Stages of Marriage
Summertime is wedding time for thousands of couples. For months, perhaps even a year, you’ve been focused on making your wedding day perfect. Thoughts and conversations have gone into deciding everything from colors for the flowers to what to say in the ceremony.
Hopefully your day really was perfect — or at least as close to your idea of perfection as you could reasonably expect. But after the wedding, after the toasts, the first dance, the party, and the honeymoon, there is this thing called marriage.
Even if you’ve been living together, most couples experience a shift in their relationship. Marriage is not “just a piece of paper” as more than a few young clients of mine have protested. You have made a promise to be together for richer, poorer, sickness and health. You’ve said to your partner and all the people who are important to you that you’re in it for the long haul. Marriage changes us as individuals and as a couple.
Healthy couples do go through some predictable stages:
The first three to six months: The honeymoon stage.
The afterglow of getting married can last for several months. You did it. You got married. For people who are happy with the decision, the celebration lasts for several months. Photos of the big day are posted on Facebook. Relatives and friends who couldn’t get to the wedding still call with congratulations and maybe a gift. You put together the wedding album. Every time you see the shiny new ring, you remember when your true love slipped it on your finger. Sex is frequent and exciting. You experience a new intimacy and a renewed commitment to each other. It’s a sweet time; a time to be treasured.
Six months to a year or so: Reality.
Somewhere in the latter half of the first year, you may start to find out you’re not quite on the same page about mutual decisions and lifestyle as you thought you were. Unmarried, you could put off some issues or pretend they didn’t have an effect on you. But now you may need to revisit some of the issues you avoided talking about.