Almost 6 million hits. This must be something. Someone told me to watch it and comment if what was shown in this short film is really the cycle of every relationship. Watch the film first then I’ll make my comments
Stage 1: MEETING.
This is essential in any relationship. You can’t court someone you haven’t met. So no comments on stage 1.
Stage 2: The CHASE.
Oh men love the chase. I think it is innate in a man to try to chase the girl. God designed that men pursue women. The thrill of the chase. Studying the girl. Knowing what she likes. Knowing what she hates. Late night talks. Hours on the phone. John Eldridge in his book Wild at Heart describes men as having the desire to “rescue the beauty”. Take that adventure away from us and what you get is a boy.
STAGE 3: THE HONEYMOON
Everything is great. She is great. All her mistakes, great. Everything is great and cute and fun. Everyday is great and fun.
Then it hits…….
Stage 4: COMFORTABLE
Everything great becomes normal. The remarkable is now normal. Now let me stop here and make a very important statement. Almost all ( or can I say all relationships pass through this stage. This is the most crucial stage of any relationship cycle. If not handled right it would lead to stage 5 which we all do not want)
Stage 5 : TOLERANCE
Now the normal is so normal, it becomes boring, stale. The desires are now expectations. Since we cannot fulfill the expectations, we tolerate each other but in reality we do not really tolerate. We hate it. Nobody wants to be in a stale relationship.
Somebody once said, What you tolerate, you cannot change. This is the tricky part of the cycle. You will not change because you are tolerating it. Instead of reviving the relationship, some tend to make it die a slow death. Now if you are married – your marriage should not reach this point.
Men, you have to fight for your spouse. Be creative. Date her. Invest on her. Sometimes we feel it is boring because you don’t communicate. You have stopped studying your girl. You have treated somebody special as common.
Personally, being on this stage in our relationship was a wake up call for me. I was busy with work, I was experiencing pressure in many ways and men tend to disregard their wife at this season. Since we compartmentalize things, sometimes we never get out of that compartment unless we solve the problem. Great thing I have a supportive wife who urged me to process things with her. It woke me up that I was neglecting the most precious person in my life. Stupid of me!!!
Since you cannot change what you tolerate, I made an effort to not tolerate it. I started dating my wife once a week, I tried to be a better listener and communicate more often ( which is really a challenge until now). At this stage, it would be good to have some alone time with your wife for 3 days to a week without your kids so that you can bond again and rekindle the fire.
If you continue to tolerate each other, prepare yourself for stage 6….
Stage 6: DOWNHILL
Downhill is fast. The momentum of the negative effects of the relationship is felt. It now dawns on both parties that the relationship is not going anywhere. It has run its course. There are more fighting in the relationship than fighting for the relationship. The inevitable is about to happen
Stage 7: BREAKING UP
This is the death of a relationship. A slim probability that the relationship would be restored back.
Now could I avoid in making it reach this point? Of course. In fact I encourage you not to make it reach to stage 5. Here are some things we did as a couple to keep our marriage alive.
1. Regular communication. I said this first because this is hard but essential. Take this out and I don’t care how religious and good you are, the relationship will not go anywhere.
2. Invest in dates. Date your spouse. Coffee, movie, walk in the park, long drives – just you and your partner. No kids. Do it at least once a week or twice a month.
3. Who completes you? This is the crux of our marriage. You have to answer this honestly. If you think that your spouse will complete you then it would be a long walk to a passionate marriage. Your spouse does not complete you. Your identity is not based on your spouse. Jesus completes you. In Christ I am complete. I love how a verse in proverbs declares,
He who finds a wife finds what is good and recieves favor from the Lord – Proverbs 18:22
That means your wife is a bonus addition but she will not be your savior. She is not your Jesus.
Putting Christ in the center of your life and relationship relieves us of the pressure to act as the source of everything for our spouse. In reality we can’t. Only Jesus can do that.