I’ve only been married for 20 months. But already. In that short amount of time. I’ve changed. I’m different than I was when we said “I Do”.
And no, it’s not because I have a husband who didn’t “love me exactly the way I am.”
It’s because I have a husband who only wants to see me grow. To see me thrive. To see me experience deeper relationships, more fulfilling days, and more confidence in myself and my abilities. He’s not going to leave me right where I am. And THAT, in my opinion, is one of the most loving things a spouse can do.
I know that Kyle didn’t say “I Do” with a secret list of all the qualities that he was going to try and get me to work on. I know that because I didn’t either. I don’t have a list of things that I think he needs to change in order for me to love him, or in order for our marriage to work. I love him. Plain and simple. No exceptions. No exclusions. All of him.
There is a richness and depth added to relationships over time. The experiences that you go through together, the storms of life as well as the joys add so much to a relationship. And I think the more your spouse sees you at your best and at your worst, the deeper the relationship will become. Kyle has been right there. In the trenches. In the hard moments. But also in all of the good moments. Mountain tops and valleys.
I have been a people pleaser forever. And there have been moments where I have said “yes” to things that I knew I didn’t want to do, just because I was afraid of saying no.
Marriage Kyle has helped me change that. He’s stood by me when I have been waffling on making a decision and pushed me to say what I wanted, rather than what I felt like I should say.
I don’t ever want to get to a place where I stop learning and stop growing. I know people like that. Old dogs who don’t want to learn new tricks. And its hard to be friends with them. Because in a way, that feels selfish to me. If I NEVER try and change, or grow, or learn from my mistakes, I am being selfish. It’s like saying, “I know I might be rude, world. DEAL WITH IT.”
Ummmmm. No, not okay. That’s not how I was raised anyway. Bye, Felicia.
So when Kyle looks at me when I am waffling, and says, “Babe, do you REALLY want to say yes? or are you just afraid of saying no?” I want to hear him, and actually listen. To realize, this is a habit that I have had for a lot of years, but he is willing to ask those questions if it will help me break it. He is willing to be here through the process, because he knows at the end it will BENEFIT me. He doesn’t expect me to do this alone. And that is someone I can trust.
And no, I’m not talking about changing everything about yourself or anything like that, or love that comes with conditions. Because at the end of the day, Kyle’s love will not change based on my behavior. That’s not really love. But let’s be honest and say that when I am 40, I probably will be a little different than I am now at 26. Life will have taught me things. Kids will have taught me things. Marriage will have taught me more things. And I am going to try to be a good learner.
I’m not saying that challenging your spouse to change and grow should be done over e-mail with a subject line : Work on This.
It should be done shoulder to shoulder. Working and growing together. Committing not only to love each other, but to challenge each other. I want that kind of depth in my marriage. I want a spouse who knows me well enough to not let the things I struggle with stay there for years and years. If I had a giant piece of broccoli in my teeth, I want a husband honest enough to not let me leave it there. The same goes with my impatience and insecurity. I want a husband who will ask the hard questions so I don’t leave things in my life that are only hurting me.
So Here’s my best advice. For any relationship.
“Never stop learning. Never stop growing. Never stop changing into the best version of your self.”
I want a marriage like that.
I want to be a good learner.
A good apologizer.
A good forgiver.
A good communicator.
A good teammate.
A good encourager.
A good friend.
A good listener.
A better version of myself next year than I am today.
And I am willing to change some things to get me there.