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What Are the 7 Stages of Marriage?

What Are the 7 Stages of Marriage?

Updated on May 27, 2022

Reviewed by Julianne Cantarella, MSW, LSW , Certified Relationship Coach

7 Stages of Marriage - Get To Know Which Stage Are You In

If you’re wondering what are the different “stages of marriage”, you’ve landed just at the right page. We all know about the honeymoon phase, but did you know that’s just the first stage of marriage? And if the honeymoon phase is the first, what are the others?

Here, we’ll take you through the different stages of marriage, and also give you the signs to help you identify which stage you’re currently at.

These stages are unavoidable for every marriage that exists. Your marriage has to go through each, survive it and that’s when it comes out even stronger than before. 

Read on to find what these stages are!

Stages of Marriage Infographic

7 Stages of Marriage - Get To Know Which Stage Are You In
7 Stages of Marriage – Get To Know Which Stage Are You In

What are the 7 Stages of Marriage?

The difference between” I am married!!” and “ugh, I am married” is more than just a word.

It implies the stages of marriage a married couple goes through in their life. There are tears of joy as well as of hurt. Each stage of this married life throws in a new challenge for every couple.

Some come out stronger than ever but for others, it becomes a reason for separation.

Knowing about the different stages of marriage can really help you prepare for what you have to face in your new life with your better half.

But before you begin, understand that, no matter how hard you try, you cannot ever skip these stages and jump onto the next one.

So, instead of panicking, make sure to revisit this article every time you are met with adversity and need a direction for solving it. I am sure it will give you a clear idea for dealing with problems at each stage. Now, without wasting time, let’s start.

Stage 1: The Honeymoon Phase

Probably the most amazing phase of marital life is the honeymoon stage. This is the phase where you two are head-over-heels in love.

Your whole world revolves around your partner, their smile, their giggles, and their eyes make you feel at home every time.

You feel like sharing every minute detail of your day with them, dancing with them to old romantic songs, and kissing them under the rain. Most importantly, your eyes always look for them whenever you feel anxious and sad.

The honeymoon phase is the shy and sweet phase where a couple enters the spring of their relationship. They see love through rose-colored glasses and smell the same in the air.

The feel-good hormones are never in deficit because of the amazing sexual intimacy one begins to have.

Generally, the honeymoon phase starts right after marriage and lasts up till two years. Sometimes even more than that, but that completely depends on the couple.

This is also the stage where you begin to have trust and emotional intimacy and foresee a kinship towards one another.

So, savor every moment of this phase not because it will end but because this will be the most beautiful and memorable phase of your married life!

Stage 2: The Realization Phase

This is the stage of marriage where couples begin to look at more than just romance and sex. They start to realize that they have been putting on rose-colored glasses. They take it off and start to look at the realities with their naked eyes.

This is where the feeling of, “oh, I am married now” begins. You finally start to come off the disillusionment stage and see your partner as who they really are: Imperfect. Most partners get scared by this realization.

But you have to understand that this is what a real marriage is all about. Accepting your partner for who they are.

This is where you lay the foundation for your future years together so make sure there’s open communication between you regarding personal needs and wants.

If some things are annoying you, talk it out with your partner. Talk about sharing responsibilities for babies, health issues, and everyday routine.

Typically, this phase of realization starts in a slow manner during the honeymoon phase and completely sets in at the end of it.

But don’t carry the misconception that love totally fades away, their giggles will still give you butterflies but in a more calm and sensible way (as it should).

So, keep loving and keep accepting your partner because that’s important to get through this phase with fewer fights.

Stage 3: The Conflict Stage

In the first two stages of marriage, couples find a way to stay connected because love and togetherness stay the sole priority for them. But after the 5th year of marriage, the feeling of love begins to tone down and reality sets to lay ground more firmly than ever.

Partners begin to see each other as people full of flaws and mistakes. They begin to criticize every viewpoint of their partner, and every small disagreement turns into a huge fight. This is what people generally refer to as the 7-year glitch.

