How many times do we get stuck in a rut in our marriage and family life because we are mourning the life we wish we had instead of living fully in the one we have? It can happen in marriage when things aren’t going the way we had hoped. For example, you imagined living in a very clean, orderly home, and it turns out your spouse is comfortable with clutter. You believe in exercising and eating healthy, and initially, your spouse was on board too. However, they’ve gotten a little lazy the last few years. The truth is that you both had certain expectations when you got married that aren’t being met. Instead of sulking about it or complaining to your friends, try talking to your spouse about what’s bothering you.
It’s normal that people start to relax a bit after a few years of marriage as they settle into the relationship. In addition, priorities change for both spouses, and what they want to do is not always what they are able to do. Then, when that is left alone too long, people become restless or they start to feel like something is wrong in the relationship because they aren’t finding joy in the life they have. Instead, they’re finding misery by focusing on the life they wish they had.
For parents, the same is true about your children. Depending on their age, there are some things you can hope to change. However, if they are adults, there may not be anything you can do to change them or your relationship with them. In that case, you can apply the same principle with a little twist. Find joy in the children you do have and not in the children you wish you had. Work to find the good in the adults you have raised and appreciate them for all the great ways they bring joy to your life and others. As parents, we should be careful that we aren’t expecting our children to change just because they aren’t doing things the way we would do them.
For many of us, there are probably things we can change to achieve the life we always wanted. If the communication in our relationship with our spouse or children isn’t great, there are tools and professionals available to us to help change it. If our bodies aren’t in the physical shape we’d like, we can exercise and adjust our food intake to make that change.
Consider changing what you can so that you can let go of what you can’t change and can live with joy in what you find in between.