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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Both partners recognize each other’s imperfections. They try to change each other. This can lead to mistrust, anger or blame.
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.
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.
Both partners have developed a balance between closeness and independence. They enjoy being together and accept each other as they are.