Your Relationship Won’t Change You?
Going into marriage, many people with good-intentions warned us that “marriage won’t change you or your partner”.
We were told that whatever baggage we bring into the marriage will remain there (habits, worldview, etc.).
Marriage isn’t going to suddenly make things better.
I’ve always agreed with this advice and saw the intention behind it. But recently I’ve come to realize that this is too simplistic (like many advice from good people who only have a couple of seconds to spare).
While it’s true that bad habits will not go away with the exchange of vows, it is actually possible for marriage to change both partners. However, whether or not this change is for the better or worse depends upon the couple.
Even though I’ve been married for only a year plus now, it has already changed me and my wife. To be exact, it isn’t the fact that we are married that is changing us but each other.
Here are three ways how we have changed because of our marriage.
I learnt to see
There were countless moments where I have said or done things which I thought was okay (but wasn’t!) that my wife had called me out on.
Actually, being the gentle soul that she is, she did more of a nudge than call me out.
In those moments, I could have responded with a classic “That’s just how I am” (and if I’m honest with myself, maybe I have). However, because I love my wife and I value her input, I choose not to respond that way. Instead, I acknowledged the mistake.
It was her gentle way which encouraged me to self-reflect on my actions. What I’ve noticed is that occasionally I would catch myself thinking about my actions and deciding to change.
She learnt to laugh
My wife’s a great person. She’s hard working, considerate, kind and thoughtful about others. She would go the extra mile to make someone’s day shine, sometimes without any reason at all. Those are all the traits which I love about her.
However, being humorous isn’t something which comes naturally for her. It’s not that she doesn’t get humor, but it just wasn’t something she grew up doing. She was more book worm than class clown. I was the opposite.
Less than two years into our marriage, I noticed her making jokes in our interactions. In those moments, she would even mention that it’s something she rubbed off from me, because it’s so unlike her. And I am all the more happy for the change.
We learnt to give
Living with someone new has taught the both of us that we have to be considerate of each other’s desires and needs. While we may think that this is common sense in any human interaction, it’s one of those things which we take for granted easily.
It’s easier to ignore this when we are interacting with co-workers or friends because we are not seeing each other 24–7. So we can get away with an offense here and there and let time heal.
However, when living together in the same home, it’s crucial for there to be no offense between us as it would just make every moment unbearable.
Initially there were a couple of moments where we would need to have “sofa talk” (us having a heart-to-heart about matters). But these moments have reduced as we both learn to give and take and be mindful of each other.
So in the end, was it really marriage that is changing us? I think that it was necessary for us to be open to change. I would not have learnt to be more self-reflective if I had a mindset that “I am already doing okay”.
When I view myself as being a flawed human being who is in need of others to help me improve, I open up myself to the possibility of change and improvement, even within a marriage. I think it is people who are humble and self-aware who are most mature and wise compared to those who are proud and ignorant.
As I mentioned earlier, whether we change for the better or worse depends on ourselves. I.e. Am I willing to be humble? Pride and a sense of self-importance will only erode the bond of friendship between husband and wife.
Creative Lead by day, writer by night, husband and dad throughout. I write about things that interest me and lessons I’ve learnt. My views are my own. Check out other things I’ve written.