The Happiness Connection  

Marriage polishes you

Are you the same person you were when you got married?

The answer to that may depend on which anniversary you are celebrating this year. If you are a newly wed, you may not have had time to change in a significant way, but if you have been together for several decades, the answer is bound to be yes.

If you aren’t in a long-term relationship, ask yourself if you are a different person to the one who left school?

Change happens so gradually, you may not notice it until you stop to compare the past you with the present one.

My husband and I have always found it easy to travel and spend time together, but sharing household responsibilities has been consistently difficult. This was partially due to cultural differences, but our personalities and values played a big part too.

My earliest memory of my husband in relation to housework is from a time shortly after we were married. We were preparing to host an open house/party to celebrate our wedding with family and friends in England.

I’m not a lover of house work, so it frequently takes an event such as house guests to get me motivated to deep clean.

I started my married life by moving into my husband’s existing home, which had been a bachelor pad for a few years, so it needed a thorough scrub. His parents offered to come over and help us spruce things up.

On the appointed day, we spread out and began work. About 45 minutes into the operation, as I was cleaning the outside of the sliding glass doors, I noticed someone lying on the couch inside. It was my husband, taking “a break.”

I had finally met someone who hated house work as much as I did. However, we were drastically different when it came to self-discipline. Perhaps you can see why we clashed on the domestic front for so long.

Recently, we found it necessary to deep clean our home in preparation for a house guest. On the second day as we were nearing the finish line, it suddenly hit me that I had just spent two very harmonious days with my husband, cleaning the house.

I didn’t even have to prod or encourage him to get back to work after we stopped for lunch. We had worked together as equal team-mates.

If you had told me 10 years ago that we would invest more than 10 hours over two days doing a deep clean together without a cross word, or annoyed feeling, I would have laughed at your fantasy.

I knew we had both changed since our early years together, but I didn’t appreciate just how much until I stopped to compare the past with the present.

Life doesn’t stand still, and regardless of whether you seek out change or wait until the ground crumbles beneath you to move, you will alter and adjust over time.

If you don’t believe you have changed, pause, and think about your goals, values, and personal interactions now and compare your answers to the ones you would have given when you were younger.

Think about some of the questionable decisions you’ve made. Would you make the same choices today?

You will never stop changing. Being adaptable to an altering environment is one of the reasons humans have survived to this point. As your circumstances shift, so will you.

Put this knowledge to your advantage in your relationships. Don’t expect the person you marry to be the same person you celebrate your golden anniversary with. Remember, you won’t be the same person either.

People who marry someone with a regular day job can be thrown when they suddenly find themselves with an entrepreneur. Perhaps you chose to spend your life with an athlete who has slowly turned into a couch potato.

Become aware and observant about change in your life. Don’t wait until you can’t recognize the person lying next to you to acknowledge its existence.

You and your partner are both works in progress. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the process of change will end. Who you are today is not who you will be tomorrow.

The key to navigating change when you are with another person is not to change in the same ways or to discouraging change from happening. The secret is to find a way to accept every version of yourself and your spouse as it presents itself.

Don’t mourn the disappearance of the man or woman you married, embrace the person you are with today, and look forward to the new version that will be in your future.

More The Happiness Connection articles

About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories