I'm in love! I'm in love! And I don't care who knows it!
My husband and I have now been married four years, and I sometimes cannot believe how ridiculously fortunate I am to have married Rob.
He is kind, considerate, full of love, and even though he is incredibly different than the man I married, I am thankful for every day that we have together.
When you start to realize that people change
When I was a child, and a teenager, and embarrassingly even as a young adult, I thought that eventually adults grow up and then they are done. They stop changing. I blame this fallacy on the fact that my parents have legitmately become better looking over time, and the fact that they hashed decisions in private before informing us kids of their life altering choices.
Still, it seems painfully obvious that they changed, but I was just too narcissistic to see the changes. A woman doesn't go through three prenancies and a miscarriage unchanged. Parents don't adopt two kids and remain unchanged. You don't switch from math teacher to consultant to running a muti-million dollar company and remain unchanged. Of course, my parents changed, but I didn't see it happening.
However, in my own life, I am keenly aware of my own changes and of Rob's too. Moving away from our families has changed us. Our friends have changed us. Our economic circumstances have changed us, and of course becoming parents has changed us. Thankfully, when it comes to Rob, almost all the changes have been for the better (the one exception being that he now acts like an old man in the morning due to back pain).
Married people are allowed to change too!
When Rob and I committed to a life together, we had no earthly idea what we were getting ourselves into. We only knew that we wanted to figure life out together. And even though I knew that, I don't think I ever expected the hopeless romantic that I married to change (is it weird that a scientist is a hopeless romantic because I've found it's true with most of his scientist friends too).
However, Rob has changed. He's more considerate of me than when we first married, and probably has fewer expectations of me. He's gone from being in a lackluster career to having a career drive that I never thought possible. To my great delight, my husband has also shifted from a more passive participant in our marriage to an initiative taker.
Of course, I've changed too. Probably in ways that aren't nearly as productive as Rob's changes, but he has graciously adapted to my shift in personal desires and temperment, in a way that shows me that he is as committed to me as ever.
Married people change. Rob and I changed, but it doesn't mean that we married different people, or that we're suddenly incompatible. Rather, a huge part of our marriage has been encouraging one another to change, while growing in our committment to each other.
Embracing change leads to healthier marriages and better financial health
It's nearly impossible to predict how we will change over time, and it's even more difficult to predict how our spouse will change. Just when you think you know everything about your spouse, they'll start folding the laundry without being asked (Sexy!).
When we stop believing that everything has to stay the same all the time, we really free ourselves to grow healthy productive marriages.
Before we moved down to North Carolina, Rob and I never discussed whether or not I could be a stay at home mom. We never discussed buying a fixer upper. We never discussed more kids, or even how much money we wanted to spend on a regular basis. We didn't discuss these things because they weren't on our radar. It wasn't until we changed as individuals and as a couple that we realized that we had new dreams to pursue.
If Rob and I want a healthy marriage (and we do), we need to be prepared for these changes. It is a gracious demonstration of love to allow and even accomodate changes in someone else's personal desires. Rob didn't know that I would want to stay home with our kids, but he is willing to make many sacrifices (up to terminating his degree pursuits if necessary).
If Rob graduates and then suddenly doesn't want to work in the materials science field then we need to work together to figure out how our income and life will need to work out.
When we can accept how little we know about our own and our spouse's future desires, we can counterintuitively better prepare for them. We can prepare for the unplanned adventures, and react more quickly than if we're committed to a single path for the rest of our life. We can show our commitment to each other by embracing relationships above plans.
When I think about the intersection between our money and our marriage, I am very, very thankful to be married to a man who doesn't believe in building wealth for the sake of building wealth, and who is able to adapt to changes. He and I have changed a lot of our aspirations, but we are commited to managing our finances in a manner that makes our lives and the lives of others better. Whether we are richer or poorer, we can work on sharing our life vision, and growing more and more in love.
I'm a wife, a mom, an employee, and a personal finance nerd who is devoted to spreadsheeting my way through life.