Social scientists have found that a marriage usually goes through at least four stages. Each offers a unique experience to deepen the relationship, including both blessings, challenges and obstacles. The progression returns in the manner of a cycle: a couple can live several times each stage during his life, understanding each time a little better what happens to him, because having already lived similar moments. Sometimes even, the return of these steps is experienced as a new marriage. Couples go through these periods at a varied pace. Each step involves work on oneself and on the couple, which alone makes it possible to go to the next step, and therefore to grow!
Step One – Romanticism, Passion, Exuberance and Promise
At the beginning of a relationship, spouses often communicate, long and effortless. They perceive needs, anticipate expectations, do everything to please and surprise each other. The couple begins to perceive themselves as “us”. The personal particularisms are attenuated, almost forgotten, to be able to accommodate the other with its differences. Joy, happiness and hope are the order of the day. The spouses exchange the best of themselves. The common life seems grandiose and full of promise. It’s a time to share dreams and romantic love. At this point, the couples prayer is filled with thanksgiving and praise. God seems very close and He answers prayers. A time of grace that will have to be remembered!
Second stage – Daily lif and confrontation with reality
The intensity of the first stage gradually gives way to ordinary life and routine. Ideally, the second stage allows couples to deepen the richness of their communication: they strive to understand each other better by expressing their needs, wishes and feelings; they learn to be sincere, to show their vulnerability and to actively listen to each other; they perceive differences that they have not noticed before and integrate them gradually to take them into account. Everyone learns to give and to receive, and to discuss to reach compromises. In prayer, everyone asks for the gift of charity to be clear with oneself and to understand what dwells in the heart and the thoughts of the other. For some couples,
Third step – Power struggle
Spouses can not continually meet all the hopes and expectations of their spouses. They may be disappointed and may hurt themselves without realizing it sydney couples program They strongly feel their differences and may seek to turn back, to a kind of balance position of “everyone for himself”. Power struggles are common. Blaming, judging, criticizing, defending oneself … are reactions that often come back. Fear and worry appear in the conjugal relationship. The discussions are short: “I’m right, you’re wrong”, “This is good, it’s bad”, “It’s either that or nothing”.
Ideally, during this stage, the couple learns to forgive and adapt, to manage anger and injury. The entourage is then very important to support the couple.
It is also the stage whereone seeks to find a little independence. Individualism returns to the surface. If the first step focused on the “we”, couples now need to find ways to honor the autonomy, personal fulfillment of each. They learn how to be yourself while being engaged in a relationship. The prayer is mainly composed of requests addressed to the Lord, with sometimes accents of lamentation. God may seem distant or silent and / or fairly present.
Step Four – Discovery, Reconciliation, Rebirth
Increased integrity and willingness to talk to each other and trust each other allows the couple to take the previous step. Ideally, the spouses discover and create a new spirit of communion. They know their strengths better and their respective weaknesses. They learn to identify their fears and talk about them rather than externalize them through their behaviors. They stop recriminating and prefer to ask the other for a change of attitude. The resolution of the different passes from the option “winner / loser” to the option “win / win”.
Husbands see each other in a new light, endowed with qualities and defective. Empathy and compassion grow. They learn to appreciate and respect each other in a new way, stopping to consider the other for granted. They find a new balance between time spent together and personal time, renewing their understanding of independence and intimacy. Their thinking is more inclusive and open. A new form of hope and energy is living in the couple. Prayer is a prayer of thanksgiving and thanksgiving. The couple often acquires a relationship with God that is more mature and just.
Other challenges and steps – Becoming father and mother
Many couples experience other stages during the marriage, each with their own blessings and trials. Like marriage sydney couples program the experience of parenting brings out the best and the worst, the qualities and the flaws of everyone. This is a new opportunity to move forward together, to form a team, to face differences and resolve conflicts, to take the time to reflect and make choices. Becoming a parent is a spiritual experience in which parents and children grow together. As with marriage, there will be occasions of renunciation, of death to oneself and of letting go.
The couple may also be faced with other challenges throughout their life: hardship, unemployment, financial difficulties, retirement, death of the spouse, but also care for seniors and support for the youngest.
To grow throughout the marriage, you have to cultivate openness and flexibility! For those who have faith, it also means that we must remain attentive to the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit. Today, we want answers and certainties, Irenas Bookkeeping Services Sydney where the Faith requires listening to the Word of God and trust. The invitation to live the adventure of marriage and the nourishment necessary to fulfill it come to us from God. It gives us enough light to take the steps we have to take, how much we do not see the whole route or its end.
Paul R. Giblin (Ph.D), Associate Professor of Pastoral Counseling and Pastoral Studies at Loyola University in Chicago and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Source: www.foryourmarriage.org . Copyright © 2013 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). All rights reserved.
Translation: MaryAnn Nobile, Father Stéphane Bentz. Copyright © 2013 Diocesan Association of Paris (Diocese of Paris). All rights reserved.