Every marriage is unique, but most follow a similar path that flows through seven distinct stages. Understanding the work required at each can give you a road map for handling rough times, and help you and your spouse focus on how to be happy, secure and satisfied.
Stage1: Passion. The honeymoon phase, when romance and intense attraction lead to commitment.
Stage2: Realization. Disappointment and conflict mark this unavoidable period. The challenge? Laying the groundwork for a long future together.
Stage3: Rebellion. Self-interest versus shared interests. Knowing the difference between a destructive desire to flee and a healthy need to be your true self is this stage’s key test.
Stage4: Cooperation. In time, marriage means managing money, building careers, raising kids. Going from lover to partner to parent can get rocky.
Stage5: Reunion. Once the kids are grown, then what? For happy couples, it’s time to enjoy each other again. But the ideal can be hard to achieve. Passion’s embers need stoking; expectations need rejiggering.
Stage6: Explosion. Job loss, health woes, illness or death in the family – such events can come in waves. Will your marriage be a source of solace or sorely tired by new roles, limitations and fears?
Stage7: Completion. Marital bliss often soars after decades together because ‘knowing’ each other now has a deeper meaning – and a bigger payoff.
source: Reader’s Digest Feb2008 issue, pg74
Cross posted at www.planetatul.com