Most relationships go through severeal crucial stages of development wherein they either flounder or flourish, depending on how things turn out for the couples concerned. To build a stronger and healthier partnership, it helps to know where it stands at the moment and learn how to succesfully move through each stage.
Stage 1: Attraction
In a sea of people, someone caught your attention – and you felt a sudden surge of emotions embracing your whole being, a palpable warmth inside your heart. You feel happy, inspired and on top of the world.
It’s called attraction – that “hormone-crazy” stage when the body fires (or misfires) those electrical impulses and chemical reactions that we usually associate with “love”. This is also the stage when the term “fascination” figures prominently and a person senses an attraction that remains rather mysterious and unexplainable.
Stage 2: Discovery
At this point, the love chemicals pulsing through the brain have possibly dried up as one to know the other person on a deeper level – including the bad traits, strange quirks and different points of view. Hence, this can either be a wonderful or a disappointing experience for the individuals concerned, as they realize their incompatibilities or compatibilities and what not. It’s a matter of decision then, whether to go on with the relationhsip or end it here.
Stage 3: Commitment
A deeper knowledge about your partner gives you the confidence and security that you have probably found the soulmate you’ve been looking for. This observable chemistry leads to your decision to enter into a committed relationship, where the uncertainties in the previous stages begin to fade in the background. The challenge, however, that couples usually confront at this stage is monotony and boredom when they start overlooking the importance of “romance” in their relationship. A couple moves past this stage through constant communication.
Stage 4: Power Struggles
At this stage, couples negotiate in order to get the most out of a relationship. It can be impersonal (“where to have dinner”) or personal (intimacy, family matters, religions, etc)
This is a tricky stage as the balance-of-power in a relationship keeps on shifting between the male and the female. To resolve such issues, it is important for both parties to recognize and respect each other’s individuality and learn to compromise.
Stage 5: Growth and Stability
As both learn to reconcile each other’s differences and go through trials and tests, they achieve a certain level of maturity as individuals and as partners. Learning from the past, they now move forward with the goal of helping each other grow and become better adults. Here, communicating each other’s needs, dreams and expectations become an integral part of the growth process so as to avoid regrets and resentments.
Stage 6: Romantic Love
Stage 1 is arguably the most thrilling and exciting phase in relationship because it involves physical attraction, adrenaline rush, sexual longing and jealousy. But romantic love is actually the most wonderful part because the union is already strengthened by comfort, security, communication and sexual chemistry. But couples should still consciously nurture their partnership and make it better or it will be easy to split into a lower stage once crisis arises.
Stage 7: Crisis and Recovery
Problems can occur at any point in the relationship, thus, it is considered the most critical phase. A crisis can take the form of an illness, a death of a child, loss of job, or an affair. Successfully overcoming these ordeals lies in the teamwork and the give-and-take relationship of the couple. The good thing is recovery from these difficulties will help equip them in coping with further challenges along the way and make the foundation of their relationship stronger.
So, on what stage do you think you and your partner are in right now?