We all change. Happy couples have the special challenge of managing their individual changes in ways that are sensitive to the other’s willingness, readiness, and/or desire to change too.
Why does one have to change just because the other does? They don’t … except they DO.
Here’s a one-sentence tutorial: As a two-human-system, one member of a couple will, no choice, affect the other whether they intentionally try to or not. Here’s a one-sentence example (which might sound familiar since it grew out of a story in What Happy Couples Do): shifting from the rather flat “Oh, hi” or silence when your spouse walks in the end-of-the-day door to “Hello o’ beautiful spouse of mine! How was your day?” … the dynamic changes even though only one of you changed your greeting. Get it?
For a real-time example: A change we’re making in our house and marriage – right now – is shifting from pretty darn healthy eating to pretty-crazy-super-clean-eating. Evidence: A shot of our newly-stocked all-organic-grains/nuts/fruits pantry and the mountain of goodness on our counter after our CSA arrived the other day:
(NOTE: don’t hate me because I have a label-maker).
Back to the change. We are, for sure, 1) getting older, 2) getting smarter (about food and the environment), and 3) did I mention we’re getting older? Oh, and then there’s 4) we really like being a couple and raising our two cool kids, so we’d like to do it for a really-lot longer. Four great reasons to change – together.
While I (Carol) am typically at the helm of the food ship in our house, past attempts to significantly change our family’s eating patterns have been met with one or all of: “GROSS! Mom! You expect us to actually eat that?” and/or “Honey, how much does organic milk cost?” and/or “Can’t we just have tater tots this one special night?” (No! That is GROSS.)
This time, as we shift to as much local, seasonal, dark and leafy, high-nutrient clean foods, my spouse has been fully on board. He even likes the kale-spinach smoothies (thanks for the recipe, neighbor pal Deborah). Crazy what 20 years of marriage will do! And how much happier and relationship-ly healthy it is when two people can change simultaneously.
P.S. 2 points if you can, without re-reading this blog, guess how many times I wrote the word “change” in this blog post? There just isn’t a good synonym in this context. Oh, and 3 points if you happened to have noticed the Happy Couple Company very hip diner mugs and wine/juice glasses in the background of the veggie photo. Not intentional. But I love it when that happens.