By Wayne Sutton
Marriage is a wonderful thing. Well, at least it should be wonderful. In our Phone Counseling and Life Coaching business we all too often see marriage issues leading to separation, divorce, and even at times violence. Our hope and prayer is that we can lead people to an awareness of where they are in the marriage, and begin a process of reconstruction or rebuilding the relationship. But, that is jumping ahead. So, let’s look at the three levels of marriage closely.
The Romance Stage
First, this is often called the “Romance” stage – as two people have captured one another’s heart and attention. This period can and usually includes the dating and engagement period. The romance stage is all too often a “time of blindness” where we unconsciously ignore the negative and focus solely on the attractiveness of one another. This stage, unless affected by other past relationships or other deep issues, is usually fun-loving and care free. It is also usually easy to discuss “toxic issues” such as sex, money, and family. This romance stage almost always transforms into the second stage of relationships, which I refer to as the “Reality” stage.
The Reality Stage
Reality, this is the tricky area. Reality is time when the honeymoon period is over, and the true self emerges. We all too often see the other person “as we choose to see them” during the romance stage, and then the way they truly are during the reality stage. Worse, many times we perceive the person through our own perceptions, based upon the filters of past relationships and personal history. This is where we must take a self-analysis of our walk and expectations from both ourselves and those we bring into our life.
The Rebuilding Stage
Polarity between the couple can show the major differences, and if not careful can lead to resentment. Resentment is like a cancer of the soul, and this can bring jabbing words of pain or distancing from the couples. This is sadly the reality stage that almost everyone walks in, yet few are willing to leave. This stage can bring the emotional ups and downs for years or even decades. This up and down lifestyle is either tolerated and the person lives in a life of stress, or they end up in divorce.
There is hope however for nearly every marriage. The key to healing a marriage is learning to walk in the stage of “Rebuilding”. Rebuilding may be quick and easy, or it can be a lifelong experience. However, even the process can be rewarding as you go through the journey. Let the journey be an experience, and let love grow through the process.
How do you rebuild? Sometimes it is simple as self-evaluation and applying grace through the rocky times, and at other times it may include using a marriage counselor or therapist. Most situations can be healed through proper time and loving support. Where are you on the three stages of life? Are you ready to rebuild and get back to the romance stage?