Let me ask you a simple question:  Are you the same person you were 20 years ago?

If you’re like most people, the answer will be “NO”.

After all, with each passing year we grow, we learn, we change. It’s all part of the journey, right? And that’s exactly what we are supposed to do!

Your spiritual views will evolve; your understanding of politics, social issues and environmental concerns will grow; your definition of what you want in life and who you want to become will become clearer (and sometimes more confused) with each passing year and may change several times.

Suddenly something your parents told you when you were a teenager will actually make sense and you will find wisdom and inspiration in the most unusual and exciting places.

And when you’re married you’ll discover your spouse is going through the exact same thing!

They may express those changes differently, or not at all, but you can be certain as they add more candles to their birthday cake they are going to see the world a little differently than when the two of you fell in love.

Some couples wake up one morning to discover the person they are married to is not the exact same person they stood on the altar with.

And, they sort of freak out.

They kind of think there might be something wrong because things are not exactly the same as when you first started dating.

And, if they don’t realize this is all completely normal they tend to give energy to the feeling of “wrong-ness” which can take on a life of its own…and take the marriage to a very unhappy place…

However…change where the magic really happens!

Because guess what? You are changing too. And when you can travel that journey together with complete confidence the other person will accept you and have your back…that’s empowering. You realize they really meant those words…“for better or worse.”

There is such a sense of freedom as you each explore your life and this whole growing up thing.

Yes, there are going to be some important core values you each shared in the beginning. And often it’s those core shared values, and not the external appearances alone, that keep your marriage strong.

Strong enough to hold you together through all that “construction.”

Don’t be afraid of change.

Even if it means you completely tear down the house and rebuild an even better home on the solid foundation of your marriage. The key is to talk about it.

Speak the truth…even if your voice shakes…

It can be scary to open yourself up and express what you’re feeling or what you’re afraid of in your marriage. Yet I have always said the best person to talk to when you have a question or concern in your marriage, is your spouse.

Think about it, in a successful business partnership, the two principals communicate effectively to get things done for the good of the business. Marriage needs the same sort of communication. Don’t bury the problem, or be so anxious about the answer you might get to a question or concern you have, that you avoid talking about it.

You can’t solve a problem you don’t know exists

You have to talk to each other. Sometimes it’s fear of the unknown that causes more trouble than the actual “thing” you’re concerned about.

Get it out there.

Put the cards on the table.

Listen completely to each other’s point of view and then move forward from there.

And don’t forget the most important part of all of this…

Be Playful!

In even our most intense disagreements, we still laugh and crack jokes. That simple little act not only breaks up the tension, but also tells your partner “It’s ok”….this is something we can totally handle because we are in this together and we are building something AMAZING!

Our marriage, our life together, is a work in progress and I’m not afraid of a little dirt.