There are several things I remember about my journey toward marriage. I can recall being proposed to, selecting my wedding party, and my actual wedding day and night. During that time I never thought about how disagreements would go, or what my husband and I would be like together years from that moment.
I didn’t know how a marriage changes over the years as a result of life changes and the maturity of both partners. As I enter my 17th year of marriage, I am starting to recognize and appreciate the phases we are experiencing as a couple. We are blessed because our marriage seems to be getting even better with time, even though it didn’t start that way. I wasn’t the best wife I could be in the beginning because I often made selfish decisions. My relationship maturity was necessary for our marriage to survive. Now, I am even better equipped to handle the future changes that may happen in our relationship.
In life we are going to experience change, it’s a fact. Those life changes will also have an impact on our marriage, whether that impact is positive or negative will be up to us. But we must be prepared.
Here are a few of the changes a marriage will experience and what to do in each of those phases.
The Newlywed Phase
The newlywed phase is usually the highlight for most marriages. It’s when both partners are at their best, because the love and excitement are both still fresh. That new love makes us want to rise to the occasion as do most new beginnings. Capturing the feelings that are present during this time will be very helpful in our future marriage. When the newlywed phase is beginning to feel as though it’s coming to an end, pull out those wedding and honeymoon photos, think about how you felt about your spouse at that time, and do what’s necessary to bring that love back.
The Parent Phase
Becoming parents will also change a marriage. Of course raising children is a blessing, but sometimes marriages take a hit. Most of us have trouble mastering and balancing both roles. Yes, the babies become the new priority. But remember, no happy marriage equals no happy home, which could result in dysfunctional and unhappy children. Being honest about needing help when we need it and intentionally making time for one another is going to be necessary.
The Mid-Marriage Phase
Being mid marriage is another phase we must pay attention to. At this point we are well into raising children and their activities become our life. We are transporting, helping them plan for their futures and sometimes we forget about our spouse. Our own parents are aging and may require more of us, again causing us to put our mates on the back burners. As you can imagine, these changes can add a lot of stress on our relationships. Communication is going to be crucial at this time.
Sharing with our spouse what we’re feeling, the good, the bad and the ugly, is going to be healing for our marriage. Proper planning is also going to be necessary during this phase. Whether it’s saving for college, or having parents move in with us, we must be proactive in order to manage this new phase.
The Seasoned Marriage Phase
A seasoned marriage is what most couples are looking forward to. The children are self-sufficient and it’s time to focus on each other. At this phase they aren’t many excuses as to why we can’t make our spouse the priority. It’s now just the two of you and the perfect time to reignite that newlywed phase.
The only constant is change. Our lives and relationships are going to change. However, preparing for these phases in advance, will save your marriage.
BMWK, how are you preparing for the changes your marriage will experience?