The 2 Phases of Marriage
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There are two phases of a marriage relationship: the infatuation phase and the maturation phase.
The Infatuation Phase
If you've ever been in love, you know what this phase is like. It's the early years of dating and the honeymoon period of your marriage. You are...
- Physically Attracted -- This type of attraction encompasses all your senses (Song of Songs 1:2-3).
- Emotionally Obsessed -- You go to bed and wake up thinking about your love.
"When we are in love, we are emotionally obsessed with each other. We go to sleep thinking of one another. When we rise that person is the first thought on our minds. When we hold hands, it seems like our blood flows together. We could kiss forever if we didn't have to go to school or work. We lose interest in other things when we're in love." -- Gary Chapman (The 5 Love Languages)
- Attracted to Their Character -- You not only like them on the outside, but you like them on the inside as you learn more about their faith, passion, and desires (Song of Songs 1:3; Proverbs 31:10, 29-30).
The infatuation phase is so much fun because you can't get enough of each other. You do crazy things for love. You lose sleep and a lot of money, but you don't care!
After a while, the infatuation phase wears off, and the maturation phase turns on.
We see this as a bad thing. After all, we want to be happy. We want our lives to sparkle. We love the feeling of being in love.
Believe it or not, the infatuation phase is not where you want to end up.
If we stayed in the infatuation phase too long, we would end up broke and all sleep deprived. We wouldn't be as productive at work.
The Maturation Phase
The maturation phase begins as life gets in the way and reality sets in. Work responsibilities, raising kids, home chores, cooking, and cleaning. Life becomes normal and routine. The new becomes the ordinary.
As the years go by, you begin to realize you're married to a moving target who changes every 5 years. You find out how selfish this wonderful person is, and you find out this wonderful person is learning how selfish you are. You then have to make a decision: should I stay or should I go?
If you stay true to your marriage vows and commitment, you will begin to love your spouse.
"When over the years someone has seen you at their worst, and knows you with all your strengths and flaws, yet commits him/herself to you wholly, it is a consummate experience. Only if you maintain your love for someone when it is not thrilling can you be said to be actually loving a person." -- Tim Keller (The Meaning of Marriage)
Love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave (Song of Songs 8:6). The maturation phase is the love that is as strong as the most powerful negative experience. It is a love that tolerates no rivals.
As you become more aware that you're in the maturation phase, you start to appreciate your spouse more for who they really are. Believe it or not, you will experience some of the same feelings and emotions you had when you were in the infautation phase.
The maturation phase is where you want to be.