Staying in shape takes work. Cultivating your friendships takes work. So does doing well at your job. So, why shouldn’t having a loving, healthy, and happy relationship require work too?
Indeed, strong and successful relationships require effort and hard work. They aren’t just magically created. That work is about being honest, practicing vulnerability, letting go of control, focusing on your self-improvement rather than trying to change your significant other, and being willing to make compromises and sacrifices for the sake of the relationship.
Undoubtedly, relationships shouldn’t be incredibly difficult on a regular basis. But, some degree of hard work and difficulty is inevitable in most relationships.
Unfortunately, many couples fail to understand this. Many couples like to believe that love should be effortless. They like to believe that relationships are a smooth journey and that the beginning phase of a relationship, which is also known as the honeymoon phase, should last forever.
But, the truth is that the honeymoon phase is not the only phase of love that every couple goes through. There are four more phases and unfortunately, not every couple manages to pass all of them.
Here are the 5 phases of love:
Phase 1: THE SPARK PHASE
The first phase is all about excitement and passion. This is the phase when you feel butterflies in your stomach, you love to spend time with your partner, and you can’t keep your hands off each other.
Since this is the phase when playfulness and passion rule the days and nights, all couples hope that it’ll last forever.
Phase 2: THE BOND DEEPENS
In this stage, you still feel butterflies in your stomach and you still exchange hugs and kisses and hold hands with your partner while you’re watching a movie together, but things are not the way they used to be during the first phase. Now the bond between you has deepened. It’s become stronger.
You and your partner have entered the serious zone. Perhaps you’ve moved in together, or maybe even you’ve got married and started a family.
Phase 3: REAL LIFE BEGINS TO THROW PROBLEMS YOUR WAY
Sadly, this is the stage when a lot of couples decide to break up. The honeymoon stage has faded and parenthood and work commitments have come into the focus.
This is also the phase when you begin finding your partner’s little idiosyncrasies pretty irritating and fighting frequently over trivial things. You also begin feeling tense and dissatisfied around each other.
During this stage, many couples even begin thinking about breaking up and some, in fact, do that since they aren’t ready to put in the effort and solve their relationship issues.
Phase 4: SEEING THINGS THE WAY THEY ARE
If you and your partner have survived the rough times of the third phase, congratulations – your love is real.
In stage four, all veils are stripped away. You no longer place each other on a pedestal. Instead, you accept that your partner has problems and insecurities, just like you. You acknowledge that they aren’t perfect and you begin accepting and loving them for who they are, with all of their flaws.
In phase four, you also realize that you can face any challenge and problem and overcome any temptation that life may throw your way as a team.
Phase 5: MAKING A DIFFERENCE TOGETHER
Now that you and your partner have embraced each other’s weaknesses and imperfections along with your strengths, and you’ve chosen to keep fighting for your relationship/marriage, that means that you’ve reached the phase of true love – love which is based on mutual acceptance of one another, not on passion and romance. Love that lasts forever.