Relationship Stage Analysis During Marriage Counseling
Why do I do what I do as a Marriage Counseling Professional?
As an effective Psychologist, Relationship Advice provider, Life coach and Marriage Counseling practitioner, while working to save a relationship, I find it very helpful to form an opinion as to the current “stage” of the relationship.
This article will explain the ‘how’ and ‘why’ behind this practice.
Many scholars and practitioners agree that relationships generally go through five phases of development: Honeymoon, Accommodation, Challenge, Cross Roads, and Rebirth.
Phase 1: The Honeymoon
This is the romantic, passionate, stars-in-the-eyes phase. I either get the impression that sex is good and there is never enough of it, or I stop and ask about it. There ought to be plenty of attraction and sexuality between them and if not, it becomes a priority in my discussion. The Psychologist role is leading here.
Phase 2: Accommodation
We all have to deal with the day-to-day realities of life. In the Accommodation stage, compromises are made regarding the fulfillment of our needs and expectations. As a result we engage, from time to time, in power struggles when our partners’ habits, needs, anger and withdrawal patterns become uncomfortable to us. It is important for me to question the proportion of these struggles to the entire marriage experience.
A few examples are “how soon’, ‘how much’, and ‘how intensive’. I have an
opportunity to learn from this stage the potential strength of the couple in problem
solving, managing conflict, and their communication patterns. The Life Coach role is the leading one here.
Phase 3: The Challenge
Starting a new job, dealing with unemployment or the unfortunate occurrence of an accident or family illness are events that allow me to assess how strong the relationship is. It is fair to say that challenges are usually unwanted but nevertheless necessary for the couple if they really want to know what to expect from each other. I also need to know these expectations also. Raising children is a positive challenge; I definitely need to know how it reflects each partners’ qualities and their value system and ability to prioritize the family’s future needs. I’m a typical Marriage Counseling professional here…
Phase 4: The Crossroads
When a couple reaches this stage they have experienced a number of challenges (e.g. medical or money problems). In addition, more life decisions will be made (e.g. to have children, where to live, spending habits). This stage is different from the Challenge Phase because the couple has learned how each responds to these situations. This is the stage in which I learn how mature their emotional patterns are in dealing with their differences. It is most common at this stage for serious problems to develop. Typically, I expect to hear one or more from the following three: debates and regrets regarding the relationship, emotional withdrawal as a survival mechanism and attempts to force the other person to drastically change. When both individuals clearly see this progression I am able to offer a therapeutic strategy. Here I can fully exercise my role as a Relationship Advice provider.
Phase 5: Rebirth (New marriage lifestyle)
70-75% of all couples whom I have counseled have reached this positive stage of a “new beginning” of their relationship. At this point, folks really know the person they have married; couples feel once again appreciated and loved. It is my scientific Psychologist role practice to arrange a one-year follow-up consultation either in person or by phone to gather the qualitative as well as quantitative data in order to identify the couples’ continued ability to positively communicate with each other their disappointments, hurts, frustrations and most importantly their sexual intimacy.