OK I acknowledge the article I am posting here may not be exactly the thing you want to read so close to Valentine’s day (or your wedding day!) but no doubt many of you reading this article will silently agree somewhere inside of you with some aspects of it. The truth is marriage goes through many stages and cycles and that’s OK. That’s life. Sometimes however, it’s a nice idea to take some time to go down memory lane together and to remind each other of the stories that involved how and why you fell in love. A nice time to do that is actually during the ceremony building process. In my work as a Humanist Officiant with couples where I build personalized wedding ceremonies that weave a couple’s story or narrative throughout the ceremony, I ask couples to take that trip together. Couples repeatedly tell me the process of having to discuss their story and the evolution of their coupling with each other and with me works as a lovely reminder of why they got together in the first place and why they still care for each other — despite all of life’s challenges. This is especially true for couples who have been together for many years before getting married. Enjoy the article and take your own trip down memory lane! Ask yourself: What’s your story?
(Article is also below)
By: Sara Dimerman Special to the Star, Published on Fri Feb 13 2015
My husband and I were one of three couples dining out at our favourite restaurant. As the waitress took each of our orders, the others were engaged in lively conversation. So, when she returned 10 minutes later with three appetizers for our table, most of us thought that she had gotten our order confused. That was until one of the husbands piped up that he had ordered the dishes for us to share. We all gushed with appreciation over his generosity. Well, mostly all of us. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught his wife give him an evil eye. Her look said “wait until we get home.”
Later, I remembered a conversation she and I had shared a couple of years previously. At that time, they had just begun dating. She used adjectives such as “generous” and “thoughtful” to describe him. She found these to be such redeeming qualities. So, what changed?
Well, back when they were dating and each of them had separate piggy banks, she was appreciative of the gifts he gave her. She loved being wined and dined and getting whisked away overnight to spa hotels. Now that they were married and pooling their income to pay rent and household expenses, she wasn’t so keen on him ordering appetizers for the table or a round of drinks for his buddies. Over time what she once described as generous, she had begun to call foolish and irresponsible.
This got me thinking about how once admired and respected traits in our partners change after we’re living together or married.
You saw her at a party and were immediately attracted to her magnetic personality. She was the life of the party and you were honoured that she spent most of the evening with you. You began dating and said that she was always fun to be around. But now that you’re living together, you’re not so happy to be in her shadow and call her a show off.
You admired his work ethic. He started at the bottom and proved his worth to the higher ups. You respected that he put work ahead of play and liked that he appeared stable and secure. Now you’re married, you argue about how many hours he devotes to his work. You feel that you’re less important and never his priority. There’s very little time for play and even then, it’s not much fun.
You loved her dedication to her parents and siblings. You enjoyed being part of her family’s fold and that they are so close to one another. But after you moved in together, you began wondering whether her umbilical cord was even cut.
Why is it that the same qualities we find so impressive or endearing when dating, become repulsive and frustrating when we’re living together or married to that same person. It’s typically not because he or she has changed, so why do we reframe their once perceived positive qualities so differently?
Sometimes, a shift in how you see someone is as a result of normal changes that occur over time in a longer standing relationship. So, although you thought that he was funny (in a good way) at first, you’ve heard the same jokes a million times and can’t bear to hear them anymore.
Another reason may be because you have gotten to know him or her better or differently and what seemed attractive at first, is no longer.
For example, even though you first appreciated her close knit family, you’ve come to see it as extreme. While his or her behaviour may not have changed, it affects you differently over time. So, generosity may still be a quality you admire, you want him to curb his spending habits according to lifestyle changes such as becoming parents and having children to feed, clothe and send to camp. You want him to adjust his spending habits over time, but he seems unable to. This makes you feel resentful and as though you’re not on the same team.
If you’re living with or married to someone who no longer appears as dreamy and desirable as he or she once did, try this: Close your eyes and think back to your first meeting, first date and first kiss. Remember what it was that first attracted you to your partner and try to recapture some of those old feelings. Remind yourself why you were attracted to him or her and consider what’s changed. Is he or she really so different or has time and life circumstance gotten in the way? Then, let your partner know what it is that you still love about him or her, be honest about what you’d like to see changed and why.
Sara Dimerman is a psychologist and author. Her latest book, “Why Married Couples Don’t Have Sex … At least not with each other!” published by Simon & Schuster, is on shelves Feb. 24. follow on Twitter @helpmesara