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A recap of the stages of marriage from last night’s Sweetheart Banquet.  It is important to know where you are at, but, more importantly, to know how to move forward.

The Honeymoon Stage:

  • A sweet time of enjoying being together
  • Easy to focus on what is good about the other person
  • Endorphins are released in the brain during this stage that create a feeling of being “high on love;” these endorphins last around 3 years from the onset of a new relationship
  • Very important to be honest during this stage and establish good communication skills

The “What Was I Thinking?” Stage:

  • Reality and disillusionment set in as we realize our spouse is not the perfect specimen we had convinced ourselves they were in the honeymoon stage
  • Other person’s negative habits and behavior patterns become uncomfortably clear
  • Very important to learn about problem solving, conflict management, and better communication during this stage

The Challenge Stage:

  • Life crises factor into this stage, causing the relationship to have to grow in order to accommodate hardships
  • One temptation during this stage is for one or both of the spouses to reflect back on past relationships with other people (often ones that remained shallow and untested), creating unrest and sometimes unfaithfulness
  • Very important to focus on improving the relationship and keeping open communication during this stage, as well as focusing on the good points of the relationship

The Crossroads Stage:

  • This stage comes at a point in the spouses’ lives where they are each asking themselves, “What do I do at this stage of my life?” and the answer to that question must involve the family unit as a whole
  • A big temptation during this stage is to try to force the other person to be different, instead of working to change your self
  • Very important to stay emotionally engaged with your spouse during this stage and to resist withdrawing

The Rebirth Stage:

  • The art of compromise has been learned by this stage, making conflicts last for short amounts of time and without intense emotional backlash
  • People who reach this stage are willing to give each other the benefit of the doubt
  • Couples learn to re-appreciate and re-love each other at this stage, making time together sweet

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