Perspective: Changing for Your Spouse

I’m sure there’s a ton of mumbo jumbo out there about how people should not change in order to satisfy their partner, but in the real world, some adjustments have to be made. I suppose there are some fundamental qualities which are sacred to the individual and should remain exempt, but there are many others which just aren’t a big deal.

I struck oil when I met my wife, as she’s not to the type to ask for much at all, almost to a fault, but one day she asked me why I never looked at restaurant servers when they came by our table. Knowing I object to their awful wages, she explained that looking at them while they speak to you would be very humanizing as well, and asked if I would try it. I don’t know if she’s right, since my psychic powers have not yet dropped, but I do know that I was willing to learn to do as she said and that I’m happier for it now that it is a habit. If they’ve got a name tag, I even try to call them by it.

Another request she later made was that I be more patient while driving, and let people in on busy roads. People trying to turn out of parking lots onto some major traffic veins never had a friend in me, but when I made the adjustment my wife requested I found that my driving mood improved significantly.

In ten years, here are three other simple requests which have taken the journey from her brain to her mouth:

  1. No mobile phone use at the dinner table.
  2. Shoes go in the shoebox, not wherever you are when you decide to remove them.
  3. Never wear a pair of socks two days in a row, they’re a pain to wash after.

Predictably, the first few days of each change were annoying. As time passed, however, I found that we were laughing more at the dinner table, that I myself enjoyed not tripping on shoes left carelessly about the house, and that my socks lasted longer and weren’t quite as stiff at the toes.

Not only did the changes become my own preferences, but they serve to remind me how wonderful it is to be in this marriage- and how accommodating her made me feel as if  I had an objective which could directly influence her day-to-day happiness, show her that I valued her, and teach me a little discipline in areas where I was lacking.

She’s made changes too, and while I am not a mind reader, she seems to have taken a liking to them as well.

  1. Coffee first thing in the morning.
  2. “Making the bed,” at least to the degree where the blankets and sheets are just straightened out.

She never really cared for coffee before, certainly not in the morning, but when we moved in together I asked her if she could be in charge of making a pot as the very first thing in the morning and she agreed. Now our 5 a.m. coffee is a beautiful ritual which neither of us likes to skip. She wraps her hands around her warm cup, closes her eyes and breathes it in, sighing as if all the madness of dreams and the uncertainty of life can be tackled with confidence as of that moment.

After a few weeks of pulling the bed taut, she found that she loved getting into it at night all the more- one of those little pleasures which is easy to take for granted.

And just like that, BAM! We’re domesticated. In my younger years I thought it would suck, but it’s actually quite nice.

These little things can be called adaptations or compromises, but they are still changes we make to enhance the harmony of our relationship, and their impact is priceless. Every time I see the bed is made up, I remember she loves me.

Have you made some change for your partner which you ended up liking?

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