Marriage at this point becomes fragile for most people to handle. That’s why the divorce rate during this phase of marriage is pretty high.

But the rebellion stage can be dealt with wisely if you decide to choose the other side of the coin. Differences between a married couple are definite but instead of changing that, try to embrace that.

Don’t criticize your partner’s opinion every time, instead, state yours and find a common ground for understanding.

Most importantly, communicate. Only by proper communication, will you be able to traverse this stage without scars.

Stage 4: The Cooperative Stage

After the conflict stage begins to tame down, the stage of cooperation begins. If you got married in your late 20s or early 30s the cooperation stage begins in the middle age and lasts for the next 20 years.

This is where you have finally come to terms with the fact that your partner has their own vices. But irrespective of that, they are your source of solace.

This is also the phase where major changes in life start to happen, the coming of your child, purchasing your first house, buying a new car, securing funds for yourself and your child among others.

Even though a lot of things are happening, everything flows easily because there’s a sense of settlement with your partner.

And while there may be less sex and fewer declarations of love, there’s still a feeling of kinship with your partner and satisfaction with what you have built together.

You suddenly start depending on them for small inconveniences because you know, they have got your back and that’s when you reap the harvest of love and marriage.

Stage 5: The Connection Stage

After the cooperation stage, the connection stage begins where children get older and move out, all debts are finally paid and careers become more stable. Married couples tend to fall in love for the second time with the same person.

But this time, they meet each other as evolved individuals that have overcome difficulties and built a life together, sure, there aren’t glorious moments like the ones they had in their golden years but still, they find moments to cherish each other.

They find time to laugh at some silly jokes or talk over a cup of coffee or a short getaway to a nearby beach. Sexual intimacy also begins to see a new form.

However, you might want to give more time to fantasy play and toys. Typically, the reunion phase lasts for the next 3-5 years and ideally speaking, this phase is extremely important for the next journey that awaits you.

Stage 6: The Explosion Stage

The explosion stage comes after the connection phase gets over and truly lives by its name.

In this phase, life-shaking events take place: facing major health problems, loss of a job, loss of a parent, power struggles, children moving out, or shifting to a new city altogether. And with children settled and debts paid off, you have only each other to focus on.

This may lead to monotony and marital dissatisfaction. The empty-nest syndrome can create havoc as well with one of the partners urging to seek a young love, and leave this relationship.

Urges to fulfil sexual needs by dishonest means often end up being the reason for divorces during these stages.

Or if not, days begin with rough accusations, pointed fingers, and confrontation and end with frustration at night. But don’t worry, there is a way to overcome this.

Talk to a sex therapist or a marriage counselor and they will help the both of you revisit the love and respect you have for one another.

They will also help you overcome issues together and honor one another’s sacrifices for the life you have created. It may seem difficult at that moment but if your bond is strong enough, you can get through it.

Stage 7: The Fulfillment Stage

This last and final stage continues “till death do us part”. In this stage, couples understand that this is the most fulfilling relationship they have been in. They feel honored and happy to have gone through thick and thin with their partner.

They don’t look for love in anyone else, they realize that this is the person they were destined to be with, and no one else could have done it better than them.

Seeing their partner’s face every morning gives a sense of satisfaction and catering to their needs doesn’t feel like a responsibility.

Life once again tastes just like a wedding cake, the one you had years ago.

After all, a healthy marriage is one that goes through tough times but also makes you laugh about it years later, in one of those cafes where you first fell in love.

A word from ThePleasantRelationship

To tell you the truth, building a successful marriage is a lifelong process. It has its fair share of losses and frustrations, but it also has happiness, romance, and feelings of kinship.

Marriage is an institution that makes you a family that stays together throughout their life.

Yes, some days you would require a strong force to resist the urge of killing your partner but on some days, you would feel incomplete without hearing their voice.

Disputes with them would trouble you and their happiness will mean the world to you. And when you reach this point, that’s when you know you are with the love of your life!