Married to Evolving Psychologies

Bob Dylan once said that if artists remain in a “state of becoming,” they’ll be alright.

This philosophy allowed him to produce some pretty awful music during 1980s. However, it also led him to move from folk to rock in the 60s, and from covers to some of his best work in the 1990s.

I wonder if marriages are helped or hurt by the “state of becoming.”

I recently read Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow. Although their story does not provide the main thrust of the novel, two of the characters in The Sparrow are married, and the wife explains that she has fallen in love with her husband several times over the course of their marriage. She had to because her husband changed that much.

When I look at myself over the last two years, I can see that the process of immigration has eroded a lot of (best case/ worst case) smugness/ confidence from me. On the other hand, I’ve grown in other ways in order to fit in to a new culture. I’ve invited changes to my personality that seem minor, but that have had a significant impact on how I spend my time.

Ultimately, I am in many ways a different person than I was when my wife and I married.

If people are in a “state of becoming,” do we marry our partners or do we commit to their evolving psychology?

In Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time fantasy series, we learn that a middle-aged man still imagines his wife as she looked when they first fell in love. On the one hand, this sounds romantic. And faithful. On the other hand, his wife has changed a great deal since that time. This presentation of marriage seems like a fantasy, though perhaps it’s a common one.

Remember the great Gatsby.

In many ways, my wife is a stubborn person that knows what she likes. Perhaps she will change very little as we age — certainly I don’t doubt that in ten years she will still be just as stubborn as she is now. On the other hand, my wife has a good eye for opportunity and the confidence to try new things or to take risks. For example, she saw a triathlon poster and was suddenly saving up to take courses on triathlons, buying bicycles and gear for triathlons, and entering triathlons.

There is a strong chance that she will be mountain climbing or skydiving within ten years…

To be honest, I don’t feel threatened by this change. It’s not like she’s “going down a path I cannot follow” like Anakin Skywalker did to Padme in Revenge of the Sith when he betrayed the Jedi Order to become a Sith Lord.

Still, I do feel like my wife and I should be mindful of the force.


2 Responses to “Married to Evolving Psychologies”

  1. This is a fantastic post. I really appreciate your questions. I suppose that married people do have to fall in love more than once, and on some days, love is choice that has to be made.

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