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The 5 Stages of Marriage and How to Accurately Read Your Love Map

We all want
real, lasting, love. Yet, too many of us end up getting blown apart by
the Divorce Bomb.
True, some marriages should never have begun and some should end, but too many
good marriages end up on the rocks because we have a faulty love map. Here I
will give you some tools to get you started on the path to the relationship
you’ve always wanted.

I had assumed
that becoming a marriage counselor would not only help others, but would help
me to find my true love and live happily ever after. I was dead wrong. After
going through two marriages and two divorces, not much fun as most of you well
know, I decided I had to figure out how to have a marriage that worked. I
succeeded beyond my wildest dreams and Carlin and I have now been joyfully
married for nearly forty years. The key to our success, and yours if you want
to learn, was to understand the 5 Stages of Marriage and how to correctly read
our love maps.

The 5 Stages

Stage 1: Falling in Love

2: Becoming a Couple and Building a Life Together

3: Disillusionment

4: Creating Real, Lasting Love

5: Using the Power of Two to Change the World

Stage 1: Falling in Love

Falling in
love is evolution’s trick to get humans to pick a mate and have kids so that
our species carries on. It feels so wonderful because we are awash in hormones
such as dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, testosterone, and estrogen. 
Falling in love also feels great because we project all our hopes and dreams on
our lover. We imagine that they will fulfill our desires, give us all the
things we didn’t get as children, deliver on all the promises our earlier
relationships failed to fulfill. We are sure we will remain in love forever.  And because we are besotted with “love hormones,”
we’re not aware of any of this.

Stage 2: Becoming a Couple and Building a Life Together

Many of us
reach Stage 2 but continue to long for the crazy, hormonally driven, passionate
love of stage 1.  At this stage, our love deepens and we join together as
a couple. This is a time when we have children and raise them. If we choose not
to have children, it’s the time when our couple bond deepens and develops. It’s
a time of togetherness and joy. We learn what the other person likes and we expand
our individual lives to begin developing a life together.

In movies and
fairy-tales, the next stage is “And they lived happily ever after.” But in real
life, this is the time when disillusionment sets in and we question whether we
should be together. We think we may have made a mistake. Some remain unhappily
married. Some get a divorce. Few recognize that they have entered stage 3.

Stage 3: Disillusionment

This is the
stage few people know about or understand. It’s where my first two marriages
ended and where the majority of marriages fail today. However, it’s not the
beginning of the end as most people fear, but the entrée to real, lasting,
love. But take note: If you don’t
have a proper love map and a guide to see you through, you may get lost. 

It’s in the
disillusionment stage that we undertake real soul work. It’s not for the faint
of heart. It requires courage you never thought you had and I won’t lie to you,
the journey can be frightening, but the rewards for those who take it are
immense. In next week’s article I will give you the detailed map to get you
through Stage 3, Disillusionment, but for now, let’s complete a description of
the stages.

Stage 4: Creating Real, Lasting, Love

When Carlin
and I hit Stage 3, we were prepared. As painful as the rights were and the loud
silences, we never gave up on love. Instead of bailing out we went deeper. The
benefits of Stage 4 are contained in the name. It’s real. It lasts. It is love like you never imagined it
could be.

For the first
time, we were able to see the other person as they really were, not the selfish
projection of our unmet needs. We felt safe in a way we never had. We felt
truly seen and accepted for who we were and we accepted ourselves as the
flawed, yet glorious, human beings we all are.

And here is
the bonus. We fell in love again. But it was much wilder, much
crazier, much more joyful than the first time around.

Stage 5: Using the Power of Two to Change the World

Here’s a
little mind experiment. What would the world be like if every couple had a
proper love map and successfully navigated the five stages of love? I’ll bet it
would be a more loving, kinder, world where we understood and respected our
differences. I suspect the left and right wouldn’t be as rigidly separated and
heads of state wouldn’t so easily lead their countries to war.

In practice,
it means a couple feels so much gratitude for what they’ve been given, they
want to do their part to create a better world for their children,
grandchildren, and all people who share this beautiful planet. In the words of
my colleague, Charles Eisenstein, we work together to create “the more
beautiful world our hearts know is possible.”

If you liked
this article, please share your comments below. In addition, I offer you my
fifty years’ experience as a marriage counselor in my book The Enlightened Marriage: The 5 Transformative Stages of
Relationships and Why The Best is Still to Come

This article first appeared on Jed’s blog.

Image by Sonam Prajapati from Pixabay

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