Here at Perfect Muslim Wedding, we want to help you not only plan a great wedding, but also be with you at each stage of your Muslim marriage. According to Retrouvaille.com, there are four stages of marriage: Romance, Disillusionment, Misery, and Awakening. According to Sari Harrar and Rita DeMaria in their book The 7 Stages of Marriage, they list the seven stages as: Passion, Realization, Rebellion, Cooperation, Reunion, Explosion, and Completion.
The number of stages isn’t important here, the important thing to realize is that marriage like any important relationship is fluid; and not to sound cliché, is a journey. The stages can at times help you identify where you are in life. They can help you categorize memories from the past and to chart the future.
We, too, have identified seven stages. Why seven you ask? Seven circuits around the Kabah and seven heavens makes it an easy number to remember. So here is our take on it.
1. Honeymoon Stage: You’re infatuated with each other, ignore each other’s faults and life is exciting.
2. Married-with-children: Reality sinks in, and you discover there is more to life than just the two of you.
3. Seven-Year Itch, repeated every 7 years: Maybe it doesn’t happen exactly at seven years, maybe it’s five or nine, and you start to ask “is this all there is?” You get into prolonged arguments that result from power struggles to determine who is in control.
4. Mid-Life Crisis: As roles and positions in the relationship change there is less connecting that happens, and each spouse tries to assert themselves. Words get lost in translation and small things snowball into larger problems.
5. Empty nest: Fast forward, time flew by and the children are all grown up, moved out for college or got married. Now an emptiness sinks in, and you realize all you have is the two of you.
6. Late-life: Bronze Years, Reconciliation, Cooperation: Rather than Golden we called it the bronze years, because as much we hope to live long, happy, healthy lives, the reality is our health at some point will give way. We will become each other’s primary care-givers. Through the pain and hardship we reconcile our hopes and fears.
7. Heaven on Earth: It can be. You can enjoy your grandchildren, have a sense of accomplishment of what you have done. One by one we will make our exit and hope and pray for an eternity of peace and joy in the next life.
We are not here to preach to you about the perfect marriage, because let’s face it, it doesn’t exist. We at Perfect Muslim Wedding are not scholars, psychologists or marriage counselors. None of us, no matter how long we have been married, have “made it.” In fact that is a danger sign, in any relationship, when we take each other for granted, when we make career, finances, hobbies, or anything else a priority over most valued relationships. In our communities we are seeing marriages dissolve in almost every stage from those that fail to launch, to those who have been married for decades. Anyone and everyone is vulnerable. This is not meant to scare people from marriage, but just to realize it is hard-work and requires trust and responsibility.
There is no one secret to marriage, marriage is hard-work. All marriages are based on good foundations which include treating each other with honesty, respect, dignity, trust, commitment, love, faithfulness, forgiveness, patience, sacrifice, and more. At each stage we have to use both divine guidance as well as wisdom. We have to explore new ways in relating to each other so that boredom never sets in. We have to be close but still give each other space.
In coming posts we will delve into these life stages. Till then, work hard, pray hard, and enjoy the blessings of marriage in each and every stage of your life.
What are your thoughts about the stages of a marriage?