What do you do when love in marriage changes over time? Your responses to these changes will affect your marriage.
If you thought that a marriage could succeed on love alone, it’s time for a reality check.
The first (almost) 2 years were a breeze, but we’d gotten most of the difficult adjustments out of the way by living together before marriage. Shortly after having our first child, my marriage was on the rocks. Whether or not hubby wants to admit it, we were at odds.
If you’ve had a baby, you’ve likely experienced some kind of strain on your marriage, too.
It’s not easy to live with someone. You learn each other’s daily habits. And some of those habits can be disgusting or annoying. You have to learn to compromise when habits aren’t healthy for a relationship. And, you both have to learn how to talk to each other. Adding children to the mix creates more complications to work around.
Marriage, and living under the same roof, is a huge test of your abilities to communicate effectively and learn how to support each other.
And love? Well, you start questioning what that word even means at some point.
After our first baby, we were tested in so many ways. I know I’m lucky my husband chose to stick it out and I (eventually) wised up enough to make some changes instead of being stubborn.
After the first year with our new baby, I realized just how little I knew about marriage. And, as we’ve experienced 10 years of marriage, I’ve definitely learned that marriage has less to do with love than it does to our commitment to each other.
Love experiences transitions. It changes in strength and character over time. It waxes and wanes and must be tended to differently over the years for love to continue.
The mutual attraction or infatuation a couple initially experiences when they “fall in love” will eventually fade. It won’t altogether disappear, but it changes, none-the-less. After that, you’re left with the feelings that he/she is mine and I am his/hers. We are on a journey through life together.
A marriage changes in character after love changes its shape. But, it’s up to the couple how their marriage will change once the infatuation period is over.
How Is It That Marriage Changes Over Time?
As I see it, once the infatuation period is over, it’s time to get down to the serious business of love. More important than how marriage changes over time is how couples handle the changes.
One couple may begin regretting the marriage after seeing each other through the infatuation phase. When the excitement or newness wears off, couples may think the relationship has run its course. Couples who find themselves seeking to get out of their relationships may be thinking “I made a mistake”, “I want my freedom”, or “I’m not happy with this person.” They may wish to search for someone better and eventually this leads to a broken marriage.
This process is “I” centered and will never work in making a strong, happy marriage. Nor is this way of thinking ever going to lead to a deeper love.
Other couples may continue in their marriage, honoring their vows. They continue on in their marriage, choosing to make a life together. At this point, the couple is choosing to care for each other.
On this course, couples who choose to stay in love and be there to care for each other are on the path to a lifelong marriage.
The thing about real marriages, is that we have to set aside our selfish desires sometimes. We have to learn to respect human beings. We have to think about the destruction that takes place by frequent marriage and divorce.
We could have easily parted ways when times got tough. I could have remained stubborn to do things my way and let my husband walk. My health problems could have turned my husband away from me. Instead, we chose to continue loving and respecting each other. We learned to communicate more, compromise more, and grow up even more. And we’re choosing to do it together.
By developing the ability to commit to care for each other can surely help in making a marriage last longer. And though you may not see your love like it was in the beginning, you will see, through commitment, that this love is deeper and more valuable than the day you said I do.