There are two marriage stages that exist for couples. Marriage stage 1 and 2
Below, we investigate the qualities of each.
The main function in this marriage stage is to form attachment with our partner. In order to do this, we subconsciously do two things: we overemphasise our commonalities, and we minimise our differences.
Similarities can emerge from our physical, emotional, psychological, environmental and spiritual features. When we overemphasise our commonalities, we make our similarities greater than they are in actuality. This is not intentional, and is not ‘lying’. On the contrary, it is pivotal during the attachment development phase.
Below, in bold, are examples of commonality overemphasis:
-‘We have exactly the same hobbies.’
-‘Our opinions are all so similar.’
Likewise, in this marriage phase, we minimise our differences. The intimacy between our partners and us enchants us, and we immerse ourselves in our shared experiences. Here, we focus on what we share; in this way, we disregard our individuality.
Below are examples of difference minimising:
-‘He/she does not clean up after him/herself – this does not bother me.’
-He/she only makes unhealthy food. – It’s okay; I will compensate by preparing very nutritious food when it is my turn to cook.’
Within the first marriage stage, there are three main qualities:
-There is heightened passion, absorbing emotions and intense sexual urges.
– We reciprocate equally. That is, we give the same amount as we take. We feel satisfied with the nurture, attention and love that we receive. At this point, this support and nurturance is the root of our mutual attraction; we receive it on various levels.
– We do not ask our partner to change. Instead, we accept them as they are, and we compromise in order to please both of us. Without any effort, we ask the four integral questions: What do you want, feel, need and think? This marriage stage is a sort of honeymoon-type phase.
Through all of this, we create a concrete foundation. This enables the second marriage stage. Marriage counselling is an excellent way in which to gain insight into which marriage stage we are in.
In this marriage stage, differences become apparent. We see our partner more objectively than we did before – this is normal. It does not automatically mean that the relationship cannot work. Counselling allows us to ease into this stage.
At this point, we may require more space from each other. Similarities seem to decrease and differences seem to increase. This is natural, and it is now when we re-examine and reconstruct our boundaries. This boundary reconstruction is essential for the relationship.
In some cases, when the differences are too big or overwhelming, the relationship cannot survive. In other cases, the differences become irreconcilable – but slowly. Here, communication is very important, but it is also difficult. We must understand what we want and what we need, before we can articulate it to our partner. This is why marriage counselling is so pivotal during this marriage stage. It allows us to come to terms with our emotions during the transition from stage one to stage two.