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Where to Focus
Happy Valentine’s day! I hope your weekend is enjoyable. Forming a healthy, mature marriage relationship is one of the hardest things you can set out to accomplish. To make it easier to know how you are progressing, let’s divide marriage growth into three stages. These stages are overlapping in the sense it is possible to be working in all three at the same time. But each stage builds on the previous one.
#1 The Preparing Stage
The goal in this stage is to emerge with two healthy adults. But individuals in this stage are not mature enough to sustain a healthy relationship. If too much pressure (expectation) is applied, conflict will result and the relationship will fail. This collision is setup when two people meet and fall in love instantly – only to find out later they did not know the person as well as they thought they did. Each person needs to be able to function as a whole person. If you are in the stage and are already married, you will need invest significant time and effort before you will see the fruits of your labor.
#2 The Practicing Stage
The goal in this stage is to emerge with two adults who know how to work together as a team. The individuals are healthy enough to practice being a team – but they are not yet skilled at teamwork. Functioning as an individual is different than as a team. Teamwork takes time to learn. The individuals probably do not have a clear picture of their overall marriage objective(s). This will take time to define and negotiate. Be prepared to uncover areas which require a closer look at your individual health.
#3 The Performing Stage
The goal in this stage is to put the team to good use. The individuals know how to function as a team. They have energy reserves to pursue a purpose greater than they can individually. The can find a common objective and pursue it together. If any growth is needed here, it might simply be spiritual growth that allows the couple to seek God and understand His plan for their marriage.
- What stage best characterizes your marriage?
- If your greatest need is the first stage, consider individual counseling or pre-marital counseling.
- If you need help in the second stage, consider marriage counseling.
- If you consistently reach the third stage, consider mentoring other couples!
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.