Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The 4 Stages of Marriage

Our church bulletin this past week was promoting a retro-vie (au francais, retrouvaille) weekend to enrich the marriages of the parish. According to the little blurb on the event, the four stages of marriage are

1) Romance
2) Disillusionment
3) Misery
4) Awakening

Now there's a sacrament I want to be a part of.

At any rate, the theory is that most marriages run into trouble and never get to the 4th stage to thrive. Before you give up, so they say, you should come to retro-vie.

On the one hand, I don't mean to knock the program, as I'm sure there have been hundreds, maybe thousands of marriages saved through the communication retraining they provide.

On the other hand, discovering this statistic sparked an interesting conversation between Chanel and myself because neither of us agreed with these four stages. That's not to say our relationship is perfect or that we haven't had struggles (read other entries of this blog for evidence of them), nor do I desire to hold us up as some sort of paragon of married life. We just don't see our relationship developing as they say marriages do.

It's not even that it feels as if we haven't gotten past stage 1 and, "ahh, we just love each other to bits and bits in a mushy gushy kind of way *squee*." Rather, we each have the impression that we've arrived at stage 4 by means of some undisclosed shortcut. We see each other's faults and we have accepted them and continue loving the other fully and without reservation. Did I, for even an instant, ever regret our union? If I have, it was for such short a moment as to have not existed at all. Is that stages 2 and 3 right there? Maybe.

Could it be possible that we reached stage 4 prior to getting married in the first place? We knew each other as friends for ... well, a long time--years, really, before we started dating, and we dated for only...um, a little while--a few months, maybe, before getting engaged. Certainly, we could not have recovered from disillusionment and misery in such a short amount of time.

Which means we were, if ever at all, disillusioned and miserable with each other as friends. Hm. Glad we got it out of the way early, I guess.

Oh, and happy 9 year anniversary of our first date. :-)

1 comment:

  1. The problem with most people is that they ignore the signs of failure with their own eyes. What's worse, they shun anyone who calls them out on it. To be successful in anything, you need to be docile to change and embrace the things that will bring you closer to God through it all.

    With you and Chanel, it was losing your job. I give Chanel a great deal of credit for sticking with you through it all, and then accepting your decision to uproot your family to Kentucky. I'll be the first to say that it didn't make much sense to me at first, but now I'm beginning to see the wisdom and finger of God in your situation.