Sure, marriage is made up of two individuals, but that doesn’t mean they won’t become more and more like each other over the years.
The notion of opposites attracting is a popular one. We yearn to feel like we bring a different and unique perspective to our husband’s life that ultimately complements him, and even completes him in a way – that we’re the yin to his yang, the peanut butter to his jelly. Being our husband’s opposite offers us a sense of strength and purpose in our individuality.
But along with what we can add to him, we relish the thought of being given access to a person so wildly different from us, so foreign to anything we’ve ever known, and left to understand them and appreciate their differences. It’s sort of thrilling to embark on the adventure of decoding and comprehending someone nothing like us.
So it’s not hard to understand why the idea of opposites attracting would be so, well, attractive to us. However, interestingly enough, it’s been found that couples actually tend to become more and more like each other as the years pass, instead of continuing to function as total opposites forever.
But is this a good thing or a bad thing? Shouldn’t we want to maintain our unique selves within our marriage, or should we embrace becoming more like our spouse?
First, Let’s Talk About What It Means To Become More Like Your Spouse
The mere thought of a couple becoming more alike conjures up images of matching tracksuits, strikingly similar haircuts, and laughs that can’t be told apart anymore, their cadence and timbre having melded into one after laughing at one too many sitcoms together over the years. These images of a couple that act more like the Bobbsey twins than anything else understandably strikes fear into hearts.
Marriage is made up of two individuals who have a deep, inescapable, lasting effect on each other.
But really, this isn’t what should be thought of when we talk about a couple that’s grown like each other. In actuality, this is in reference to a couple whose concerns, values, and temperaments have continued to align closer to one another’s over the years, creating a relationship that’s based on lasting love and personal ideals. This can range from small habits, like looking at reviews before choosing which product to order instead of making a gut choice, to larger characteristics, like becoming more tactful or health-conscious.
When It’s Actually Healthy To Become More Alike
Being total opposites in a relationship sounds romantic and exhilarating to begin with, but being married to someone who’s our complete opposite isn't just ultimately a bad match, it’s exhausting. Our differences over trivial things like whether to order pizza or Chinese, or if being a morning or night person reigns supreme, are manageable; but once building an actual life with this person becomes a reality, things change.
A spouse isn’t meant to be our opposite on every level – if we’re supposed to create a life, raise children, and take on the rest of our days with someone, it’s in our best interest to become so familiar with their perspective that it almost feels like our own. It’s only natural to eventually become united on bigger, deeper issues, and to become more and more similar in our ways of thinking.
When Being Alike Isn’t a Good Thing
This isn’t to say it’s necessary or even healthy to lose our sense of self in marriage. It’s an unfortunate reality that for many, on their quest to achieve a harmonious, in-sync marriage, they either allow their spouse to inform them of how and what to think beyond what’s healthy influence, or give up their autonomy themselves for the sake of peace and stability.
This leads us to lose ourselves completely in the shadow of our marriage and function as an extension of our spouse rather than as an individual who might not always agree with the person we married.
A marriage doesn’t require perpetual smooth sailing to be a good one.
Differences in marriage aren’t just inevitable, but can be healthy for us – it challenges us, as well as our spouse, to engage in difficult discussions respectfully, communicate effectively, and serves as a reminder that a marriage doesn’t require smooth sailing to be a good one.
It’s Best That We Choose Carefully
If the commitment of marriage already wasn’t something to run at top speed into, the reality that we’ll pick up some of the habits, opinions, reactions, and values of our spouse certainly takes it from pretty serious to exceedingly serious. With this in mind, it’s in our best interest to choose carefully and wisely.
Our spouse, and who they are, has a direct impact on the person we are, the person we’re becoming, and the people our children will one day be. A marriage is technically made up of two individuals, but they’re two individuals who have a deep, inescapable, lasting effect on each other. This is what makes it all the more crucial that we consider, before getting married, if our significant other exhibits virtuous behavior, holds values we respect, and leads a life that we want ours to look like.
It’s true – we really do become more like our spouse as the years march by, but this can actually be a gift. Choosing our spouse wisely allows us to fully embrace our growing similarities.
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