Do people change ?

"Luther" is a show that I discovered on Netflix and that I liked for the intelligent writing, great plots, clever character development and oh yeah Idris Elba - handsome, smart and kick ass accent, impossible not to swoon.

In one episode two of his co-workers are talking about how shocking it is that his marriage unravelled.  After all they are two smart people in the show who are written as having had a solid relationship with loads of passion in it.  Yet that is the outside view.  No one knows what a marriage looks like, not in films and not in real life.  There is the public view and then there is the reality of the day to day.  No one knows what the reality is and each person in the marriage sees it truthfully from their point of view, which means that somewhere in the middle lies the reality of the events that transpire in that marriage. 

The other great line that was in the show was "Men and women get divorced because men marry a woman and hope she never changes and women marry a man and look to change themselves and him along with it".   I know it is a generalization but it seems so spot on.  I have had the pleasure of having both male and female friends and I feel slightly voyeuristic, and the psych major too, listening to them describe relationships.  Aren't we all though as friends - front row seats to hearing about it. We don't listen out of malice but rather out of a need to be there, to be helpful.  

In these years I have seen this happen a lot.  My male friends are smart, funny, good looking and over all good guys but most of them have been pretty much that guy all of their lives.  Nothing wrong with that, I wouldn't have been friends with them if they were jerks.   My female friends are smart, funny, good looking and over the years have changed in so many ways.  Those attributes a constant but their expectations, their wants, their needs vastly different from the times we were younger. 

I know this to be true for me.  I have needed different things throughout my life and as I get closer, and really close, to being 50 I look back and know that the girl I was in my twenties, the young woman I was in 30s, the woman I am in my 40s and the middle aged woman I am going to be in my 50s are very different with a foundation that is the same.  

In a marriage we look for partners who have similar dreams and ideologies to ours.  We hope to have the same goals and see the same road that we are heading down.  

Yet if women so often decide they want to take a different road, explore a different avenue and men become more comfortable finally not having to ask for directions because they know where they are headed is it any wonder that so many relationships do not last ? 

Maybe we are not meant for the long term, the monogamous.  Maybe we are meant to find partners for the stages of our lives.  Then again maybe not.  Maybe for some people growth is a joint venture or they learn to live together but grow in different ways.  

People only change if they want to.   It is not fair to ask them to for ourselves because they may be perfectly content with who they are and we should respect that.  

Marriages are not easy and they are a journey but unless both members agree on how to navigate then they are bound to hit the rocks instead of the shore.  

I think as we have populations that stay alive longer this long term marriage becomes that much more of an equation to be worked on.  There is not much in this world that we really need but to find yourself in a relationship that does not make you more lonely than being alone, being happy, being passionate and being supported in growth is something worth working on and striving for. Otherwise, let's stop the judgement and go back to just being there for our friends as they make choices that are right for them. 


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