Wade and Nicole Fuge[/caption] Psychotherapist Pamela Pannifex says all relationships progress through normal and inevitable phases, which often start with an initial ‘honeymoon phase’, also depicted as ‘weak at the knees’ love we see in the movies. “Research tells us that the ‘honeymoon phase’ lasts up to two years, after this, relationships move into what’s known as the ‘working phase’, where differences emerge and partners need to work together to reconcile differences, solve problems, and keep their relationship functioning well,” she says. “When these differences and problems are not resolved, relationships can reach a crisis point. One or both partners start looking for solutions to their unmet needs, often (but not always) outside the marriage – a facelift, a new car, having an affair, backpacking through Asia – or dreaming of these.”

It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.”
With the latest government figures showing the number of marriages each year is decreasing and the rate of divorce is increasing, it’s worth doing all you can to make sure your relationship doesn’t become another statistic. “It’s normal that all relationships reach crisis points of one type or another at various points,” Pamela says. “The healthy solution is for both partners to develop a strong sense of personal awareness (to nourish the ‘I’ within the ‘we’), to have strong communication skills that keep them connected, and to create a relationship culture that’s healthy and sustainable, despite the inevitable challenges that any relationship will bring.” I am also a firm believer that a successful relationship must first and foremost be a best friendship, as German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche says, “It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages”. Don’t you want to live happily ever after? I do.]]>