Time is a funny thing. Some days feel like they just fly by and others tend to drag on and on and on. Murphy’s law typically dictates that the dragging on and on days happen mostly when we are doing something we simply loathe. It would seem that sixty minutes would feel the same each time the next sixty minutes rolled around. But that is why time is a funny thing. People are funny like that, too. The same two individuals who meet and fall hopelessly, madly in love will hardly resemble the same two people madly in love fifty years later. Or two years later in the throws of a courtroom break-up.
Just like time, we change. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because evolving into the best person we can be is the goal. The trick in a relationship is evolving together. This is where things get complicated. I am not talking about ‘when the honeymoon is over’ and the ‘rose colored glasses’ come off kind of thing. I am referring to fundamental changes. “Honey, I told you that I didn’t want kids, but as it turns out, I would like to have five children.” Or, “Hey babe, I have decided to quit my job at the bank and put a rock and roll band together. Me and the guys can rehearse right here in the living room!” GULP
As humans, we weave in and out of moods, phases, expectations and dreams constantly. Therefore, if you signed up for a relationship with the full intention of having no children, the notion of five is going to be a very, very, very long discussion. As a couple, you will compromise and find a way to make each person happy, or you won’t.
One person might find it wonderful that her currently stuffy, uptight conservative husband quit his banking job to be in a band and follow his dreams…while another could see that as the most ridiculous decision imaginable—literally laughing out loud in his face. And in the course of a long shelf life of love, change will happen a lot.
It is so important to ask yourself, ‘Am I being selfish here? I mean he really is a good guitar player!’ Now this is not to say that you have to cave into this whim, but it is a conversation that deserves to be discussed with respect. Because regardless of how ridiculous it might seem to you, it is your responsibility to consider your partners’ dreams. Perhaps together you can come up with a happy medium. Weekend gigs! Where you can sit in the front row being his favorite groupie! Hey, who knows, you just might fall in love all over again seeing that guitar being flung all over that stage with sweat trickling from his balding head. Never mind that his big belly gets in the way of the guitar every now again. He’ll be sexy to you! In this example, his “ridiculous” dream just might have rekindled something that was missing for you both. He will love you for supporting him. It might even make that banking job that he hates more enjoyable.
All of this because you chose to be supportive of even the most outlandish wish you could imagine. It’s very hard not to be selfish in these moments, but if you were to interview one hundred precious couples that have lasted for fifty years, they would no doubt have a long list of “he wanted to quit the bank and be in a rock band” moments. And who knows how many wonderful families were created from couples that began the relationship wanting no kiddos. Probably a lot more that we realize. Because those old folks know that supporting change is one of the great secrets to a loving, long lasting relationship.
However, Mister Man…if you are reading this, you are never, ever, ever allowed to quit your job and be in a rock band. And we will never have five children. I’m just sayin’.