“The best thing to keep in life is the other.” – Audrey Hepburn
Oh, love. It makes the world go round. It has inspired many poems, the genre of the most read books and movies that make you grab a box of tissues. Nothing in life beats love. And when you find that perfect partner, you plan to keep it forever. Until death does you part. So why do 40% to 50% of marriages end in divorce? Couples tend to end their relationships when they become disillusioned, not realizing that this is just one of the many steps toward deeper and truer love.
The 5 stages of love
There are 5 stages of love that all relationships end up living. Knowing this beforehand can save you from future sorrows and problems. It can also give you hope that the situation you find yourself in will pass. If you face adversity together and hold on, life will be better. You will get closer and love will last.
Stage 1: Passion and joy
You meet the man of your dreams. He is cute, funny and downright sexy. It fulfills your waking dreams. You have no clear ideas and receiving a message from him makes your heartbeat. You fall quickly.
In this first stage of love, it is your hormones that make the show. You flirt, you have butterflies in your stomach and heart, you often put your hair back and you laugh a lot more. Falling in love makes you shine. Filled with fantasy and passion, the first stage of love, often called the honeymoon stage, tends to be everyone’s favorite because it is fun.
Stage 2: Things Get Serious
We are entering the second stage. You always form a beautiful couple. You hold hands in the park and the two of you curl up to watch a movie, but something has changed. You moved in together, you may have gotten married and invested in a house. There could be a new baby in the photo or a baby on the way. The madness of this honeymoon phase has subsided.
You still make love, but it’s more loving, more meaningful. And probably more rushed if you have a child. But now there are bills to settle. The rent. Babysitters. Adult stuff. This moment of pleasure has had its day and your relationship has entered the serious zone.
Stage 3: What happened?
Life seems to have ruined you and left you somewhere in the dust. You have friends who live in Bali, others who have fun after-work parties, and you get stuck at home every night cleaning a house, doing laundry, and making dinner that no one seems to enjoy. You feel like your partner takes you for granted. What happened to those hugs on the couch? The last time he held your hand was to show you the mess the kids had done in the bathroom. The third stage seriously makes you wonder if you have lost that feeling of love!
What happened? Have you fallen in love? Most couples begin to resent their partner at this stage of their relationship. They wonder what they have missed in life by not being single, and they wonder if being single would not be a better thing.
At this point, all illusions have been erased. You find yourself arguing more. The bills are piling up, and the kids are proving to be a challenge. Romance is like work and you don’t want to waste your time with it. You just want it to end. And most people do exactly that, they end their relationship.
Stage 4: Descent of the pedestal
If you survived the difficult times of the third stage, you will be rewarded. You and your partner fell from the pedestals on which you placed yourself. You become real people, not gods coming down from Mount Olympus. All the sails have been removed. You recognize that your partner has dreams and also problems, just like you. Stage 3 allowed you to see the frustrations of your relationship. The fourth step allows you to accept and overcome them.
You and your partner can face life and face adversity as a team. You have reached the stage of true love, not love held on romance and passion or bonded together because of a child, but love based on understanding and mutual acceptance.
Stage 5: Working as a team
Now that you have both embraced each other’s weaknesses and shortcomings, as well as your strengths and desires, you can join forces and make the world a better place.
What social issues are you passionate about? Do you both believe in healthy food choices? Participate in a cooperative and help on an organic farm or make deliveries of fresh fruits and vegetables to people who cannot go out. Do you like the arts? Join a local cultural club, start a project, or take a class together. Collaborate on an eBook. Become a volunteer in a national park.
As the old saying goes, “couples who play together stay together. By all means, keep your hobbies separate, but find common ground and make it a project to work on together.
Don’t let your relationship become a statistic. Knowing the stages of love will help you get through these difficult times to reach the other side. Love may be beautiful, but it is far from perfect. Nothing worth it is easy. Hang on and love will last.