Stages of marriage? I didn’t even realize there were stages of marriage until year 18 of our marriage when I started doing a lot of research on why every year of marriage is so different and how we change and grow as couples over time. I always wondered what the difference was with couples who stayed married vs. the ones that couldn’t make it past the 7 year mark. I had heard that if you make it past 7 or 8 years your chances were pretty high that you could make a successful marriage. Is that true? I started thinking a lot about our 7-8 year mark. That was definitely for us the hardest time so far.. although the next 3-4 years after that got even harder.
I was determined to come up with a way to find passion in all stages of marriage, especially when things are tough. We are in the 19th year of our marriage I can definitely say that for us, the years 7-12 were the roughest. I’ll tell you why. By year 5, we had a couple kids, and we were trying to prioritize each other the best that we could. The romance and newness was over. Toddlers can take over your time so I was tired, and stressed because money was tight due to certain situations in our life. For me, the hardest part was that the “newlywed stage” was over, and I had a really hard time with that, because I am a hopeless romantic and never wanted that to end. I wasn’t sure how to keep that going or if that was even possible.
So what are the stages and can we truly find happiness in each one? Yes we can. It takes work but we can.
The Excitement/Passion Stage
This fun, exciting and passionate stage can actually last up to two years. We found it to last a little longer for us because we met on a blind date and got married really fast, so our first year of marriage pretty much felt like dating and still getting to know each other.
You have just gotten married, had an incredible honeymoon, and now marriage is about to set in. Everything seems exciting! You’re setting up your new life together and your passion for each other is at an all-time high as it should be! You are so in love with your spouse that you let the little things go and they don’t bug you much yet.
As your feelings start to gradually change over this stage, it is important to remember that your love is not fading, it is changing. It is deepening. This is an important time to set up some ground rules for arguing (because it’s coming) diving up chores, responsibilites and finances. This is the time to set goals together, and get prepared for the challenges ahead called life.
But there are a lot of couples who say the first year is super hard! New person to live with, new choices and lifestyle, selfishness has to go away… I think it all depends on your personalities and how long you dated for.
Tip to creating Ultimate Intimacy in this stage of marriage: This is a great time to spend much time in conversation. This is the time to set ground rules and talk about everything. Conversation starters are really important to go over together because they can get you talking about things that will come up in your future, you didn’t even know you needed to talk about. In your first few years, it is important to not stop doing the little things you did for each other before you got married.
The Reality Check Stage
This is the stage where life and marriage starts to get harder. The newness is wearing off, the excitement is slowing down and you are very comfortable with each other and things might start to bother you. You might have now realized that you have “pet peeves.” This is the time and the opportunity to learn more about each other and practice healthy communication even more. Communication at this stage is a must and can make or break you. This stage is when you or your spouse’s dreams aren’t turning out quite as expected… life has a way of changing our plans on us 😉
Tip to creating Ultimate intimacy in this stage: This is the stage that is so important to learn how to communicate and focus on the positive things about your spouse. Learn how to talk things out like why they bug you, or what you can do better in the relationship. Practice listening to each other and using compassion and love. Listening=LOVE. Saying “I love you” and doing the little things you did when you were dating are super important at this stage so you don’t loose the passion as things loose their newness. Try to make love often and not let that part of your marriage die down.
The Rebellion Stage
This is the stage where your goals and dreams, or interests might be different than what you pictured in your future or big careers or plans have changed. Maybe one person wants to start having kids and one doesn’t. You might both be trying to build your careers and need the support of the other. At this stage things are starting to really bug you and you might be wondering if getting married was the right thing to do and how you are going to make it work. This is the power struggle stage, and can cause much frustration. So many life decisions to be made and made together.
Tip to creating Ultimate Intimacy during this stage: Don’t let yourself ration choices that can break your relationship. Talk about the important need of supporting each other and staying a team in all choices. In a team setting, you need to be 100/100, not 50/50. If one person is losing, your marriage is losing. Keep the passion up high during this stage so that your spouse still knows they are your true priority. Being physically intimate during this stage is super important so you can keep that romance and lust for each other alive.
The Cooperation Stage
You are now busy with life, careers, children possibly and at this stage of marriage things can be very stressful and busy. It is easy to put your spouse on the back burner and put everything else first. Don’t let that happen. You might feel like you are work associates running a company together, which isn’t always a bad thing that you can work together, but make sure to keep that romance alive. At this stage you have most things figured out and things can be going well, it is just important to keep your marriage a priority. This stage usually lasts the longest and goes through the years of having children.
Tip to creating Ultimate Intimacy during this stage: Put on your calendar a regular date night (once a week if possible) and nightly time to connect. Put your phones down, TV off, and talk to each other even if its just 30 minutes at night. If you need to schedule sex on your calendar, do it. Make it a priority to do the “little things” such as daily kisses, romantic gestures, love notes, and don’t forget to buy her flowers or a gift she might like every once in a while. For him, make sure you keep your brain ready for sex once often so that while you are intimate, you are fully in the moment so you can stay truly connected to each other.
The Reuinion Stage
You have made it through some really great times, and some really hard time by now. Your kids might be grown up, your career is going well hopefully. Your finances might even be looking good and getting better. You are probably feeling less stress and you feel like you know each other pretty darn good. At this stage, it is time to spend more time together and appreciate each other more. This is the time in your marriage that you will have extra time to rekindle the flames, get to know each other all over again and start having some fun adventures together!
Tips to creating Ultimate Intimacy in this stage: Time to have fun! Make a bucket list together using the FREE Ultimate Intimacy app. Plan some vacations and make some new goals together. Maybe you want to refinish the house, or go tour the world when you have time off. Maybe you want to take up a new sport or hobby you can play together? Communication is also still very important and talking about each others needs in the marriage or things that might be lacking. Don’t let this stage get boring, keep it exciting!
The Explosion Stage
This stage is the stage that can happen at any time in your marriage, not necessarily #6. This stage might happen at year 3, 5,7 or even 25. You might have a major trial hit you such as death of a loved one or parent, a huge financial trial or a major health trial. This stage could easily break your marriage. Instead of letting the big trials hurt or destroy your marriage, use it to grow closer and comfort each other.
Tips for creating Ultimate Intimacy in this stage: Pray with each other. Hold each other and be there to listen. You can make it through hard things when you remember that you are a team. Try to spend QUALITY time together during this time. Remember that God is there for you and your marriage when you let him in. He can help you get through really hard things. Keep sex on your important list even if it is the last thing you want to do. God designed sex for us to be connected to each other and unite as one. Sex is a great way to connect, and lower stress while growing closer together.
The Completion Stage
You can celebrate that you have pretty much made it through everything that life has thrown at you. You still love each other and you have accepted each other they way you are! You have learned to communicate well, and have learned to really enjoy each other. You have made it a team effort and have won. This is a happy stage.
Tips for creating Ultimate Intimacy in this stage: Enjoy reminiscing the memories you have made together but also enjoy making new ones. Make sure to show great appreciation to each other for the life you have built together. Keep the passion alive by still going new places, trying new things, and romancing each other. You know your spouses love language very well by now so make sure you still show them you love them by doing the things you know they need and want. At this stage write down your love story for your posterity and write down all the tips you have to give! In this world, if you have made it this far and you are happy in your marriage, you have some great tips to give to others!
For more tips on communication, how to keep the sparks alive, how to reconnect during hard times, and so much more… check out ultimateintimacy.com to download the free app to help strengthen your marriage!
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