Michael: I don’t understand. You used to be content staying home, caring for the family and our home, but since the kids left for college, you’ve changed. Between the hours devoted to your new business and girls’ night out, I hardly see you anymore. I don’t know if I can handle this for the next 40 years. Katy, you’re not the woman I married!

Katy: I am growing! I’ve done my job for the family and now it is time for me to focus on my goals. I like the creativity and satisfaction of having my own business, earning money and spending more time with friends, but that doesn’t mean I’m not the same woman you married.

What’s happening here?

After 20 years of life being relatively stable, the kids launched and Katy, like many women who postpone their individual desires and goals for the family, began a new stage of life – similar to an adult growth spurt. Changes during this growth spurt may be confusing for partners who are used to their mates being a certain way.

In a lifetime relationship, we not only commit to the snapshot of our partner when we take our vows, we commit to the person we do not see, the one they will become as they grow and evolve over the course of a lifetime. We commit to accommodating our partner’s evolution. That is the nature of truly loving another in its most genuine form.

Michael’s direct expression of his confusion, Katy’s illumination of the changes happening for her, as well as brief work with a therapist, all helped Michael not just understand, but embrace his wife’s evolution.

How have you experienced the evolution of commitment in your relationship?