When I was a newly married woman, I felt very secure in who I was. I had a man who loved me enough to choose to spend the rest of his life with me, and that made me feel like I must be a pretty great person. I felt the same way about my husband. Were there little things that annoyed me about him? Maybe. But for the most part, I didn't think either of us needed to change.
It wasn't until a few months later that I realized how much husbands and wives both need to change in order for marriage to work.
A change of mindset
I never understood how self-centered I'd become while living on my own. I'd only had myself to worry about — what I was going to eat, what I would do with my day and how I would spend my money. After marriage, I had someone to include, someone to compromise with. Sounds like a pretty easy thing to do, right? But when you are used to thinking only of yourself, adding another person into the mix means a lot of change.
One of the hardest changes for me was agreeing to do things my husband enjoyed. I could selfishly say that I did not want to go for a hike, play tennis or watch a slapstick comedy, and my husband would agree to do the activity of my choosing instead. But I soon realized that my husband was always giving in to what I wanted, and I was never giving in to what he wanted.
Really loving someone means putting his desires above your own. Plus, if you behave as I did, you'll find that you're really limiting yourself — the activities you do, the food you eat, the places you travel and even how you spend your money. Change your mindset from thinking only about your own desires, and include your husband's desires in your daily choices.
A change of desires
When I was a single, I had a plan for my future. It did not include getting married and having kids. I could not build that into my plans until I'd met someone I actually wanted to marry. Instead, my plans consisted of where I would live, where I would work and what I would do with my life. When I met my husband, things moved pretty quickly. Before I knew it, we were planning our future together. We talked about what our goals and dreams were as a family — vastly different plans from when I was single. It was hard saying goodbye to some of my dreams but, at the same time, I'd gained new ones.
In addition to changing life paths, husbands and wives must also change their natural desires. Some couples find they are more opposite than alike. One prefers to eat meals at home while the other likes eating out. One is a night owl while the other is more productive in the morning. It's hard to make both lifestyles work, so there will have to be change and compromise from both sides.
I have been married for 8 years, and my husband and I are now at a stage where our schedules are completely opposite. My husband works the graveyard shift, and I am at home with the kids. I can't stay up all night for my husband, and he can't stay up all day for me. We've had to make compromises. I get up early so I will be awake when he comes home, and he has to adjust to being awake during the day on the weekends. It is not easy for either of us to go against our natural sleep patterns, but a willingness to change gives us valuable time together.
A change of habits
Habits tend to change when you get married. How you squeeze the toothpaste out, how you fold the laundry and how you load the dishwasher will be different from your spouse, and you work through it. But in addition to those little habits, other things change as well. My husband was not a fan of the nervous laugh I used after almost every sentence. I thought my husband tended to offer too many unnecessary details whenever he explained something. After a couple of years, we broke each other of those habits. There was nothing necessarily wrong with them, but we made a better couple after shedding them.
It is okay to help each other overcome bad or worthless habits. It makes us better. Now, I am not telling you to nitpick your spouse. But giving up things like nail biting, eating after midnight or using inappropriate language might help elevate you both to the next level.
When someone says you've changed since getting married, it's not always a bad thing. Oftentimes, being married makes us into much better people — more loving and less selfish. If you are willing to listen to the person you love and change for the sake of making your marriage stronger, you will become the type of person you want to be — for both you and your spouse.