I once heard someone say,“Change is a great and terrible thing and people love it and hate at the same time. Without change however, you just don’t move.” (Marc Jacobs).
I found myself reflecting on this statement as I prepared to make two of the biggest changes in my life:
1. Moving from singlehood to marriagehood
2. Leaving my home country that I love to a land I barely knew.
What I did know however, is that these life changes, though scary, had the ability to become something beautiful and worthwhile. This required for me to take the risk and where necessary, adjust my perspective.
Without change, there is no growth
One of the beautiful things about change is that while it is inevitable, it offers the opportunity for growth. It is so easy to resist change and remain in your comfort zone, especially when you don't know what will happen once you accept this change. But you must never allow fear of the unknown to stop you from growing. Instead you must use the change being experienced to help you to examine your values and habits and make adjustments to your routine and overall lifestyle where possible.
When you are single, you do what you want, when you want, without having to think about how it may impact someone else. In marriage, that’s different; something as simple as how you squeeze the toothpaste tube can affect the other person. As two people come together as one, making adjustments may be hard, especially after years of living alone, but it is crucial for both parties to adjust based on the other person's needs and in some cases compromise.
Each spouse needs to share their likes, dislikes, concerns and even fears with their partner. As they do, because their partner is now aware of these things, he or she is able to make adjustments to what they would usually do based on their spouse’s requests. Both are able to act in a way that not only supports the growth of their partner and themselves, but also allows for them to serve each other in a loving and sacrificial way while promoting peace and respect in the relationship.
As these adjustments are made, grace needs to be given. I am learning how hard adapting to simple changes can be, especially when something has been done another way for years. I have learnt that it is important to be patient with each other as we adapt to these life changes. I like that I am not the only person changing and adapting in the relationship because I can support my husband and extend grace to him when he falls short, as he does the same for me, knowing from experience that making these changes, big or small, is not easy. I appreciate that as I attempt to make one small change at a time, my husband acknowledges my efforts and let me know how much he appreciates me trying.
While some changes are easy to accept, others can be extremely challenging and can leave one feeling overwhelmed. Before migrating, I tried to prepare myself mentally for the move by making realistic expectations and by trying to learn as much as I could about where I was going and the ways in which I could benefit and grow there. Sometimes however, though one can be mentally prepared, when reality hits, emotions may spiral.
The first few weeks after migrating was difficult and I felt as though I was drowning emotionally. Physically, I was surrounded by a loving and supportive husband and wonderful new family members, but on the inside, I was immensely sad and missed deeply my home country, family and friends. But even these emotions brought with it lessons that I can carry with me throughout life.
Some of these lessons are:
1. Be honest with yourself, not just about the good things, but the bad things too. I had to be honest with myself that I was not OK and had to learn how to embrace my emotions. It is OK to cry and miss home, and grieve. Do not suppress your emotions, as this may lead to other issues later on. Also, talk about it and if needed, get professional help.
2. Don’t compare. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” (Theodore Roosevelt). I often found myself comparing the two countries, instead of embracing the beauty they both had to offer. Take time to explore your new environs and to develop new relationships. This does not mean that you are letting go of old relationships but simply means that you are creating new memories. Also, with technology, friends and family are just a video call away!
3. You are not alone. Yes! I mean that you are not the only person who may be going through this change but I also mean that you are really never alone. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8). Trust in Yahweh as he guides you through the various changes of life, no matter how hard it may be.
We all go through different changes in life, some more adaptable than others. It is said that change is constant, but never forget that we serve a constant God who never changes.
Rose-Ann Durant is a young Christian from Kingston, Jamaica, who is currently living in the island of Barbados. She is an ardent reader who enjoys going to the beach, river and spending time outdoors.