My husband shares often that he has been married to five different women, but only one marriage. People always look baffled and/or shocked when he says this. But it’s true. What he means is that over the course of our marriage I have changed and it has been an adjustment for him to get to know the new me.
What Caused The Changes?
- I changed when we got married and I moved away from the only town I had ever known including friends and family.
- I changed when we had our first baby and had to learn how to juggle being a wife with motherhood.
- I changed when I began homeschooling our three children.
- I changed when we were dealing with raising teenagers and the intense emotional strain that put on me day in and day out.
- I changed when I entered that dreaded season referred to as menopause.
I admit it hasn’t been easy for Tom because he didn’t usually know the changes were coming. Neither did I for that matter, and it has made our relationship challenging in those transitions.
Recently Tom was sharing this story with our Marriage Community Group when I had an “Aha” moment. I realized that Tom hasn’t changed nearly as much as I have. All the above transitions affected me on a greater level because I was the one home with our children 24/7. Tom worked outside of the home providing for our family so I could have the privilege to educate our kids. He had kept the same job for the majority of our marriage, which didn’t cause him to transition as much.
He did change when we bought the company after working there for 16 years. Going from being an employee to an owner of the company brings a whole new set of responsibilities which caused him to change.
But that was really the extent of it. Until now…
Tom retired in April and this has changed him in ways I had no way of anticipating. It is good, but it hasn’t been as easy as we thought it would be. I’ve been home and managing our household for our entire marriage. Now Tom, who has been an excellent manager his entire career, is home too, and in the habit of managing people. Except the only “people” around is ME. Another transition!
We have had quite a few arguments over silly things like,
- which knife I’m using and how the bigger knife would work better.
- How I organize cabinets.
- When I’m doing the laundry.
- Why I buy this brand over another brand at the grocery store.
- Writing vs. talking – I can’t do both at the same time.
None of these things are crucial. They’re preferences. But it has really rocked my world. We have had to communicate often about why this bothers me, and I’ve learned a lot about myself and Tom in the process. We are learning to laugh at ourselves and not take things so seriously.
I’ve even embraced some of Tom’s ideas.
I’m happy to say I’m enjoying using a bigger knife at times, and smile when I choose to use my little one instead . It’s not an important issue, but it has revealed much about our marriage and how we needed to adjust to a new norm.
Change happens. The big changes can either help us fall in love with who our spouse has become, or it can cause us to become resentful and pull away. I’m grateful we have purposed to lean in and get to know the new spouse to whom we’re married.
It’s a fresh beginning for us after nearly 40 years! Maybe we should plan a honeymoon to get to know the new “retired” us and fall in love once again! But first, I need to finish the laundry…
What transitions have you faced as a couple? Did it draw you closer or pull you apart?