How And Why Marriages Can Change Over Time

Updated August 23, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

Regardless of how long a marriage lasts, change is often inevitable and can occur in a variety of areas. Personalities can evolve, dynamics can shift, and circumstances can change. If you're in a marriage or expecting to be in one soon, it can be helpful to know what possible changes to expect. Though the exact changes can vary from one couple to the next, there are some broader areas of change that can be quite common across relationships. Here, we’ll explore some of the common possible changes and offer a few tips for how to cope with them. 

Marriages Can Change Over Time

How Do Marriages Change Over Time?

Here are a few common areas where changes may occur in a marriage:

  1. Romance

Romance is often one of the big areas that can change in a marriage. The long conversations while gazing into each other's eyes, holding hands, and enjoying a nice night on the couch can eventually begin to be taken for granted. These little things that likely felt very special early in the relationship may begin to fade as two people get used to each other. The couple may also go on fewer dates as life gets in the way. Many marriages can lose some of that romance as people begin to get comfortable and feel there is no need to try to keep that spark alive.

  1. Time For Each Other 

Finding quality time for each other can also become very difficult for some couples after they're married. They may start to devote more time to studies or work to build a better future for their family, for example. This can happen in relationships as one or both people in the marriage strive towards other goals or tend to other important responsibilities, such as careers, children, extended family, health, and more. 

  1. Communication 

Communication changes and challenges can also be common in marriages. For some, it could be that the longer they're married, the more they begin to assume that their spouse should know what they’re thinking without having to express it directly. However, this mindset can be unproductive and even damaging; it can lead to unmet needs, misunderstandings, resentment, and hurt. Opening up to your partner and keeping the lines of communication open can help to avoid major confusion or conflict in the marriage.

  1. Feeling Connected 

Many couples may also experience ups and downs in how connected they feel to each other throughout the marriage. Some marriages grow, while others grow apart. Factors such as ineffective communication, busier schedules, and less romance can all contribute to the disconnect. People as individuals can also grow and change over time, and so you and your partner may be very different people five years into the marriage than you were at the start. If the two of you aren’t actively continuing to cultivate romance, time together, and deep conversations, you may feel very disconnected.

  1. Finances 

Finances are also a major change that may occur in some marriages at one point or another. If finances are a concern at the start of a marriage, it can be a welcome change if they improve, though this can still be an adjustment. However, changes that can lead to financial hardship—such as job loss, major life change, personal crisis, etc.—can put a strain on the relationship as you two have to navigate a challenging time.

What Can You Do To Prepare For Or Cope With Change?

Although change can be difficult at first, it's inevitable in most marriages. But change doesn’t have to have a detrimental effect. There are things you can do to prepare for and cope with these changes as they arise that may help you to navigate these new stages together and create a stronger relationship. Here are few suggestions to consider:

  1. Talk to your spouse. 

Strong marriages are often built on love, trust, and open communication. Try to maintain strong communication with your spouse on the little things and the big things. You can talk to your spouse about the things that happen throughout your day, and about your big goals in life and plans for the future together. Cultivating strong communication in good times can also help you manage any conflicts more effectively. 

  1. Develop a plan to address and overcome the changes. 

It often doesn't help to try to ignore or avoid the changes that you notice happening in your marriage. Oftentimes, addressing the changes head-on has to happen in order for you to overcome them. Couples can talk and create a plan detailing what they will do differently to turn things around or how they will adapt to this change. 

  1. Examine the positive aspects of the change.

Sometimes change can be positive, or at least have positive aspects. Marriages can grow, and the people in the relationship grow and change also. If both parties are willing to grow into the change that has occurred, it could even bring you closer together. As you and your partner navigate these changes, try to consider if there are any positive aspects to this phase that you are excited about or grateful for. 

  1. Talk to other married couples.

It may also be helpful to spend time with other married couples and hear more about their experiences, if they’re willing to share. This can offer several perspectives on how marriages can evolve, grow, and navigate challenges. Talking with other married couples can provide an opportunity for you to see what others do when they encounter change and how they cope with the changes.

Getty/Halfpoint Images
Marriages Can Change Over Time
  1. See a marriage counselor.

Sometimes, it can be difficult for the couple to address and overcome the changes in the marriage on their own. If you would like additional support in navigating the challenges of marriage, an online counselor can help. 

For many married couples, schedules are already very busy, and it can be difficult to find time for each other, let alone something additional like couples therapy. With online therapy through Regain, you and your partner can meet with your therapist from wherever you have internet—no commute needed—which may make it easier to fit into hectic schedules.

And research has found online therapy to be an effective option for a range of concerns, including relationship satisfaction.

Continue reading below for some reviews of counselors from couples with similar concerns.

“My wife and I decided to give online couples counseling a go after finding traditional methods weren’t all that suited to our busy working and parenting lifestyle. Our counselor Donna Kemp has been amazing! We both feel she’s listened to us and given us the confidence to step out of our comfort zone to deal with problems that are easy to avoid. She is encouraging without being pushy. We’ve both responded very well to her and her methods and look forward to continuing on with Donna. Highly recommend!”

“Cris Roman saved my marriage. His approach to therapy taught my husband and I the skills we needed to change the way we communicated and the way we understood each other. He is very non-judgemental and helps each person make sense of the others' feelings and actions without taking sides or placing blame. His ability to make you feel heard while helping you to see and understand why your significant other is acting a certain way is phenomenal.”

Takeaway

Most marriages experience a variety of changes over time, and while each marriage is different, some areas where change can be common include romance, time for each other, communication, and feeling connected. To prepare for and cope with these changes, you can consider some of the tips detailed above, and for further support, you can connect with an online therapist. 

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