepy, bed bug I was in Dallas. I am decorating and writing and constantly inspired. Hope he is ready to embrace the change – even if it means helping me pack Mother’s Day baskets, drinking green juices I make, and do the dishes every night. To stay together, we are gonna try to “embrace the change.”
What are your thoughts on changes in a relationships?