Feel like nothing has been going right in your marriage lately? If so, you are not alone. Marriages ebb and flow. Sometimes, things are smooth. In other cases, the ride is bumpy.
You may wish that your relationship was the same as it was when you first got married. You may wonder what happened and long for those days again. Do you know what happened? Your marriage went into another stage.
It is as simple as that. Relationships tend to evolve over time. Things change. You will not be happy 100% of the time. Your partner will do things that annoy you. They may make you angry. You may even be considering divorce.
This is all normal. Marriage is dynamic. When you first get married, there is excitement and happiness. It would be nice to have that feeling all the time, but that is not how marriage works. There are ups and downs and highs and lows.
In fact, marriage goes through six stages of evolution. Here are the stages you should be aware of.
This is the honeymoon stage of the marriage and can last as long as two years. Everything seems wonderful. That is because your body is producing enormous amounts of endorphins, so you feel unusually happy and excited about everything in your life. You and your spouse are blissfully in love. You cannot keep your hands off each other. You find joy in fulfilling your spouse’s needs and vice versa. You avoid conflict as much as possible. Instead, you show your partner your absolute best self. You are both able to deepen your understanding of each other despite the distractions of daily life.
The Honeymoon is Over
Things start to go downhill once the honeymoon is over. Reality sets in, and love is no longer conditional. You start to know your spouse a lot better and realize they are human and have flaws. Your body does not keep producing the same level of endorphins, so basically, you are not as happy as you once were. Couples become critical of each other at this stage. Partners fail to meet the other’s needs, leading to disappointment. The relationship starts to fall short of the partners’ expectations. You have to start overlooking the flaws and learn how to resolve conflict and communicate effectively.
At this stage, the disappointment worsens and turns into resentment and anger. Power struggles become common. The spouses may try to revert their marriage back to the honeymoon phase, but to no avail. They start to pull away from each other as conflict starts to rear its ugly head. There may be arguments about money and sex. The couple may spend less time together, and this may become a problem for one or both parties. Unmet expectations continue to be a theme. This may lead to revenge in the form of affairs. Partners are feeling distressed at this stage, and they need to learn to manage their differences and work together as a team. Otherwise, many couples end up divorcing at this stage.
At this stage, the arguments may be fewer and farther in between, but that is because the spouses are diverting their focus. Many learn to accept their spouse for who they are, which can be difficult. They may not necessarily be happier, but they are doing their best to avoid conflict. The spouses are worn out emotionally but focused on benefitting the family. This may include raising children and advancing at work to earn more money. This collaboration is a bright light as the couple faces declining satisfaction in their relationship. Try to deepen your commitment at this stage. Rely on your history with each other to make it through. Many couples are comfortable at this stage.
Doing Your Own Thing
At this point, you have stopped relying on your spouse to fulfill your needs. Spouses become independent and gain confidence as they go out and do things on their own. They seek happiness from sources other than their spouses. This can reignite their passions, such as once-favorite hobbies. However, the spouses also feel that their marriage has limitations, given that they have to fulfill their needs on their own or with other people besides their spouse.
In this final stage, the spouses accept reality. They are not necessarily looking to the future together. Instead, they are focusing on the present. Spouses continue to rely on themselves instead of expecting their spouses to fulfill their needs. They maintain a separate emotional identity and focus on a mature relationship. At this stage, the spouses accept responsibility for their own pleasures and pains.
What to Keep in Mind
While all relationships evolve, they will not necessarily move forward in this order. Also, you may not experience all these stages. Relationships all progress at different paces, so it is possible that you may skip a couple of stages.
All marriages have the potential to improve. Your relationship is constantly evolving, so even when you feel like you are in a rut, keep your head up and think positively. How you feel about your marriage is always changing. You may not feel too happy at the moment, but that can quickly change.
Seek Legal Help
Marriage requires a lot of effort. You will not be happy all the time. That is just something you will have to deal with as your relationship evolves.
What stage is your marriage in? Are you ready to call it quits? If so, count on Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler to guide you through the process. To schedule a consultation, call (954) 346-6464 or fill out the online form.