Building a successful marriage is a life long journey. I will never win an award for “best wife of the year” and I will never claim to be awesome at it but I do try and make an effort towards a happy and fulfilling marriage. Understanding the 7 stages of marriage and knowing that you’re not the only ones going through these phases may help you build a stronger and better relationship.
Don’t you want to make it to the “good” years? That phase where you’ve made it through hell and high water and come out on the other side together, happier, stronger, with a newfound respect for one another.
There’s not only one “good” phase so don’t be discouraged. If you both work towards a common goal for your marriage you can feel happy and secure in every phase, (maybe not every day).
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Stage one of marriage = passion
Most of us have experienced this phase at least once, the ooey gooey mwah mwah mwah phase.
It’s wonderful, the butterflies you feel must not have ever been felt so intensely by anyone on this earth before! This is also known as the honeymoon phase. Romance and intense attraction draws you together and leads to commitment.
Mother nature provides you these intense feelings to cause you to bond, you start establishing trust and love for one another.
stage two of marriage = realization
By this time the honeymoon phase is over. You realize your spouse is not always a knight in shining armor or a beauty queen and, oh my gosh they are not perfect! In this phase, you began to realize each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Eww, he leaves dirty socks under the sheets and doesn’t put the toilet seat down. She leaves a full trashcan for you to take out when she could so easily do it herself. The audacity!
You need to have open and respectful conversations and cut each other some slack for goodness sake! I know I have needed some grace and some “I love you anyway” from my husband and vice versa.
stage three of marriage = rebellion
Rebellion is all about the power struggle. You will surely feel anger towards one another and even question if you want to be married at times.
He may want to spend more time with his friends again and not feel tied down to home life. You may want to travel more or have Saturday’s with the girls. He may want to pursue his business goals – she may want to pursue hers.
Many wars in homes are started over unimportant issues, that do not matter. Such as who does the most laundry or who knows how to drive better. Loving each other through the power struggles of the rebellion stage is tricky business.
Experts say the drama of the rebellion stage is unavoidable. Rebellious thoughts, when met with frustration, often lead to rebellious actions, such as infidelity, over- spending, or saying yes to the sudden offer for a weekend getaway with your friends. Any of these can cause disaster for a marriage.
stage four of marriage = cooperation
In the cooperation stage, marriage takes on a business-like personality, romance tends to take a backseat to all the responsibilities smacking you right in the face. There are mortgages to be paid, trash to be taken out, careers to be built, and kids to be raised.
At times you are more like work associates than a couple but that is not a bad thing. It shows you can work together. This stage generally lasts the longest in a marriage and if you can healthily make this stage work for a long period of time, you will find yourself in a really happy sustainable relationship.
In this stage, it’s especially important to schedule date nights and pursue romance in your relationship. Here’s how to make time for your spouse with a crazy busy schedule.
stage five of marriage = reunion
If you have children, the cooperation stage typically lasts 15 + years then suddenly it is gone. You’ve built a history of experiences, memories, and successes. You’ve come through some tough times. For happy couples, it is a time to appreciate each other again, not as parents and providers but as lovers and friends, thinkers, and seekers.
That all sounds wonderful but this ideal is often hard to achieve. Your passion has died down, your friendship has often been pushed to the wayside, you’ve forgot how to focus on one another. Time to get to work on your relationship!
stage six of marriage = explosion
Health problems, financial troubles, a death in the family, major life stressors can happen at anytime. In the explosion phase, either you, your spouse, or both of you are dealing with major events that could affect your relationship greatly. While the other six stages tend to occur in order, the Explosion stage can happen at any time in a marriage—though it happens most as we pass through our 50s and 60s.
When dealing with a personal crisis, your marriage can be a source of comfort or a thorn in your side.
You must work together to deal with life’s challenges and lean on each other in times of need and in return lift each other up. Never forget that you are your spouses biggest fan (you married them).
stage seven of marriage = completion
You have a right to be proud of making it through that storm alive! You’ve accepted each other’s differences and still love each other, woohoo!
You must be in the completion stage if fighting and bickering has greatly declined in the last few years. Typically you’ve been married for at least 25 years at this point.
By this time you know each other very well. You enjoy one another’s company and have learned to appreciate each other quirks instead of trying to change each other.
Not all marriages go through these phases at the same rate or for the same time frame. Most married couples find the process very challenging yet rewarding. It’s worth working on your marriage every step of the way. Change is a part of life and who we are, everyone changes and we must learn to accept and adapt to those changes.