What I Believe About Marriage
I believe the first stage of marriage is an emotional carryover from the dating years. I call it the Romance Stage. At this stage, newlyweds are usually filled with romantic ideas about everything they experience. They think they should be the center of one another’s world and the central focus of everything that occurs in their mate’s life. Some women expect to receive flowers two or three times a week, while some men get married expecting their new wife to satisfy all of their sexual fantasies. However, many couples fail to recognize that the erotic love of newlyweds should grow into a deeper kind of love that seeks to benefit their spouse, instead of their own selfish desires. Notable problems in many marriages usually occur at the onset of this transition period. I call this transition period the second stage of marriage.
I call the second stage of development for married couples the Reality Stage. To survive the second developmental stage in marriage, I believe couples must be willing to make a sincere effort to understand one another’s philosophy about life. The wife may need to work at understanding why her husband finds it difficult to justify a weekly florist bill to satisfy her romantic ideas about receiving flowers two or three times a week. On the other hand, the husband may need to develop more realistic expectations in the bedroom. He may need to cast aside some of his fantasies and modify a few of his expectations based upon the personal temperament and desires of his wife. But this does not mean she has a right to deny him sexual pleasure for an extended period of time (1 Cor. 7:5 KJV). I believe the couple who can successfully chart the rocky waters of the second developmental stage of marriage will be on the road to enjoying the truly rewarding experiences only found in the third developmental stage in marriage.
The third stage of development in marriage is called the Relax Stage. I believe the third developmental stage represents the time in marriage when a couple has begun to truly appreciate the personal differences in one another, things that they may have misunderstood and criticized during the second developmental stage in their marriage. Stage three couples have typically learned to ignore, and even laugh about, some of their spouse’s hang-ups and weird habits. Yet, their love for one another has increased and grown deeper. They have seen their marriage go through some of the storms of life and now realize how blessed they are to have a marriage partner who has stuck with them through the best of times and the worst of times. So keep the faith because...
Love Can Last a Lifetime,
The Early Years Interview
Dr. David Stephens is a relationship coach to married couples and singles in the dating game. He conducts marriage enrichment classes, seminars, and does keynote speaking for churches and civic groups. He has also served as a pastor and court appointed domestic violence mediator. He has made many television and radio appearances and hosted his own radio and television programs seen on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN).