Happy Relationships Blog

When your spouse makes a drastic life change

Posted on: January 22, 2009

Hello

I am just now getting back to my blog.  I wanted to begin by posting a media inquiry that I responded to recently on the challenges when your spouse makes a drastic life change.  See below:
For an article I’m writing for CNN.com, I’m seeking both nationally known relationship experts as well as “real” people to talk about this topic: when the person you married or fell in love with makes a drastic life change. Perhaps she used to love burgers, but then became a strict vegan and now pushes tofu down your throat. Or maybe he was an anything-goes kind of guy, but five years into the marriage became a Scientologist. Or maybe your wife used to be carefree about the environment, and now she’s militant about recycling *everything*. I’m looking for both the light and serious side of what happens when you wake up and realize the person you love has changed in significant ways.

In positive relationships, as individuals within a marriage grow and develop new interests, hobbies, outlooks on life, religion, etc both get to live through this change in a positive manner where the change is understood and most importantly, appreciated.  Obviously, the change is within one of the two and it is important that this change not be enforced onto the other, because the change is intended for one, not both. 

Problems, though, occur within the negative relationship when this change is used as a further wedge between the two, a wedge that had already been developed with the other unresolved issues within the marriage.  Then it becomes another brick in the path of the destruction of the marriage. 

Then it becomes a, or quite possibly the, issue that finally pushes the couple apart to the point of the thud of complacency within negative marriages, or divorce.  Then it becomes a problem. 

What is needed in this situation is to understand and appreciate the changes within the individual. 

For example, if one of the two within a marriage decides to become much more religious, then the other partner needs to understand this as part of the maturing process, and accept and appreciate this change.  The one who has found religion cannot enforce this change onto the other.  Then it becomes a wedge in the relationship.  

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