a long lasting, fulfilling marriage is a choice
Millions of couples the world over will testify that the incredible feelings of falling in love do not last forever. While I do suggest that you do all you can to make that stage last as long as possible, I also encourage you to realise that it will settle. In my opinion, there are 5 stages to a long term relationship.
- The Courtship Stage
I like to call this the marketing or lying phase. It’s when you both show each other how wonderful you can be when you are both trying your very very best one hundred percent of the time. It’s fun. It’s easy. It’s sexy.
- The Living together / Engagement / Honeymoon Stage
This is also a really easy going time. Sporadic arguments but both of you are congruent and working at the relationship. There is lots of compromise and chivalry during this phase.
- The Getting to know you Properly stage
Now this is the real acid test. This is when you start to see glimpses of the other side of each other. Some resentment may set in. some power games may appear. This is the time when you start falling out of lust and into reality. That cute twitch with the sniff is not quite as cute anymore. Many couples who confuse love and lust start to feel that they are falling out of love and start looking around for the pure chemistry of the courtship phase. This is when you see each other for who you really are, warts and all, and make the decision to stay. I assume if you are reading this book you chose to stay or you are wondering what went wrong and hoping to make the next one work.
- Then the True Love / Friendship Stage
Scott Peck defines Love as, “One’s willingness to expend energy for another’s Spiritual growth.”
Dr. Demartini defines love as occurring at the cusp of challenge and support – you see we need both unconditional as well as tough love in any relationship.
I define friendship as when you know someone fully, both their light and dark side, and are still able to accept them for who they are.
So the True Love Stage can only come with time, it’s when you fall out of infatuation into reality, when you see each other for what you really are, warts and all, and still remain friends through thick and thin.
I can honestly say that I love Jax more today than when we got married. This is because I know her better and we have become great friends. I often tell people to marry their best friend because when the dust settles from the chemical stage (oestrogen and testosterone) all that you have left is your friendship.
- And finally Growing Old Together
Well this is the ultimate goal right? When we get married we make commitments for life. What we really want is to still be happy together at 80 years old and I can assure you at 80, you had better have a great friendship, you are going to need it! My role models here are Mr and Mrs Williams. Mr Williams was absolutely besotted with Dalene. He affirmed it all the time and she blushed so beautifully when he complimented her. Jax and I were privileged to have them at our wedding and to be at their 50th wedding anniversary. I aspire to be like them.
falling in love
Scott Peck in his famous book, “The road less travelled” essentially explained this phenomena as, “The body having a chemical reaction to or with another person in which the two temporarily seem to become one to such an extent that they get their clothes off and procreate”. He essentially asserts that the falling in love period is a trick the body plays on us in order for us to get into the sack and ensure the longevity of the human race.
falling in friendship
Someone once said, “Falling in love is easy, any fool can do that. Staying in love, however, takes real skill”. Personally I believe that falling into friendship is more important than falling in lust or falling in love.
This is an excerpt from the book, “So you’re married, now what?
Written by the marriage expert, Stephen van Basten