In front of friends and family, we take our vows, confident in our future together.
It has taken a while to reach this day, but we are sure that we have found the perfect fit, the perfect partner.
And we have.
Yet time, age, hardships, and even success have a way of changing people—often in ways that we cannot predict. Sometimes, the change we recognize is welcome, and sometimes, it is not. So it’s natural that we question ourselves, our feelings, and our commitment when we realize that the man we are married to today is not the same man we married years ago.
“I don’t know if I still love him,” she cried, wiping away her tears.
“That must be painful. What happened?”
“He’s changed, and I just don’t feel the same as I used to.”
But this is only part of the story. The other part is you. Not only have you yourself changed, but the lenses through which you see your partner have changed as well. Years of living together, struggling through difficulties, and disagreeing over unforeseen decisions have scratched your lenses, making it challenging to see him clearly. To some extent, the messages you are giving your own heart are tainted through no fault of his own.
And today, never have we been more susceptible to the Grass is Greener Syndrome. With our unparalleled access to each other’s best moments, it is easy to get caught up in jealousy over the publicized stunning accomplishments of our online “friends,” generating feelings of discontent in our own lives. As a marriage therapist who works with women who have strayed while chasing the dream, I speak confidently that it is all pure fantasy and fiction. It is rare to find a woman who doesn’t regret her decision to find love outside her marriage. And, not just out of guilt, but perhaps more so from the realization that life with her new man brings the same if not more difficult challenges than with her devoted, imperfect original spouse.
To mitigate our normal feelings of discontent, one of the first exercises I give my clients is the practice of appreciation. This is because when we take time to notice our partner—not through our dusty, smudgy glasses—but for who they really are, we are often pleasantly surprised. We never realized how much they do for us, how much they care about us, and how much they actually love us. And when we look really closely, we uncover many particular unique traits about them that we never saw before, even on our wedding day.
That your husband and yourself will change is not the question—it is a given. The same goes for your feelings about him and even your marriage. But before we question our hearts and our commitments, have we really given this changed man a chance? Is the man standing before you today, the man who loves you and takes care of you, worthy of being your spouse?
When we take a step back, let go of our past, and look lovingly, oftentimes, the answer is not only yes, but a resounding yes! 🙏💚