Partnership and marriage

A good partnership or marriage comes in many different shapes and varieties. Most people who are in a relationship are trying to share their lives with someone else and shape their lives together.

A lasting partnership needs care and attention

Man giving his girlfriend a piggyback ride

Many people would like a lasting and fulfilling partnership. Relationships are an important part of a happy life for many of us. However, relationships are also an adventure and are constantly evolving. Problems, quarrels and minor crises are a part of most partnerships and marriages. A well-functioning relationship requires conscious attention and commitment because open communication, trust and respect for the needs of the other person usually develop over time.

In a partnership, you sometimes have to argue because that's how you learn more about each other
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The phases of a partnership according to Kovacs

Couples go through various phases on the way to a lasting partnership. The relationship is subject to constant change, and external circumstances can also require that the relationship adapt to new life situations. According to the American couples therapist Liberty Kovacs, a partnership usually goes through six different phases. How long each phase lasts differs from couple to couple and, of course, not every couple goes through each of them. However, the model normalizes conflict and some ups and downs, which provides a sense of relief for many couples.

1. Infatuation
Both partners consider themselves ideal for each other, see each other through rose-tinted spectacles and are in the grip of raging hormones. They discover common ground and are ready to adjust to the needs of the other and fulfil their every wish. Feelings of infatuation and a longing for closeness are dominant. "The main thing is to be with you" is the basic attitude.
2. Expectations and disillusionment
The initial phase of being on a high subsides, and differences and weaknesses become apparent. Each partner begins to give more attention to their own concerns and interests again. Everyday duties come to the fore. The first feelings of disappointment and disillusionment arise, and perhaps criticism of the other person is already being voiced. For many couples, separation occurs as early as this phase.
3. Power struggles and setting boundaries
Both partners recognize each other’s imperfections. They try to change each other. This can lead to mistrust, anger or blame.
4. Conflicts
In this phase, one or both partners feel constrained. They feel an urge to abandon the relationship or ask themselves whether and how any conflicts can be resolved.
5. Reconciliation  
Both partners gradually find their way back to each other. Each recognizes that the other is not obliged to live up to their own expectations of them. They are willing to compromise and view the relationship as a matter of give and take.
6. Acceptance 
Both partners have developed a balance between closeness and independence. They enjoy being together and accept each other as they are.

Three inspirations for your partnership

Appreciate their positive sides
Pay more attention to the positive sides of your partner again. Over time, we usually begin to take the other person for granted. A few words of praise or a compliment almost always causes a positive reaction in the other person.
two bodies symbolizing cohesion
Find a common hobby
Find a common hobby that you both enjoy. This way you have something to do together that is not a duty or obligation. Laughing and having fun together strengthens your partnership.
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Take time for two
At the beginning of a relationship, couples often spend a lot of time together. Over the years and with an increase in other commitments, there may be less and less time for this. Make a conscious effort to make dates and keep them. Do something together as a couple without involving other people.

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