Friday, September 19, 2008

The 3 Stages of Marriage

A recent post about the number of divorces in Egypt last year (75,000) and bloggers explanations of the reasons behind the rise in divorces inspired me to share a bit of wisdom from a psychologist’s perspective. This psychologist has a pretty exclusive practice in Dubai, is considered an expert, has published books, and charges a hefty price ($300/hour) according to my friend. My friend is receiving marriage counseling from him and I share the information with you about the stages of marriage.

Now, please note that I am not an expert on this subject, as I have still not been married (I just have not found the correct person yet). I just thought that due to the universality of marriage, it would be great to enrich people and see their viewpoints on it.

The first stage is referred to as “the honeymoon stage.” It is when the people first meet and start enjoying each other’s company. Both parties enjoy this stage tremendously as it is composed of laughter, fun and dates. They enjoy spending time together and engaging in activities that they both enjoy. When they are apart, they miss each other and look forward to their next meeting. Time is spent being silly on the phone and daydreaming of the other one. They walk around with a grin and people notice that they are happy. This can last all the way from initial dates until they are married and living together. This is the period whereas everyone hopes can last forever.

The second stage is referred to as “the serious stage.” This is where the couple has been together and has to start making serious decisions about their life. Where will they live? Do they want children and when? How many children do they want? How will they earn a living? Who will they associate with and what are their future plans? It involves serious discussions between both of them as these decisions are life-altering and the outcome will determine how they live their life. All of a sudden, reality strikes and gone are the days of the honeymoon where it was all about fun and games.

The third and final stage is “the commitment stage.” This is whereas the couple and their offspring became so attached to each other that they are one and the same. The number one priority for each is the other as it defines who they are. It takes precedence over all other things (e.g. career, work, vacation, and travel). Hereby, compromise for the good of the whole family is the most important parameter in any decision. Here routine sets in as your direction in life with your partner is defined and you are going via the motions. However, it is not necessarily bad as it is the ultimate and final stage of marriage that leaves it stable and gives it an essence of normalcy.

Apparently, all marriages/relationships go through these stages. Some stages can last a short time while others can last forever. Problems stem when one cannot make the move from one stage to the other. An example, a person who is addicted to the fun of the honeymoon stage runs away and seeks fun elsewhere when his significant other wants to move to the serious stage. The non-ability of both partners to move through the stages together spells the doom of marriages. Please note that there are times when you briefly move to another stage while your essence is in another stage. Also, there is a bit of overlap between the 3 stages and this is quite normal.

So what are your thoughts? Which stage are you in? When can I reach the honeymoon stage? When can you move from one stage to the next?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. Is this shrink a Westerner? I ask because my sister is a clinical Psychologist and I have been trying to get her to come over to this part of the world.

Anonymous said...

So what are your thoughts?
- I think that the serious stage should come before the marriage. Those are things that should be discussed prior to marriage.

Which stage are you in?
-We are definitely in the commiiment stage! I couldn't believe when I read that, it desrcibed my family perfectly.

When can I reach the honeymoon stage?
- Since you are Arab and if you are will be all goo gaa after the milka. Once you have the nikah and take her home, becomes the 'bought the cow'!

When can you move from one stage to the next?
-depends on you and your wife. i was pregnant 4 months later, so all the cutesy stuff is over once morning sickness kicks in. Nothing solidifies a marriage like cleaning uo your wifes vomit and helping her get unstuck from the tub!

Siwash said...

Thanks for your thoughtful and hilarious comments Ummadam. From my unsuccessful experience in getting to know my potential spouse, I have come to the realization that discussion pertinent to the "serious stage" without really enjoying the "honeymoon stage" spells disaster. The difference between the sexes (male/female) in this might be the prime reason for this.