All relationships go through stages. Every stage teaches you about the other person, which might reveal a side of them that you didn’t know about. This is a learning process, and the couple needs to work through the challenges in order to grow. Some couples survive these stages, others don’t. Knowing about the 7 stages of marriage can help you prepare for the emotional rollercoaster ahead. If that’s not enough hint yet, there’s going to be a lot of ups and downs that will surely test your love for each other and your individual mental fortitude.
What are the 7 Stages of Marriage?
Building a successful marriage is a lifelong work. These phases are designed to strengthen you as a couple so that you can have a strong and more fulfilling relationship.
Below is a detailed insight into the 7 stages of marriage and how you can survive each phase.
Stage 1: Honeymoon Phase
When couples first enter into a relationship or marriage, they go through the honeymoon phase. This is the phase when couples are passionate about each other. They are head over heels in love. During this stage, your partner (in your eyes) can’t seem to do anything wrong. In fact, you might adore their quirks.
Experts believe that the honeymoon phase for most relationships last for 1 to 3 years (although it varies from one marriage to another). This is a critical stage in a marriage because this is where intimacy and an emotional bond are established. This is also the stage you build trust for one another.
Stage 2: Realization Phase
Once the bliss of the honeymoon phase begins to fade away, reality starts to set in. This is called the Realization Phase, for that reason. The rose-colored lens you see your partner through is starting to fade; this can happen gradually or suddenly, depending on the unique circumstances of every couple.
At this stage, you begin to see your partner for who they really are. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but you see them as a human, not the person who made you fall head over heels in love. This stage is often accompanied by disappointment and conflict, especially when you start to live together under one roof. The quirks that you used to find cute are now an annoyance.
It is important for married couples to acknowledge that certain issues exist and be open enough to discuss them with their partner. You need to be assertive without being disrespectful in order to build a strong foundation for your marriage, especially in terms of handling conflicts.
Stage 3: Rebellion Phase
The first couple of stages in your marriage are when you compromise. You learn to deal with each other’s quirks even though there are a few struggles along the way. But in stage three, you see the differences really come out.
The differences start to become a nagging source of conflict in your relationship. It is called a rebellion phase because you feel the desire to want to change your partner. Experts agree that this phase happens within the 5- to 7-year range. This is also what most would refer to as the “7-year itch”.
This is a fragile phase; don’t take it lightly when issues begin to arise. Due to the conflict within the marriage, some spouses might feel the urge to cheat. You need good empathy skills and open communication to overcome this stage.
Stage 4: Reassessment Phase
Once you overcome the previous stage, you start to realize that the relationship is definitely worth saving. You reassess where you are in your marriage at this point. By taking the time to reflect, you begin to develop gratitude for what you have built together. Surviving stage three of your marriage also gives you a sense of security within your marriage.
This stage in your marriage is a period of reassessment because a major life change happens. It could be the arrival of your first child or the purchase of your new home. This stage is somewhat the same as the honeymoon phase wherein you rekindle your love for each other.
Stage 5: Reunion
Having children or taking a major step in your relationship makes your marriage stronger. This phase in your relationship lasts for 10 to 20 years. At this point in your marriage, the children have grown, and your careers are pretty solid. Finances are no longer an issue in your marriage, so there is no room for conflict.
The challenge in your marriage is to nurture each other’s physical and mental health. It is important for married couples to engage in physical activities to stay fit. When handled with care, this can be a very fulfilling stage in your marriage.
Stage 6: Explosion
The challenges of your marriage don’t end, even when you are well into the latter stages. The midlife and golden years of your relationship can pose a new set of challenges such as major health problems, financial incapacity, or other life-changing events.
Your marriage can become a source of solace, or it might be tested when you go through this stage. Because this often happens once the children are grown and leave home, it’s no surprise that this phase is considered the “empty nest syndrome”. Couples need to stay strong and committed in order to weather this storm.
Stage 7: Completion
Also known as the Fulfillment phase, this stage of your marriage means that you have survived some of the toughest challenges in life. Despite the challenges (internal and external), you remained strong and committed to each other. This is when you can be content and enjoy each other’s company.
How to Survive the 7 Stages of Marriage
As with any trials and tribulations in a relationship, the only way to survive the 7 stages of marriage is to stay committed to one another. More marriages would not end up in divorce if couples stuck together during difficult times rather than tear each other apart. The more you understand your differences and similarities, the easier it becomes to work out the challenges as a unit.
Not all relationships are perfect. But if you can make it through these 7 phases, then you can say that it’s going to (hopefully) last.
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