Stage two of marriage: Realisation

Stage two of marriage: Realisation
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In this stage, the honeymoon ends, and a more real vision of the rest of your life together begins. In
this stage, you discover your spouse is not only human, he also doesn’t load the dishwasher or lower the
toilet seat. Disappointment and early conflicts are the hallmarks of this difficult, unavoidable period,
as the two of you make the first steps toward accepting each other for who you really are.

The mission and challenge? No less than laying the groundwork for a long future together based on
acceptance, respect and openness to change. You’ll need to assertively discuss and emphatically listen
as you both introduce your deepest personal needs and wants. This creates a foundation for being truly
known, understood and supported in the years ahead.

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Stage three of marriage: Rebellion

Stage three of marriage: Rebellion
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She misses her friends; he misses his cool toys. She wants to travel; he wants to play weekly softball.
She wants to build her career; he wants to build his career. Even for couples who successfully navigate
the realisation stage of marriage and lay the foundation for a happy, respectful coexistence together, a
time inevitably emerges when self-interest often overtakes the interests of the marriage. And when this
happens, be ready for the battles.

Love amid the power struggles of the rebellion stage is tricky business. You both believe you’re right,
so of course your partner’s wrong. That means you’re simultaneously offended at being called wrong and
claiming the moral high ground. Is this any way to run a marriage?

Experts say the drama of the rebellion stage are unavoidable. Learning the art of the good fight is the
mission now – often it is the nature of the battles, rather than the substance of the discussion, that
leads to trouble. Why? Rebellious thoughts, when met with anger and frustration, often lead to
rebellious actions, such as infidelity, outlandish spending, or saying yes to the sudden offer from work
to transfer to a new city. Any of these can spell disaster for a marriage.

Stage four of marriage: Cooperation

Stage four of marriage: Cooperation
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As marriages progress over time, they inevitably become more complicated. Careers grow, houses get
bigger, personal commitments grow deeper, and children arrive. In the cooperation stage, marriage takes
on a business-like personality. Set aside all that love and emotion and personal-realisation stuff:
there are mortgages to be paid, investments to be handled, careers to be directed, health to be managed,
and – first and foremost – children to be raised.

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Step five of marriage: Reunion

Step five of marriage: Reunion
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If you have children, the cooperation stage often lasts 10 to 20 years – then suddenly it is gone. Your
parenting commitments are lessened, your finances established, your career set, your mortgage paid. What
then? For happy couples, it is a time to appreciate each other again, not as parents and providers but
as lovers and friends, thinkers and seekers. Achieve this and there’s peace, happiness and

That all sounds wonderful but this ideal is often hard to achieve. The embers of passion need stoking;
the disillusionment and distance of middle age need to be managed; the roles and expectations of the
marriage need recalibrating.

Step six of marriage: Explosion

Step six of marriage: Explosion
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Job loss, major health problems, a move to a new city, financial troubles, the illness or death of a
parent – as you pass through midlife and into the golden years, major life developments seem to come one
upon the other. In the explosion phase, either you, your spouse, or both of you are dealing with major,
life-shaking events that could affect your relationship for a day, a year, or the rest of your lives.
While the other six stages tend to occur in order, the Explosion stage can happen at any time in a
marriage – though it happens most as we pass through our 40s and 50s.

Confronted by a personal crisis, your marriage can be a source of solace or be sorely tried by the
unexpected pressure of new roles, new limitations and new fears. The mission of the explosion stage:
deal the best you can with life’s challenges and changes, but at the same time, keep yourself happy and
healthy. Letting your marriage see you through can be as simple as sharing daily joys, provided you
sometimes practice the Zen-like art of putting aside fear and stress.

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Stage seven of marriage: Completion

Stage seven of marriage: Completion

It’s no coincidence: lots of surveys find that marital happiness soars after several decades of a shared
life. Experts say simply that it’s because the kids are grown, and couples know each other very, very
well. But there’s more to it than that. Knowing each other isn’t merely about tolerating each other’s
habits, quirks and needs. In the completion stage, ‘knowing’ each other has a far deeper meaning-and a
bigger payoff as well.

Part of being a happy man is to never lose the boy within; the same goes for women-there is the spirit of
a young girl inside, no matter how many wrinkles edge the eyes. Maintaining a childlike love of life,
laughter, nature, and each other is the real secret to a perpetually blessed relationship. It is also
living in the present, not the past. In the completion stage of marriage, there is never a belief that
the best times are over-they should always be today and tomorrow.

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Source: RD

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