In the Midwest, trees' leaves are beginning to change colors creating a gorgeous palette of red, yellow, purple, brown and green. It is a season for bundling up and cheering on your favorite football tea and for drinking apple cider.
Just as our calendar year has its seasons, so too does your marriage.
When you notice that your relationship has changed, it can be disconcerting. You might worry that love has died or doubt your partner's feelings for you.
As you think back to how it used to be in your relationship, you may realize that the level of passion is just not what it was.
You may be wondering if this change in the way that you and your partner relate to one another and spend your time is natural and normal or if it means that something is wrong.
This wondering, unfortunately, can create distance in your relationship. Your partner may begin to feel judged, causing strain. The moments of connection that you two do have may be missed because of your worries.
We're here to tell you that changes can be normal in a relationship...
According to conventional wisdom, there are distinct phases of a marriage (or long-term love relationship).
Honeymoon phase: This is that initial period of time when you two can't get enough of one another. This is when you fall in love and feel butterflies in your stomach.
Reality phase: Also called the “realization” phase, this is the time when you begin to see that your beloved is actually human and has flaws just like you do. This can be a crisis time if the perceived flaws are deal breakers for one or both of you.
Cooperation phase: This is when a couple is mostly focused on working together toward a common goal-- to raise a family, start a business together or care for home and pets together. This can be a time when passion and the relationship take a backseat to other concerns.
Rebellion/crisis phase: Crises can occur throughout the phases, but there can be a marked period when one or both people question feelings and the relationship itself.
- Accommodation phase: If the couple stays together throughout the crises along the way, at this point there is a sense of coming to peace with who the other person is and a settling in to life together. This may be a time for merely tolerating one another or for re-discovering love and passion.
As you probably already know...
Nothing in life is as neat and tidy or linear as this.