Marriage has been an institution in society since the beginning of humanity; when we were hunter-gatherers and had no way to legally formalize our relationships. But over time this institution has changed tremendously and now it is not just a contract between one man and one woman, but can include same-sex marriages among other things. Marriage comes with a lot of responsibilities and duties toward your spouse.
For this reason, it is important to work on it all the time and make sure to maintain a happy and healthy relationship with your life partner. Most couples can achieve this by jumping through any obstacles that may present themselves, rather than shying away from facing new problems or denying them.
There are common stages in a marriage that most people agree on, so the more familiar you are with these, the better prepared you will be to guide your marriage through any type of hurdle.
Stage One: The Honeymoon Stage
Most relationships start with a honeymoon stage, where both people are infatuated and happy. However, as the relationship progresses, people start to see each other for who they really are and may grow apart.
During this first phase, there’s an initial rush of romantic feelings. The honeymoon stage of a marriage is the period that occurs just after the wedding. Most couples experience a lot of excitement and happiness.
At this point, newlyweds are not aware of any challenges or difficulties that might come up later in their marriage. They have a clouded and rosy tunnel vision that is focused on romantic and positive emotions. For this reason, they are very optimistic about what is to come for them in the long run of their relationship.
During this period of time, spouses are also often more intimate with each other, share their inner thoughts, explore different parts of themselves and grow as individuals. The honeymoon stage can be seen as a time of healing from past wounds in each other’s arms.
This phase ends with the establishment of a routine in the relationship. But, before that, couples are usually intensely focused on one another during this first phase. They also feel more confident about being with one another, as if they want to prove to themselves and to the world that they made the right choice and chose the right partner.
Stage Two: The Infatuation Stage
Love is often associated with the feeling of infatuation. It’s characterized by intense, obsessive thoughts about the other person, and is also accompanied by physiological arousal.
The infatuation stage of marriage is where you feel like you know everything about each other and that nothing will ever change. You believe that this person has all the qualities that you wanted in a partner, and that they are perfect for you. For this reason, the next step in marriage after this stage can be called reality testing.
Usually, the lovers are still very much in love with each other during this period of time, but not in love with the day-to-day aspects of living together. They start to realize that their partner is flawed but they accept them nonetheless and it will be useful to try and focus on each other’s qualities rather than flaws during this phase.
These are times when people start to change. This is usually due to the pressure to become a “perfect spouse” and because it becomes socially acceptable for couples to fight or spend less time together.
The infatuation stage is crucial if you want to find out whether or not you’re with your soulmate, because that can only be someone who will be with you through thick and thin. Hence, someone who will successfully pass the test of this phase and the next one.
Stage Three: The Disillusionment Stage
The reality testing phase is an important step in relationship development. This stage allows couples to test each other’s boundaries, learn about how they can make their partner truly happy, and see if there are any hurdles that might prevent the marriage from thriving.
Some people think that once they get married, everything will be perfect. But the truth is, it’s difficult to maintain a healthy marriage and difficult to keep the same level of love for your partner. Like with any relationship, there will be ups and downs. That’s why it’s important that couples work through their problems together at this stage in order to make their marriage last longer.
During this period of time, the couple tests the waters and sees if the type of problems that they’ve been facing are solvable and possible to get rid of and how smoothly and easily that can be done.
The reality testing phase of marriage is marked by a disillusionment stage and a lack of passion. This happens because of many factors that are not mutually exclusive.
Some of the factors that lead to disillusionment or arise in this stage are stress, money issues, changing careers or jobs, parenting adjustments, infertility, and aging parents. Another possible trigger is the fast-paced society we live in which makes it hard for some couples to spend enough time together.
Stage Four: The Commitment Stage
The Commitment Stage is the stage in which couples are committed to each other and their relationship. It occurs after the couple goes through different tests of the above-mentioned phases and still makes it out of them intact and strong.
At this point, the married partners are in love and they will do anything for each other. They understand each other’s flaws and bad habits but accept them fully and learn to accommodate and adjust themselves to them.
The Commitment Stage is the most important of all stages because this is the time when couples are at their most vulnerable state. It is important for couples to remember that while they are happy, they have to work on themselves individually to make sure that they don’t get too comfortable or start taking each other for granted.
This phase is characterized by a desire for permanence, stability, and fidelity. This is also where couples start to think about the long-term future of their union, understand that they are in it for the long haul, and become more protective of each other.
Marriages typically end at this stage if partners are not satisfied with each other or if things fall apart. Or, if one of the previous stages has done too much damage and one of them or both cannot move on.
Stage Five: Completion
At this point, couples learn to re-focus on themselves individually while still going through life as a married couple. Their marriage becomes a part of their identity and they can effortlessly keep it stable and strong while focusing fully on growing spiritually as individuals and finding their personal own purpose in life.
It is important that the couple stays fully in touch and compatible through this journey too, by sharing with each other what each one is going through. This will prevent partners from growing apart or becoming strangers trapped in a roommate marriage.
It’s important to also remember that both partners should be committed to completing this stage of marriage. The best way to stay committed during this stage of marriage is by remembering what brought you together in the first place: love, hopefully. And you should be willing to work on your relationship every day for the rest of your lives.
Some people may find it difficult to identify with their partner because of their differences in ethnicity, religion, or cultural background.
This is when couples are finally able to live their lives in harmony. They have put in the hard work and now they get to reap the benefits. It takes a lot of patience and understanding to make it to this stage.
This final stage is about being happy with your life for what it’s worth, not what it could be worth in the future.
Marriage is a unique life journey that we take with our life partners. It is a journey of love and togetherness and also sometimes tough challenges.
Marriage is not for the faint-hearted, and it is full of ups and downs. This is what makes marriage an amazing ride. One that will teach you to be strong, independent, and resilient. One that will enable you to create your own little family and to be with the only people that will matter in the end.
They are also the only ones that will love you the most and fight for you when nothing else matters.