One of the biggest changes a person can choose to make is going from single to married. As single adults, many of us have spent years establishing our independence, our own ways of doing things, our own habits, traditions, plans, and dreams. Then we marry, and we go from independence and hopefully to interdependence—but that’s not easy. The changes in lifestyle are huge, and they impact us for the rest of our lives.
The excitement of change and the challenge of change as you move from season to season in your married life are abundant. But no matter how much you plan for change and anticipate all that’s good ahead of you, adjustments are inevitable.
Yet when we bump up against any kind of change, our natural inclination is to react, respond, and resist. And we usually fall back into our familiar patterns of behavior. Yet when you don’t understand your reactions or the differences in personality, gender, and culture, the normal adjustments are compounded by disappointment and hurt.
As we learn how we’re wired and consciously make the adjustments we need to make, we will have the tools to go through unexpected surprises more productively. And then we can usually come to a place of being able to release the former thing—singleness—and accept the change—married life—with a bit more grace. It isn’t easy, but if we understand what’s going on, we can more effectively deal with the feelings of disillusionment, frustration, and fear, and we can avoid hurting each other in the process.
Initially, we need to give ourselves permission to adjust to the change. If it’s a smaller thing, it might just take a few minutes or hours. If it’s a big thing, like adjusting to married life, it might take weeks or months to walk through each of these steps. That’s the value of premarital preparation—or any preparation for a big change. It gives you understanding and tools to work through some of the emotional and psychological challenges of adjusting to the situation before you’re in the heat of the moment.
We also need to trust God and rely on the wisdom of others—whether it’s through books, through classes or small groups, or through a mentor. Though change isn’t easy, it can help to have caring people walk with you through your journey.
For more about preparing for and adjusting to married life, check out The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness and Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage. Copyright © 2013, all rights reserved.
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