Chapter 1 - Love, Romance and Reality

Stages of relationships

Most love relationships start with intensity of passion, and then
mature into milder and more seasoned stages.

Note: This doesn't mean they have to become drab and routine –
starting out like a lacy negligee and turning into flannelette
pyjamas. The developmental model of marriage accepts that
every relationship is different, but here is one way, to describe
the stages couples go through.

  1. Courtship or romance: Oh the thrills, the chemistry,
    the desire to show your 'best self' and ignore your dark side,
    and the blindness to faults and problems in your lover and
  2. Reality bites: 'How can you do that if you love me? We can't
    keep up the perfect act any more. Do I like the real you I'm
    starting to see? Will you like the real me if I show you?'
  3. Conflict: 'I want my needs met. I thought it'd be better than
    this. If only you'd change.' The conflict can be open, angry
    warfare or hidden, underhanded manipulation and icy cold
    logic. This is the stage where many people walk out. Many
    couples believe that conflict means it's all over, but the wise
    or lucky ones see conflict as a challenge, and find ways to
    resolve their conflicts. (We'll cover conflict resolution in
    Chapter 6). Others hope that if they ignore conflict, it won't
    affect them. But those who learn to handle conflict will pass
    this test and progress to the next level.
  4. Resolution: To make it here, the couple should have learned
    communication skills and grown as people. They're friends
    who have been through a lot together. They are confident
    that if more problems arise, they have strategies and
    experience at handling them. They can now enjoy the rewards
    of security, trust, fun, and comfort. They can also be deeply
    and truly romantic and sexy.