In April, my beloved and I will have been married 17 years. What. In. The. World?!
That seems so surreal to me. Crazy to fathom how time passes. There are sophisticated atomic clocks around the world that claim it passes at the rate it has always passed.
But I just don’t know. Our experience and perception would lead us to believe otherwise, right?
One thing I know for sure. I’m not the woman he married. And he’s not the man I married.
You might be tempted to take what I just wrote and assume the negative; that he and I deceived each other back in the day, and our true identities have come to light. Nope. There is something universal to not being the people we were when we married.
I could say the same thing about you and your spouse, too. And about all my friends who are married. And about all married people, really. Why? Because each of us is always changing. Hopefully, not our sense of good ethics or our commitment to our vows, of course, but we are constantly changing nonetheless. (And I do know that for some people, the ethics and commitment do change for the worse. But for today’s post, I want to stay on a positive track).
I am not the woman he married because I have had countless experiences, encounters and revelations since we stood at that altar. And so has he.
We’ve read books and articles. We’ve each met new friends. And lost a few, too. We have travelled new places. Encountered bewildering struggles. Reveled in profound joy. We individually and together have faced unfathomable pain. I like to think we are wiser in many regards. But I know we still have a lot of wisdom to gain.
One year in, we were different people than we were at the church that beautiful spring day. And we have just continued becoming different versions of ourselves along the way. This is not a bad thing, mind you. But it is where a lot of people get tripped up in their marriage.
Many married people stumble because they haven’t learned to become different people and simultaneously stay intimately connected (sexually and otherwise). They haven’t allowed each other room for grace and growth. And just to be clear, I’m not talking about changes that damage the core of the relationship. I am talking about being at peace with—even seeing great value in—growing as individuals. And then being aware enough to meld that growth into growth as a couple.
It’s okay that we aren’t the people we were when we married. Some would even argue it’s inevitable.
Eric Church has a song called “Some of It,” and I can’t get the chorus out of my head. Occasionally, I find myself singing it under my breath as I go about my day. I don’t know if I have ever come across a chorus that so succinctly sums up life…
Some of it you learn the hard way. Some of it you read on a page.
Some of it comes from heartbreak. Most of it comes with age.
And none of it ever comes easy. A bunch of it you maybe can’t use.
I know I don’t probably know what I think I do. But there’s something to… some of it.
The song also includes these words…
If it’s close, swing the bat. Everybody’s gotta a past. And love’s worth living for.
When you’re dance, hold her close. ‘Til it breaks, go for broke.
Be the first to reach for her hand. No, you don’t get to do some things again.
Carpe diem is more than a memorable movie line or the only Latin most of us immediately recognize. “Seize the day” because indeed “you don’t get to do some things again.” I guess I just want to acknowledge that I know we all have regrets. Should haves, could haves, and would haves are part of the landscape of life. And of marriage.
It’s human to look back and grieve over missed opportunities or stubbornness or harsh words or painful silence. But I also want to acknowledge that despite any regrets, you can’t live in the past. You CAN, though, move forward with new resolve. Part of becoming different people includes becoming better versions of ourselves, too.
I’m not the woman he married. He’s not the man I married. Nearly 17 years in, I’m humbly grateful this reality compels us to keep practicing, rather than giving up. What about you?
You and your spouse are not the people you were when you married. How can you find fresh ways to meld your individual lives into a stronger version of who you are as a couple?
And I have a 5 video series available on building better sex in your marriage. Great way to invest in your marriage! You can find out all about it at this link: Better Sex in Your Christian Marriage.
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