The answers we provide to certain questions today may be different from our answers to those same questions when posed years later. Couples are often admonished to ask so many questions when dating, and to judge the responses very well because that goes a long way in determining whether a partner is the right one or not. After marriage however, many couples stop asking questions or probing. But it may be good we realize that a lot changes in the marriage journey and our partners may not hold the same views/beliefs they once held at the pre-marital phase. There will be a lot of changes and rough roads that you will need to embrace or open up to before you can successfully travel the full length of your marriage journey together.
Truth is, what was important to you and your partner back then when you were dating could no longer seem important just few years into your marriage. A satisfactory response you got before marriage on something that was very important to you could yield a disappointing response later in marriage. A dream of yours you made sure your partner valued equally as much may now seem of no value to them, hence their inability to give you the much-needed support you now crave. Surely you will be left with the feeling that he/she may have changed overnight and that you two seem no longer compatible.
Sadly, they may never tell you all that is going on with them…unless you ask or figure it out yourself someway or somehow. Maybe he/she said they wanted children as much as you do, but now don’t seem keen on it. Maybe they gave you their word that you come first before everything in their life, but now everything else seems to come before you.
“It’s simple. Things have changed…tastes have changed…interests have changed…a lot has changed!”
Trust me, there are interests that some couples have picked up and are passionate about today that surprisingly the other partner is indifferent about. When you probe, they will tell you that if they knew earlier that their partner will cultivate the interest they now have, they wouldn’t have seen themselves being married to them because they just can’t identify with the new-found interest.
“THAT’S THE THING WITH INTERESTS AND PASSIONS. THEY DO CHANGE!”
At a specific moment in time, stage in life, or age, you could be so all about pursuing a certain interest which of course defines your personality to your partner and on which basis they may have committed their life to you; perhaps because they share a similar interest or life goal. However, reality most times is that, at another point in time you will tend to develop even stronger interest in something else, and which if even your partner seems not upbeat about, he/she may have to just endure or find a way to just cope with. But deep down their hearts, they feel like if they had known that this man or woman would have turned out “this way”, they wouldn’t have committed to a lasting relationship with them.
Nothing stays the same in life…you may want it to, but it never will be. So, the point again is that, the many answers and assurances we get before marriage (when dating) or the interests we develop before marriage do change later in the marriage; possibly because of our new experiences of life as we grow and see more of life. It may therefore be in the best interest of our marriages that we revisit some critical questions so we can re-evaluate where we stand in each other’s lives and dreams. Regular assessment of a relationship will only be profitable in the end. Maybe that will lesson some of the pressures in marriages where the couples appear to be losing their “compatibility” and are constantly thinking “are we now just too different”?
I guess all I am trying to put across is that, the relevance of the questions or “things” that were important in choosing a life partner must not be limited only to that “before stage” of the union. They must be continuously revisited at some points in the marriage, at least to know if both partners still value the same things as in the past. It sure should be surprising how people can be compatible before marriage, and on which basis they marry, and then later in the marriage say they are no longer compatible. Where did the compatibility disappear to? What happened? Change happened!
“COMPATIBILITY WITHIN THE MARRIAGE IS AS EQUALLY IMPORTANT AS COMPATIBILITY BEFORE MARRIAGE. AND THAT IS WHY CHANGE MANAGEMENT IS A VERY IMPORTANT SKILL TO DEVELOP IN MARRIAGE. IF YOU EVER MARRY AND THINK NOTHING ABOUT YOUR PARTNER WILL CHANGE, YOU ARE ONLY LYING TO YOURSELF; AND POSSIBLY DIGGING A GRAVE TO BURY YOU AND YOUR MARRIAGE IN ONE DAY”.
Maybe too many couples are taking it for granted that their “compatibility” is not a fixed commodity and can change over time if not well managed and continuously evaluated. You may just drift too much apart in your “common interests” before you even notice what’s happening.
© Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017
Marriage & Personal Development Author