The Four Stages of Marriage

stages of marriage

Marriage is a complex, enduring bond between two people, and even though no two relationships are exactly alike, they all share a few common traits or stages. Here are the four stages of marriage, and why communication holds the key to the success of your relationship.


Stage one of marriage is romance. This stage is something everyone is likely familiar with. After all, we all probably know what it’s like to be head-over-heels in love. In this stage, your partner can do no wrong. They are your angel, no matter what.


Disillusionment is the second stage of marriage. Disillusionment is when the magic of the romance begins to wear off, and suddenly every little thing you once loved now annoys you.  Maybe the way your partner laughed at jokes was cute before, now it only seems to frustrate you to no end. Disillusionment is when we begin to wonder if the person we married is perfect for us. After the intensity of the romance stage, the frustration of the disillusionment stage hits hard, as we realize our partner is not meeting our expectation. Unfortunately, this fall form romance is often too much for some, and divorce follows.

four stages of marriageMisery

For those who survive the disillusionment phase, the next step of marriage is misery. Misery is when nothing seems to be going well in the union. Perhaps you are constantly bickering or just plain struggling to communicate at all. Maybe you feel as if you don’t relate to your spouse, and that they aren’t the same person you married. Far too often those who reach this stage either seek divorce for unreconcilable differences, succumb to alcohol or drug abuse, begin extra-marital affairs, or seek guidance from family, friends, or their faith.

The misery phase is where you genuinely forge a marriage in the proverbial fire. It is also the stage where communication is essential. An experienced counselor can help a married couple break the chains of misery and better understand each other, which leads to the fourth stage of marriage – “awakening”.


Many who divorce in the misery stage aren’t bad people. They didn’t have the right tools at the time to realize what they had was worth saving. Those who do persevere gain the profound knowledge that their love may not be perfect, but it’s still love.

Awakening is akin to realizing the meaning of life. Sure, you may not have found perfection, but you discovered that everything you ever needed was right in front of you the whole time. Your partner may have their flaws, but hey, so do you. But what isn’t flawed is your love.

Marriage Couples Counseling in New York Can Help You Through The Stages

Communication is the key to navigating the stages of marriage. If you and your partner feel that a couple’s counselor could help your relationship flourish by helping the two of you better communicate, don’t wait to find one. Marriage Couples Counseling in New York City is here to help you and your spouse with any communication issues you may face. Don’t hesitate to reach out and seek our help. Call us today at 212-673-4618 for the help you need to service the wild ride of marriage.

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    Marriage Couples Counseling & Life Coaching
    160 Bleecker Street, 9C East, New York, NY 10012
    (212) 673 4618