Photo from: powertochange.com
Although we rarely admit it, we all have some variation of the thought cross our minds: “he isn’t the same guy I fell in love with.” For some of us, the thought comes as a fleeting reaction to something he did that really hurt. Others face significant changes in their lives, and in their spouses’ and fiancés’ attitudes.
It’s okay to have this thought. In fact, you’re probably right: he isn’t the same as the day you met or the day you fell in love. People change. That’s part of growing.
When you begin to have doubts and concerns about the change, there are healthy ways to respond…and a few ways NOT to react:
DON’T Dwell on His Faults
It’s easy to let little things get to you. Especially when you’re around your guy for a few years and the little stuff has built up. Whether you mean to or not, you find yourself angry, frustrated, and concerned that the things he does that bug you or hurt you are taking over your marriage.
The fact of the matter, however, is that your negative feelings are taking over. His faults won’t fade in time, but your patience may be. Refresh your heart with a list of the things you love about him and pray for renewed grace.
DON’T Stay Stuck in Patterns
Part of the nature of change is that it often just kinda happens. In the process, unhealthy patterns can develop without anyone intentionally starting them.
Continuing in old patterns in your relationship can exacerbate issues you both face –especially with each other. There are argument ruts to get stuck in, miscommunication rhythms that inevitably leave you frustrated, and probably little behaviors that may not seem like big deals (until they are!)
Break the cycle. Rather than going through the motions that are wearing you down, talk to your guy. Let him know that you’ve recognized a pattern and, regardless of how you both have perpetuated it, want to make a new one –on purpose- together.
DON’T Forget That You’ve Both Changed
Over the months and years, you’ve both changed. Some of the stuff he does or says that bug you might not actually be any different. It’s possible that you’re just noticing those things more. At the same time, it’s possible that you’ve just changed.
When you met, you might have found his inability to get anywhere on time cute and taken it as a reminder of how easy-going he is. With the added stress of…kids, work, life, responsibilities, etc…you may now find his late-trait super annoying.
Keep in mind that he might find your new “nagging to get out the door constantly” habit annoying, too.
Part of working together as a team is figuring out how to navigate changes in circumstances healthily. You’re also to grow patiently and lovingly in unity, not just as a couple but as children of God: “Grow up in every way into Him (Christ.)” –Ephesians 4:15
DON’T Mix Up Actions and Character
Our culture is all about “what you do makes you who you are.” But somethings are just mistakes. Some habits are just habits. Some actions seem out of character for a reason: they are. We do things that “aren’t like us” out of insecurity, fear, and so much more.
Help your husband to remember who He is in Christ, because that’s His character. God made his character. If his actions seem unlike him, confront him about the action, not about some great change in heart and personality that he probably didn’t even have or can’t come back from!
DON’T Keep It To Yourself
While you shouldn’t run around telling all your friends and family about all the ways you think your beau has changed, it’s not wrong to seek advice. But there is a process to follow.
Start with the Lord. Go before Him in prayer and search His Word about whatever is specifically troubling you. Then go to your guy. If he isn’t hearing it, let him know that you need to be able to talk to someone about what’s going on and figure out together who you are both comfortable with.
DON’T Leave the Lord Out Of It
Our natural feelings can often cause us to feel ashamed. Whether your “you aren’t you anymore” thought was fleeting or has been plaguing you, you may feel like you’ve made a mistake, like you’re not living up to your vows, or even like you’re disappointing God.
Don’t try to fix your guy, your relationship, or yourself apart from the Lord. He knows what’s best and He is at work. He’s over everything and holds it all together. He knows your heart, and your beau’s. Pray. Ask. Listen. Not just for your sake, but for your love’s too. There’s no change that isn’t fit into God’s plan to work all things together for the good of those love Him.