When Growing Old Together Starts Out Young
Many things change in a marriage over time, especially if a couple decides to marry young. Divorce is common, and a reason behind those “irreconcilable differences” could simply be the fact that one or both spouses feel that those changes aren’t reversible. Isn't that to be expected, though? Every year brings different situations that can drastically alter someone's world view and desires. These alterations usually happen slowly, and may even go unnoticed at first.
It's no secret that marriage takes work, and lots of it. Saying that those who marry young are unwise isn't true for people that are willing to work hard at growing old together. What is unwise is when a couple tries to morph into the same person over time, as is often seen. In an effort to start their marriage together, the two people try to adapt themselves to each other by blending all they can of their lives. It is vital that each person takes on hobbies and interests totally independent of the other, as not to lose themselves along the way. Doing this without growing apart is simple, but definitely not easy.
The most important thing to remember is to keep your spouse plugged in. Share experiences with them and let them have a part in it, even if it's just to observe. Not only does this keep good conversation and communication alive in the young marriage, but it lets the other person enjoy the experience in their own way. If a particular hobby happens to bore the spouse it might be more difficult, but they should still be included in new developments or creations. Even when there is no true interest in the activity itself, couples can still discuss their crafts and share in the excitement. One may love cars as the other loves reading; while neither personally enjoys the other activity, there is still positive exchange taking place.
This sort of communication does several things for a marriage. First, it tells your spouse that you still find them interesting and want to be a part of who they are becoming. Next, it helps each person learn to listen better and appreciate the other’s desires and see what excites them. Last, but not least, the sharing of experiences helps strengthen the connection to the way your spouse is growing and changing. Five to ten years from now, nobody is looking back and saying, "Who are you again? And why am I supposed to love you?" This is known to happen frequently when a couple marries young and feels they have grown too far apart over time.
Remember that people stay true to themselves at the core, even over time. Of course, there are instances where drugs, mental issues, and physical trauma may alter a personality, and in these situations there are no absolutes. In most circumstances, it takes a lot to make someone’s values and opinions change. Even when it seems like there is nothing in common between two people anymore, the basics of who they are will remain intact.
It is vital for you to communicate, often and always; even if it feels like a chore at times. Let your other half know what makes you tick and why you love the things that make you who you are. Give them a chance to appreciate it and you. It's important that this part of your marriage gets checked on frequently, or else it gets harder and harder to recapture. Don't let who you are becoming turn into a mystery, or there won't be any mystery to why it didn't work.
What age were you when you got married?