Getting married is a momentous occasion that frequently results in significant life changes.
The joys and challenges of building a life together come with identity shifts that occur as a result of saying two little words, “I-Do.”
Many couples struggle to transition from their former selves to their married identity, which can cause confusion, conflict, and even resentment. Even those who have been married for a while face identity shifts as they transition from one season in life to another.
Having children, relocating jobs, moving from one church to another, financial hardship, starting a new business, going back to school, sickness, and empty nesting, all come with challenges that require the ability to understand your role and shift to accommodate the needs and expectations of your marriage.
So, how can married couples navigate these identity shifts in a way that allows them to grow and thrive together?
Here are a few tips and strategies to consider:
- Recognize that change is a natural part of marriage. It’s important to acknowledge that both individuals in the relationship will inevitably experience changes as they navigate life together.
By accepting this fact, couples can approach these changes with a sense of openness and curiosity instead of resistance or fear.
- Maintain individuality. While it’s essential to build a shared identity as a couple, it’s equally important to maintain a sense of individuality. Don’t be jealous; trust your spouse. Encourage each other to pursue personal interests and hobbies and make time for activities you enjoy independently.
- Communicate openly and honestly. Effective communication is critical to navigating identity shifts in marriage. Be open and honest about your feelings and needs and listen attentively to your spouse when they express theirs (look at their eyes, avoid social media when discussing important topics.)
- Celebrate milestones together. Whether it’s a big promotion at work, a personal accomplishment, or a significant life event, celebrate each other’s milestones together. Celebrate the little things and the big things to show support and respect for your identity as an individual.
- Pray together. Marriage is not for lazy people. When times get tough, wise couples pray together (hand in hand or hugging) and invite God and the power of the Holy Spirit to navigate the shifts in their marriage. Not only does God answer prayer but praying together as husband and wife unites couples and builds spiritual intimacy. It’s no surprise that God’s word says in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call unto me, and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things that you have not known.”
Overall, navigating identity shifts in marriage is a process that requires an understanding of your new status and a willingness to grow and change together. By prioritizing these strategies, couples can build a strong, healthy, and fulfilling relationship that allows each partner to grow and flourish.
I welcome your feedback.