Marriage – “It’s a living thing!” Marriage goes through changes as your relationship with your spouse grows. Some of these changes come naturally as you mature and as you go through the developmental process of living. Couples who are entering marriage and married couples should realize there will be changes and that these changes will have an impact on their relationship with each other. Here is one suggestion of the changing stages of your marriage:
- The Honeymoon Stage: This is not the weekend or two week trip you take after your wedding. This is the time you spend learning each other when it is just the two of you. You love the time you have together and are together almost all the time. Amy and I had a 7 year honeymoon.
- The Expectant Parenthood Stage: Your first child is on the way and this changes the way you see each other and the way you relate to each other. Your love changes. This change is hard to explain, other than you begin to see your spouse as partner in the joy you are experiencing.
- The Preschool Parenting Stage: You and your spouse are focusing time on the little blessing (blessings) that crawl and toddle around your house. You are teaching them to talk, walk, feed themselves, and to begin to take care of themselves. You are watching your “mini-me” learn at a rapid rate. You see your spouse in their eyes and you see the twinkle in your spouses eye as you raise this little person together.
- Child Rearing Parenting Stage: Your children are school age. You send them off to the care of teachers or you teach them at home. They are growing more and more independent and you and your spouse spend time talking about (concerned about) the children and training them to become young adults.
- Adolescent Parenting Stage: This is where we are. Our son is about to turn 16. We can
see the influence we had on him from his birth until now showing in the way he treats us and those around him. Your adolescent begins to “spread their wings” and try flying solo more than you are ready for. When they are spending more time with friends and are old enough to stay home while you go out, you find yourselves as a couple finding more time with just the two of you.
- Child Launching Stage: We are getting there. We are watching our friends and siblings as they go through this stage. We see their fears as they let go of those children and we see their relationship as a couple returning to just the two of them.
- Empty Nest Stage: You are still young, but now there are only two of you. If you did not build a great relationship in the Honeymoon Stage and maintain a healthy love through the next stages this stage can be a challenge. You may have “fall in love” again. If you kept your relationship strong, this is a great time for you.
- Retirement Stage: You are no longer working outside the home. The children and grandchildren come to visit, but it is mostly just the two of you. Look at this time as a “second honeymoon” stage. My parents just took two weeks to go camping – they did not tell the children – how dare them!
Where are you in your marriage? How are you making it work?