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Wedding season is just around the corner as 10.8 percent of engaged couples opt to marry in the month of June, with August and October rounding out the top three preferred months to start a new life. With the average cost of a wedding at $20,000, couples earnestly plan for their special day but are they prepared to hurdle the varying different stages of marriage yet to come? Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker, a licensed psychologist and marital counselor recently described the five stages of marriage and the effect each has directly on the marriage.
The Honeymoon Stage
Hartwell-Walker sets this phase at the first three to six months of a couple’s venture into marriage. She basically refers to this stage as the afterglow of the big day. Photos are posted online, relatives are still calling with congratulations and the memories of the big day are still in focus. During this phase, couples also experienced a new intimacy and an unbreakable bond of commitment.
Reality Sets In
Hartwell-Walker pinpoints this stage at six months to one year and describes it as an eye-opener. She suggests that during this stage of a marriage each spouse is beginning to notice that as a couple you may or may not be on the same page. Differences about mutual decisions and lifestyle choices may need to be revisited, for instance:
This is a critical stage of a marriage. If a couple opts to work together rather than harp on unrealistic expectations this is the opportune time to forge a foundation for years to come.
Adjust and Adapt
Usually, by the third year of marriage couples have comfortably settled into a flow of marriage both as individuals and as a couple. Although love has not diminished, it has settled on a gentler course. The intimacy meter lessens but the love remains, and often a simple gesture of affection means just as much. Also during this stage, Hartwell-Walker warns against losing the playful side of the marriage while couples are coping with the everyday logistics of married life.
When Two Becomes Three
When baby makes three, Hartwell-Walker hopes that at this juncture the couple has made a strong commitment to raising the child as a team. Tools to handle the daily responsibilities such as parenting, juggling work, finances and household duties should also be eventually distributed. If not, she believes this could begin the breakdown of a marriage possibly leading to divorce. She also reminds couples to set aside some time for each other to strengthen the marital bond.
Transitioning into Maturity
Once couples have reached this stage it may be time to redefine the marriage. Children are now independent and the marriage has survived to create a history of experiences, memories, hardships and triumphs. It is time to become “partners first” once again.
If you and your partner have failed the test of time and your marriage is failing, perhaps divorce is your only salvageable recourse. The experienced Hinsdale divorce attorneys of the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio understand the complexities of divorce no matter the circumstances. Contact our office today at 630-920-8855 to schedule your no-cost consultation today.