Have any of these situations ever happened to you?
- You and your spouse argue about an issue that comes up again and again. But suddenly, your spouse relents. They say they will change their ways. And you think, “Yeah, right! It’s never going to happen!” (Maybe you even say so aloud.)
- A friend suggests how to handle a specific situation with your spouse. But you reject their suggestion immediately – because you’ve already tried it in the past. It didn’t work then. Why would it work now?
- Your spouse wants to try something new or approach something differently. But you think things are fine how they are now. Why change things? You resist the new idea and push back.
If you have experienced any of these situations, you may be stuck in the past.
One of the beautiful things about marriage is that we are able to grow and change with our partner. But what does this really mean?
It means your partner may develop new habits, shift his or her perspective on important issues, or create different expectations for your marriage and the way you conduct your everyday life. And when this happens, we may need to change how we approach issues or find solutions with our partner.
Easier said than done, right? But if you stay stuck in your old ways, that’s exactly what you’ll be – stuck. You’ll keep trying the same old things and failing. And your frustration and resentment will grow.
So how do you prepare for these changes and stay out of the past? There are two crucial things that you need to do. Both of them require effort and acknowledgement every day.
First, you should remember that today is a new day. As you and your partner move forward in life and your relationship, it is important to keep your focus forward. The past is fixed and can’t be changed, but the present and the future are still being written. Open yourself to the discovery.
Second, you should continue to observe and try to understand your partner. In a way, this is part of opening yourself to the discovery. There are always new things to learn about our partners and ourselves as we move forward in life.
Do not get stuck on the idea that since you have been with your partner for years (or decades) that you know him or her like the back of your hand. Recognize the possibility for change. Continue to ask questions. Actively listen to how your partner views and reacts to everyday life. If you see changes or developments, embrace them!
You and your spouse have made a promise to love each other every day for the rest of your lives. You two still have many more days to come, so continue to embrace the growth, surprises, and developments that lie ahead.
Rooting for you!