“I was like this before we married, so why are you trying to change me now?”
Have you heard these words before? Maybe you have even said them. There are some behaviors we learn about our spouses after we say the vows, and then there are other behaviors that can’t be labeled as surprises. If we are honest with ourselves, we knew our spouses’ issues and idiosyncrasies before we got married. So why do we trip when they are just being themselves? Did we really think marriage was going to change them instantly?
It’s so important for anyone who plans to marry to understand that a marriage certificate doesn’t change a person. Whatever the nagging behavior is, it will not disappear now that you are husband and wife. If your spouse was like that before you said “I do,” then he/she will be like that when you return from the honeymoon.
Many couples get into tense arguments and long battles over behaviors that were present in the dating stage. Here are a few examples:
Your husband spends more time watching television than he does talking with you. It seems like “Sports Center” is on the television when you wake up in the morning and when you go to sleep at night. While dating, you knew he was a sports fan, and you even spent hundreds of dollars on tickets and sports memorabilia for his birthday. You beamed with pride when your man opened his gift! But now that you are married, you expect him to redirect his passion for sports into a passion for talking to you.
Or maybe your husband refuses to help with the housework. All you can get him to do is take out the trash and mow the lawn. But why should he do more when you, his former girlfriend, cleaned his apartment and even washed his clothes. Back then you were trying to prove you were “wife material,” but now that you are a wife, you feel there’s nothing left to prove. You got the man; now the man needs to get to work around the house.
Husbands, your wife rarely cooks, and you are craving some soul food right about now. While dating you frequented trendy restaurants and only ate home cooked meals on holidays. Now you are left preparing dinner yourself or eating curbside to-go. It was cool to wine and dine your girl then, but now that you are married, you want to hear some pots banging in the kitchen.
Or maybe your wife is a career woman. She is driven to succeed and earn her own money. While dating, you liked her ambition and the fact that she wasn’t a so-called “gold digger.” That was appealing to you then, but now that you are married, you would prefer she climb down from the career ladder and look to you as the main provider.
All of these scenarios can be worked out with communication, honesty, and compromise. And I do believe both spouses must change some of their behaviors in order to truly become “one” in marriage. But it takes time. The reality is, too, some behaviors may never change. Your husband may never put his clothes in the laundry and his shoes in the closet. Your wife may never fall in love with cooking. When this happens, you have to ask yourself, does it really matter in the big picture? What are the qualities I fell in love with before we married, and how can I magnify those more than the others? After all, I knew this about my spouse before we married, so why am I trippin’?
Now, I know some of you are wondering about more serious behaviors that affect a marriage, such as cheating, abuse, addiction, lying, etc. I’m not suggesting you laugh these off. Serious, life-threatening behaviors require professional help. Get the help you need.
But when it comes to not so serious matters, some things we have to either live with or develop a process to bring about change. Whatever the case, we might as well stop trippin’ and start focusing on what we love about each other.
Do you need to stop trippin’ about something and just accept it or be patient?