In this series:
1. When Expectations Meet Reality
2. Why Isn’t Marriage the Way I Thought It Would Be?
3. Why Isn’t My Wife the Person I Thought She Was?
4. Viewing Your Wife in a New Light
5. Why Isn’t My Husband the Person I Thought He Was?

  1. Viewing Your Husband in a New Light
    7. Did I Marry the Wrong Person?
    8. How Can I Change My Spouse?

It’s also true that in many ways your husband hasn’t changed, but you now view him differently. There are three reasons for that.

Time. The longer you’re married, the more time you have to observe your spouse’s behaviour. You see things that weren’t as noticeable back then.

Distance. You now see him up close. There’s no end to the date, no "See you next week." The artificial nature of dating keeps many behaviours concealed. You currently see him when he’s hungry and tired. Women may have their "time of month," but men have their "time of day." When his stomach is empty you may see a whole new side of your man you never knew existed.

Desire. You viewed your husband during courtship as you wanted to see him. We tend to construct a person in our minds to match the excitement we want to feel. We mentally create that person in a way that will make us happiest.

So the question becomes, "What do I do now that I’ve found out he’s different from the way I thought he was?"

Debating whether he misrepresented himself or you misread him won’t solve anything. Here are three actions you can take.

1. Choose to love him. We’re told in Ephesians 5:32 that marriage reflects the relationship between Christ and the church. There are inadequacies in the church, yet Christ still loves her.

2. Look at how you may have changed as well. Jesus warns in Matthew 7:1-2 that the yardstick we use to judge others will be used to measure us, too.

3. Realise that you may have legitimate concerns. Voice them to your husband in a constructive way with the hope that he’ll be willing to work toward change — or at least understand your concerns.

Remember Erica? She was surprised when the counsellor wasn’t willing to "fix" Jim. It wasn’t that he didn’t recognise the need for changes in Jim’s working and spending habits. But the counsellor also saw that Erica was mostly trying to control her man.

As Erica worked with the therapist, she saw how she had become less expressive and more withdrawn over time. She began learning ways to communicate her frustrations to Jim in a manner that didn’t leave him feeling disrespected.

Erica found that as she and Jim showed more kindness and care toward each other, her feelings toward him deepened. She didn’t necessarily feel the same romance as when they courted; but she sensed her love was more mature than it had been before.

© 2006 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Originally published in Focus on the Family’s Complete Guide to the First Five Years of Marriage published by Tyndale House Publishers.

Next in this Series: Did I Marry the Wrong Person?

Glenn Lutjens

Glenn Lutjens, a licensed marriage and family therapist, is a Focus on the Family counsellor, helping people address life’s challenges and marital opportunities in a balanced manner. He also maintains a private practice in Colorado Springs. Glenn and his wife, Elizabeth, have been married 26 years and have three children.

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