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The Stages of Marriage
Getting married is not all bliss. All marriages go through different stages

Understanding the Different Stages of Marriage

Successful marriages do not just happen, and at times, a marriage may seem like more effort than it's worth. However, understanding that most marriages follow certain stages can help you and your spouse stay positive and willing to stay the course till death do you part.

The Honeymoon Stage

The honeymoon phase, which can typically last for one to three years, is characterized by intense passion and romance. You may feel as if you are the only two people in the world, which may cause you to ignore friends, family and others. When in this stage, you and your partner love one another's quirks and appreciate the differences you both have at times. It’s usually a time to adjust to each other’s way of thinking and to make compromises together.

The Realization Stage

As the honeymoon phase gives way to the realization stage, you may discover that those little quirks you loved about your spouse actually annoy you. You also start to discover (or realize) your spouse's strengths, weaknesses, and long-term goals which, for many, leads to disappointment. It is at this stage that individuals try to change their spouses and, when that fails, to begin to contemplate spending time apart from each other, even under the same roof.

The Turbulent Stage

During this stage, you and your spouse may feel as if you're on separate planets. You have a hard time communicating your grievances and so, instead of talking to one another, you bicker and nag. You're not happy, so you look for escape routes. It is not uncommon for couples to channel their frustrations in destructive ways, such as through alcohol or infidelity. At this point, you may be beyond just contemplating divorce and go so far as to consult with a divorce attorney to seek relief.

For those couples who wish to try and pull through, the marriage can still be saved. If you have children, it may take 10 to 20 years to re-spark the relationship, but if you can push through the hard times, you and your spouse may learn to love and appreciate one another again—and not for who you were when you fell in love but for who you are now. Bear in mind that unexpected stressors can interrupt your newfound bliss, which is why you need to stay on your toes, continue supporting one another, communicate, and when necessary, turn to outside help. Marriage is work from beginning to end. If you can endure it, you will appreciate the rewards.