Love is a journey, literally. Everyone goes through a natural progression of relationship steps during their time with their partner, and it isn’t always a walk in the park.
From puppy love to that seemingly endless phase where you never want to leave the bedroom, down to that moment when you realize her adorable habit is actually kind of annoying, here are the most common relationship steps taken by committed couples.
This is the stage in the relationship where you likely find yourself cooing such phrases to friends and family as: “She’s the one!” or “He is perfect!” In the puppy love stage, all logic goes right out the window.
Puppy love is usually considered to be intense but shallow in nature. Call it what you like, this is the stage of the relationship which gives you butterflies. Every touch is like a spark of lightning, and every text makes you giggle.
Your mate can do no wrong. They never annoy you, and you will do whatever it takes to get them to think you are equally as amazing.
Everything about them is sexy, cute, and desirable. In every way, you can’t get enough. In most of the cases, this magic pull lasts anywhere from three months to a year.
This stage is still part of the puppy love realm. It’s exciting to get to know about your new partner.
You spend hours talking about things that would never seem important to anyone else. Your families, past relationships, deep secrets, favorite foods, and future goals are all subjects up for discussion during this relationship step.
During this stage, you’ve left your private party of two and have decided to take your relationship out into the world.
You’re getting to know each other’s friends, families, and are planning trips and adventures together. You are happy and comfortable around your partner to spend a day in your pajamas and burp without being mortified.
The end of puppy love
During this stage, you may find that your significant other isn’t as flawless as you had once thought. Those little things that you once found cute or quirky are suddenly seeming annoying and odd.
During the infatuation stage, any fight –no matter how small– seemed like the end of the world. Perhaps, you didn’t even fight at all!
But now that puppy love has come to an end, you may find you are sniping at one another more and more as time goes on.
What you really think
Now that you have gone through infatuation and lust and have settled into a comfortable, realistic love, you begin to form your real opinion about your partner. Could you have a long-term future together?
Do your goals match? Do you have more good times than bad?
You have done a mental checklist of the pros and cons of your relationship. This is usually where you either break up or start making plans.
Building your lives together
Now that your partner has passed your emotional evaluation, one of the next relationship steps is to start building your lives together.
You choose jobs that will help support you as a couple, and you might buy a puppy together, you may move in, or start talking about your mutual plans for the future. You are delighted, and you both are convinced that you have met your perfect match.
Let the wedding bells ring!
One of the more prominent relationship steps occurs in this stage: engagement and marriage. Now, how to make a marriage work, depends on the two of you.
You will find no book with specific rules for a happy marriage or pre-determined keys to a successful relationship.
So for a good marriage, you may have your own marriage rules. It is the two of you, who has to decide whether to have children, where to buy a house, and things alike.
You have to build your own keys to a successful marriage. After all, a perfect marriage is a myth, but a successful marriage is a reality!
It would be helpful to remember these words of wisdom for marriage. But, are you still wondering, how to make marriage better?
Watch this video for some essential marriage advice on how to find happiness in your marriage.
The seven-year itch is one of the relationship steps, that usually happens from years 5-7 and can reappear around mid-life or menopause. This is caused by intense boredom after being with the same person for many years.
You start to feel unappreciated or simply wish for the spark and zest of a new relationship.
There is also a chance that in your many years together, your partner has broken your trust in some way that has made you distant—the feelings associated with the seven-year itch range from mild to intense.
In moments like these, it is important to remember that relationships are like rollercoasters. They have ups and downs, always.
Remember your marriage vows or the private vow that you made to your partner to be faithful and see your union through the good and bad times. Boredom happens, and love follows when you stick it out and continue showing each other the same respect and passion.
This is the recipe for a happy marriage, that you just unveiled!
The honeymoon reappears
If you loved the bliss of the puppy love stage where everything about your partner fascinates and delights you, you’re going to love this aspect- honeymoon revisited!
Similar to the first stage of infatuation, years of being together has moved past “cool and comfortable” and take a backseat into that intense love.
Years of knowing one another have only endeared you more to your partner. You will feel the honeymoon stage appear and disappear at random, bringing along with it, surges of heartfelt love and appreciation for your partner.
This is one of those relationship steps that fills you with ridiculous happiness and empowers you to strive to be a better partner.
After years of trials and overwhelming love, you reached one of the final relationship steps: real commitment. This is the kind of loyalty that comes from tried and tested love that has overcome hardships.
In this stage, both of you know the other’s wants, needs, and desires.
You have forged a bond of trust and honesty and managed to reach mutual happiness. This is a stable, lasting love that refuses to quit. This is a real commitment!
No matter what relationship steps you take in your union, always remember to show one another respect, loyalty, and appreciation. Never take one another for granted, to keep the spark alive in your marriage.
Well, you have just unlocked the key to a happy married life!
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.