The 7 stages of marriage – Phases of marriage
Did you know what are the seven stages of marriage? When you’re young, you define your love life is ‘life before marriage’ and ‘life after marriage’. But for many people the ‘life after marriage’ stage is one of the longest in their lives, usually 50-60 years and sometimes even more.
Marriage can be understood better if it’s seen as a stages of phases during which the couple goes through many ups and downs. These seven stages of marriage are connected, but each of them is different and it separates from the others.
With this description of the phases of marriage, hopefully you’ll understand why certain things in married life are happening, how to get a clearer view of your relationship and its possible future development.
Stages of marriage – Honeymoon phase
Universally recognized as a romantic, gentle and idealistic, the honeymoon stage of marriage occurs immediately after the wedding and continues from several months to a year or two. In fact, in ancient times, men were given time off from their military service in the first year of their marriage to give them time to establish a good relationship and to provide home and family life. Characterized by passion and intimacy, this phase is very important because it nourishes the union between partners.
Stages of marriage – Realization phase
This second phase comes with the end of the first – sometimes gradually, sometimes abruptly, depending on the circumstances that affect the partners individually and together. Here the prior commitment of the partners to one another and their new union, begins to decline. They go back in ‘real life’ with their old and new responsibilities, including job, new home, birth of children, getting to know each other better etc. This phase is like a real insight of the overall picture of marriage. Realizing that you’ve married someone who isn’t perfect and even has undesirable traits may lead to some sober reflections on marriage and the question: ‘Wow, what has happened to me?’.
Stages of marriage – Conflict phase
After about three years, the fight between the spouses can become really common. In this phase comes the realization that you’re married to someone who has more disadvantages than good characteristics and each of the spouses rediscovers his own personality. The spouses start to rethink their future which may or may not include their partner. Psychologists say that the seventh year is the most critical, but they also argue that this marriage phase may occur earlier – the fifth or even the third year. Risk of cheating is real, dreams and hopes sometimes shatter and the conflicts and disappointments replace the previous tenderness and passion.
Stages of marriage – Reevaluation phase
In the late first decade of marriage, often entering the second, the partners have got used to the marriage situation and get used to the partner’s flaws. They begin to get mature, especially if they have children or good family examples (for example a relative or a friend’s family). The return to marriage begins and also the commitment to the family, partners reevaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their marriage and begin to restore their bond and their family life is their top priority.
Stages of marriage – Joint development phase
Overcoming boredom, conflicts and temptations, the couple finds peace before the second or third decade of their marriage. Suddenly it appears that there is a second chance to rediscover each other. With the children growing and one or both spouses building a good career, this is a great opportunity for them to focus again on one another. This is the marriage stage that we see in the movies – the renewal of marriage vows and second honeymoon.
Stages of marriage – Mid-life crisis phase
Both sexes can experience psychological midlife crisis, where they reach the top of their career or marriage. Here they suddenly experience a downward spiral in the first half of their life and the thought of old age approaching can be so dramatic for some, that they react react too strongly in their quest to stay and look stronger and younger. This is sometimes the reason why one of the spouses leaves the other in search of a younger partner.
Another problem in this marriage phase is the empty nest syndrome, or – put another way – separation from children who go in their own way.
To this you can add other problems like age, the loss of parents, illness, job loss, etc. All these reasons lead to family problems – insulting, fighting etc. Partners who are committed to one another can cope and find a way through the storm, but many, unfortunately, stay with broken families in the phase of mid-life crisis.
Stages of marriage – Satisfaction phase
After several decades, the spouses are aware that at this stage they somehow managed to stay together and they are very pleased with the fact that they’ll continue to be together until the end of their days. Many couples are turning back and feel gratitude that they had their partner to themselves all this time, in good times and in bad. For others in this phase, they happen to fall in love again with each other, realizing that they have chosen the best possible partner. In this marriage stage, the present is the only satisfaction and the happiness is to say with the person they love more than anyone else as long as possible.