Change is inevitable, and even with the best intention in the world, couples will grow closer and further apart because of it.
Are we taking on more than is reasonable when we couple-up with someone? Is all change acceptable? Are there better ways to make it work when we’re out of synch? What about discomfort created by one of us changing?
Kregg and I take a big-picture look.
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Coupling up is an optimistic act for the future, moderated by expectations. No matter how clear our vision of the ideal mate, we still have to deal with the reality, a real person.
Real people change. Time and events modify the way we see pretty much everything, including ourselves, and part of sticking with someone is awareness of actual and perceived change.
One of my hopes is for someone who understands this change phenomenon, and how we’re both going to be different tomorrow from today, next year from this. Life is deceptive in this area, because we think we view life changing around us while we remain solidly anchored, like someone watching a movie. In fact, we’re all changing in different ways all the time, at different speeds. No material entity has a permanent mooring; that’s the job of spiritual pursuits.
Not all change will be good, naturally. Finding ways to communicate that we’re noticing things move along, both inside and outside the relationship, might be one of those critical foundational functions that make it easier to stick together.
Notice and report. Communication and feedback.
Eavesdropping on conversations is unavoidable. If people choose to talk at a volume and distance from me that makes this so, then so be it…I’m in.
I listen for a specific kind of exchange, one that engages my natural snoop – the way people who are either dating or coupled talk to each other. My natural inclination is to put a lot of store in the subtleties of verbal communication because it is a short-cut to the attitudes of those involved.
Style is my weakness. Tone, emphasis and body language are fascinating to me because they’re at least as important as the spoken words. You know the thing:
Yeah, I think you’re doing the right thing.
Oh, yeah, that’s the right thing to do.
Are two opposite messages. Couples often have their own mode of communicating, from which I learn how good couples work and how the others do it.