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 of Marriage are:
Stage 1: Falling In Love Stage 2: Becoming a Couple and Building a Life Together Stage 3: Disillusionment Stage 4: Creating Real, Lasting Love Stage 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 description of the stages.