- Gender and Relationships
How to Get Through the Stages of Marriage
Marriage and Commitment
Catholics have been brought up to understand that the sanctity of marriage is sacred and forever but for a long term marriage to work there are a few things that you need to know in order to survive through the difficult times, yes in marriage it is not always smooth sailing and there will be a time when things get difficult and one of you would like to run for the door but with a little understanding of how to work through your issues, marriage and life as a couple could be as good as when you first met and there is hope for marriages no matter how long you have been together.
The problem with most couples is that future ideas and thoughts are not discussed until much later on in life and when you first get married you are two of the same going with the flow but once children, debts and stress come into the picture marriage becomes a burden leading both spouses to either feel alone and neglected or used and abused and for many adultery or divorce is easier than facing the problems together as the relationship feels like it cannot be saved but it can be saved and there is hope as long as you have faith and some understanding of what goes into a marriage.
The Seven Year Itch
It takes four years to get to really know someone and the first year is all about going with the flow and liking everything that your partner likes. The second year you begin to express your likes and dislikes. The third year you begin to notice bad habits and things that might irritate you and by the fourth year you either love everything about your partner or you decide to call it a day.
The first few years of marriage is filled with laughter, love and friendship but as time goes by things change for some reason, well it is difficult for two people to have the very same ideas and don’t forget men and women think very differently and it doesn’t matter how you put it, that is just the way it is. I don’t think seven years is exact it is more like ten years when one spouse feels as though the other one is annoying, irritating and has ideas that are opposed to yours and they also begin to feel as though their partner has changed. Yes change does happen and as you get older you grow, gaining more knowledge in the school of life. For some it is a plan to invest in the future with kids, a house and a pension plan whilst others feel that they cannot grow and get left behind. The seven year itch is a phase and it passes but you need to have faith and you have got to be able to communicate with your partner.
It is also important to understand that we all get older, we grow and we change but being able to manage those changes is how you will live to be old with the person that you married.
The “itch” phase for a woman happens when the only thing that she has achieved is being a wife. Personal goals and dreams are often put aside to make a spouse happy and after so many years of doing everything for one person you begin to feel as though you have been taken for granted and your efforts have gone unnoticed making you feel unappreciated leading you to question whether this is what you really want.
For men the itch is about spending the rest of your life with one single person that seems to have become a little dull and doesn’t have time for fun. Men often feel that their wives have changed somewhat since the wedding and yes this is true but nobody stays young and slim forever unless they are appreciated.
This phase leads couples to drift apart for a little while but as time goes by they realise how much love there is and they move forward.
The Seven Year Itch
Mid Life Crisis
Nobody wants to get older and in this stage life has rushed by and things like debt, children and stress have taken their toll on a marriage because both partners have lost communication and the essence of what marriage is truly about.
Men and women get stuck in a rut where life is all about work, kids and debt leaving no time for anything else and communication gets lost somewhere along the line. Communication is so important as you should be able to express how you are feeling and what it is that you really want.
Often men feel the need to feel young and by this stage have not accomplished all that they dreamed they would, leading them to do things out of the ordinary and turning them into selfish, self absorbed adolescents who believe that they can go back in time. Changes in personality, appearance and ideas happen overnight and the women in the relationship are often too busy to take control of the situation as they are stuck in a rut with cooking, cleaning and running around for kids.
The problem here is that both spouses feel that they have not achieved anything, they are unappreciated, neglected and alone leading to adultery or divorce in some cases.
To get through this stage of marriage both spouses have to communicate openly about how they feel and how life can change for the better. The only way to survive the “crisis” is to pray. Faith can move mountains and you might not believe it at the time but it is true, without faith and ensuring that your family go to church on a regular basis, marriage at this stage falls apart and leads to many sad and hurtful events.
Sometimes wives do not have the time to look good but it is important to feel good about yourself in order to look good and the only way that this can happen is to take control of your life by organising your time and communicating with your husband when you need help or feel unloved. This stage is about change, not your entire personality but a life change where you both make the efforts that you did when you first got married. Work through this together and avoid isolating yourselves from each other by finding common ground. Husbands often feel as though they have worked hard and have not been able to buy the dream boat, car or bike that they wished for starting out because debt and kids became a priority and wives feel as though they have become slaves to the home with household chores and a husband that never takes her out.
Communication, understanding and patience is what is required to get through this stage and together you can work through it by listening to each other’s needs, taking time out to be a couple as you find an escape from your rut.
Adultery can Lead to Divorce
Although this is against the Ten Commandments it does happen and if it has happened to you then it is extremely difficult to overcome and often it leads to divorce but for many it can be worked through.
Cheating is hurtful, humiliating and breaks the trust in a marriage as the hurt spouse is damaged.
Trust is important and without trust there is no relationship! After a spouse has cheated it is very difficult to gain back their trust and the adultery will always be at the back of their minds and for this to pass you need to have a good line of communication and your life has to become an open book for your partner. Any little even that takes place needs to be communicated and there can be no secrets at all. It is also important to actually be sorry for what you have done and instead of guilt give honesty.
Pay attention to each other and make a point of going out at least once a week as a couple just to have fun, let go and forget about bills, household chores and just listen, love and have fun with each other to bring you closer together.
Families can Overcome Debts and Stress
Children, Debts and Getting Older
Kids take up a lot of time and although they are our precious gifts they often put a wedge in a marriage as one spouse will feel differently to the other about decisions when it comes to the children. It is important to discuss what you would like to achieve with your kids, how they should be raised and the most important part of it all is to never disagree or argue in front of the children. Take a time out, patiently discuss the matter together and come to a solution TOGETHER.
Debts unfortunately is something that cannot be escaped and this causes many marriages to fail because the one spouse feels as though they are carrying the burden of it all without the other spouse understanding or taking some of the pressure. Both husband and wife feel the pressure and it is important to communicate with one another so that you can establish a way to help and support each other through these times. Often couples drift apart at this stage and feel that they are in it alone. This is when you need to give each other strength as you find solutions together and yes it sounds easier than it is but to get through debt issues, you need to support each other and communicate on ways to get through it together and this means swallowing your pride and asking for help.
As we get older dreams, ambitions or goals that have not been achieved seem to get us into a panic and this causes a great deal of strain in a marriage because one will blame the other or you will have different views on where life should be heading at this stage. Again communication is important and compromising is necessary in order to feel some peace.
Marriage is not easy and in order to look back one day when you are old and grey, watching over your grandchildren, you need to find peace, have love and keep the faith and the only way to do this is to have an open communication with your spouse and never keep it in always let it out, calmly.
Never forget that you are not just parents and providers but best friends and lovers too and ensure that you listen to each other’s needs and get out one night a week for a date.
Stand together as one unit and ensure that you give each other strength and encouragement by listening, learning, accepting and compromising and remember that a family that prays together stays together.
The Stages of Marriage
Have you been through the stages of marriage and which ones have you worked through?
The Seven Year itch
© 2016 Natasha Pelati