Phases of Marriage
SIX PHASES OF MARRIAGE
Recognizing the Phase You Are In
Couples Generally Rotate In and Out of Six Phases of Marriage.
Although people don’t always move through these phases in a simple fashion, it can be helpful to identify which phase you identify with the most. Then take a look at how your relationship is evolving and how you can adjust accordingly to keep your marriage strong.
These phases are not necessarily in the order described here, but this order is the most common.
Phase 1: Romance & Passion
Romance and intense attraction bonds a couple together and leads to commitment. It seems as though this is a forever love, and nothing can shake it. Together, you are unstoppable, and none of those other couples you know have that magic you share. It seems like you are both sufficient for each other. In this phase, you are building a strong bond of trust and intimacy that you will rely on for years to come.
While most relationships start out with this phase, some do not. For example, arranged marriage or marriages of convenience which are not as uncommon as many think.
This phase can last up to about two years and when it begins to fade, which yes, it always does, a lot of people tend to panic. They worry that the love is fading away and that the relationship is ending when in reality, it’s just evolving.
For Singles out there and New couples at this phase in their marriage, Focus on developing a rich personal life in which you spend ample time with your friends and family, work on achieving your personal and professional goals, and really fill up your schedule with people and activities that improve your quality of life.
The busier you are and the more fulfilled you feel in your personal life, the easier it will be to reignite the flame in your relationship and maintain that sense of excitement as you traverse all the phases of marriage because this PHASE WILL FADE (For some couple, this phase appear and disappear at almost every phase of their marriage with certain triggers)
Phase 2: Reality
The honeymoon is over. Those little things that you used to find to be adorable differences between the two of you are starting to turn into little annoyances. Her free spirit is starting to look more like irresponsibility. His strong work ethic is starting to make you feel lonely.
The reality of what the rest of your life together may look like is starting to come into focus. He stops putting the toilet seat down. She isn’t always “ready to go” whenever he feels like it. There may be a little less emotion and a little more rational thinking in this phase.
Disillusionment sets in and conflicts begin as you settle into this unavoidable phase. You are truly finding out who the other person is when they are not at their best, and may be wondering who this other person is, or accepting it as something the two of you will get used to. How you handle this phase is usually based on how you were raised, and can make all the difference in what comes next.
Communication is the key at this phase. It is important that both people are able to confide in one another. Being able to really listen to one another is essential.
Phase 3: Rebellion
– Why won’t he change into the man I thought he would become?
– Why did she change into someone so different all the sudden?
– What are all of these differences we now have?
He misses hanging out at the bar with his friends; she wants to go on a romantic weekend getaway; He wants to watch the game. They both want to build their careers. What about kids? What about me?
While in the Passion & Romance Phase, we set all of our desires aside, because nothing mattered more than this other person. But now we want to return to our dreams, and we expect the other to come along on our ride. We start moving in separate directions as we start our own mini rebellions.
We are going to have arguments/increased disagreements or even hidden power struggles brewing here, because I am right and you are wrong. I deserve this, and you just need to understand. Each of us believes we are on the moral high ground here.
It is important for couples in this phase to learn how to resolve conflict peacefully. Being able to keep promises, negotiate and compromise are all key to working through this phase. Couples during this phase can learn to identify and appreciate their differences.
Phase 4: Stability
The rebellion phase is one many marriages just don’t get out of.
Some just refuse to compromise, but some find a way to get along or find a middle ground and make it to this “Stability” phase.
The relationship, however, gets much more complicated. We have children, we build debt, we follow our careers, we get the bigger house, and we work on building the nest egg, get the bigger car, and all the “stuff.”
This is a very dangerous phase, because between work, kids, and all of the problems life throws at us, we have a tendency to be more like roommates or business partners rather than a loving couple. One or both of us is in grave danger of feeling a deep sense of loneliness that may be fulfilled elsewhere. Or we may no longer see the person we once did, and believe we have simply fallen out of love.
The biggest, most devastating explosions in a relationship tend to happen in this phase, or they simply fizzle out to the point that one simply thinks, there has to be more to life than this. More than ever, a couple needs a roadmap here, because like in the Romance & Passion phase, they rarely think they need one, but they are no longer thinking “all we need is love.”
During this phase, it is important that a couple make their marriage a top priority. If things start to feel too monotonous or predictable for you, try switching things up. Change roles, come up with surprises for one another, a regular date night and setting aside time to enjoy one another’s company free from life’s distractions can be helpful, and don’t let the routine undermine your relationship. It’s very easy to let it take over, but it is entirely in your power to keep things interesting.
Phase 5: Misery
Irreconcilable differences, financial problems, a death in the family, infidelity, addiction, loss of income, midlife crisis… the list goes on and on.
There are seemingly limitless life events that end in the misery phase. The high divorce rate is proof and some couples that stay married live a life that bounces between this phase and the stability phase for the sake of the kids, financial pressures, and all sorts of other reasons.
Couples that reach this phase tend to believe they are utterly alone, and nobody is suffering like them. They tend to believe that there is something wrong with them. But the reality is that most couples you meet are here, will be here, or have been here.
It is important that couples in this phase pay attention to their needs and gain as much support as necessary to work through the crisis.
Both of you must decide if you are willing to put in the effort, no matter how bad things seem, to move past this into the next stage, the best stage!
Phase 6: Transcendence
Transcendence can be defined as a state of extending beyond the limits of ordinary experience. You get to a point that you don’t just know each other; you actually “know” each other.
There is oneness between you. You are truly connected at every level. You are still unique people, and it doesn’t mean you never argue or disagree. It means your relationship has reached a level in which you innately know the soul of the other. This is a truly a special place, because it is not very crowded. Very few couples ever reach this phase.
The shocking beauty of this phase is that it is very often the result of having made it through the misery phase, rising above to a supernatural state. A couple can reach a place so low, that the forest burns down and they are able to plant a new life in the ashes.
During this phase, a couple can benefit from creating even more of a sense of meaning and purpose. For example, volunteering together or starting a side business just for fun may help a couple establish a new sense of purpose for themselves.
However, a couple does not need to reach the misery phase to get here. At any phase, any couple can be committed enough to get to this phase. They can learn to bypass some of the other phases.
Whatever phase you are at, We got your back
The goal of Blissful Marriage with Wendy is to give couples a working roadmap to transcendence.
If you came here in the misery phase, we are here to walk with you to help you out of it. If you came in one of the earlier phases, we are here to help you bypass some of the more difficult phases.
Through conferences, peer-mentoring, shared testimonies and much more, our mission is to create a place that gives you all of the tools and support you need to navigate the road your relationship travels on.
Check out our other helpful articles on marriage to help you navigate the waters on the road to transcendence.