Pleasing – Both spouses feel happy, hopeful and content. They forgive each other and are able to forget.
Familiar – Spouses feel relaxed with each other, but as the normal stressors happen in life they start to build resentment and take each other for granted.
Uncomfortable – Unhappiness starts to set in. Most couples do not know how to communicate their needs directly so they ask indirectly. Do this, do that. They cannot express their real needs and therefore cannot meet each other’s needs.
Struggle – If one spouse does not show an interest in meeting the other’s needs, conflict occurs. This conflict may be silent or loud. Silence means to stop talking about things and dance around the issues. Loud means disagreements, fights, hurtful words, and attacks.
Miserable – One or both spouses feel unhappy. They do not know how to make the other person happy, they think the other can make themselves happy, or they see the other as insensitive and the reason for their unhappiness.
Despair – Someone says out loud, “I want a divorce.” This spouse feels divided loyalties between their own happiness and keeping the family together, and a roller coaster of emotions like guilt, anger, disconnect, sorrow, hope, determination and more. The other spouse feeds the external conflict with their panic and desperation. Any gestures are seen by the divorce initiator as too little, too late.
Done – One or both spouses each hit the tipping point. Most often once the tipping point is reached there is no turning back. The other spouse is either the enemy or just the other parent. The love is gone and that spouse has already stepped into their new life either with someone else or alone.
If you marriage is truly done then divorce might just be the direction to go. However, if you are in any of the previous stages there is still a possibility that the marriage is repairable. Remember, marriages do not just end in a short period of time; these phases can take years to go through.