THE SEVEN STAGES
You may be in the Passion Stage if your relationship is all about the two of you and the excitement, sex and intimacy you are experiencing. Action: Strengthen your sense of “us” – make time for each other, leave work at work.
You may be in the Realization Stage if you find you are beginning to get to know each other’s real strengths and weaknesses. Action: Develop the important communication habits – listening and confiding – that are essential to expanding understanding and trust. Consider enrolling in a couples communication class.
You may be in the Rebellion Stage when each of you is seeking to assert your self-interests and you end up having volatile – or hidden - power struggles. Action: Learn how to negotiate and keep agreements – keeping promises builds trust. Identify areas of difference and start talking about them – one at a time. Don’t change the subject.
You maybe in the Cooperation Stage if both you and your spouse seem more preoccupied with the kids, money, home and work and you start to feel like business partners more than lovers. Action: Make your marriage a priority, de-stress and keep the passion alive. Set up a regular date night. Find a babysitter!
You may be in the Reunion Stage if you have an ‘empty nest’ and begin to have more time for yourself and for each other to renew your friendship and passion. Action: Refocus on your marriage, get off autopilot & unpack any old baggage. Plan some special events that bring back good memories.
You may be in the Explosion Stage, which can happen anytime, if you are experiencing major career, health, parenting and family crises. Action: Make use of emotional, physical and spiritual support for yourself, your spouse and your marriage. Pay attention to your physical and emotional health and well-being.
You may be in the Completion Stage as stability and security reign and you enjoy each other and the life you have created. Action: Look to create a new sense of meaning & purpose for yourselves & your marriage. Establish a special project that you will begin together.
Adapted from The 7 Stages of Marriage by Sari Harrar and Rita DeMaria, Copyright 2007 The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc.