The fifth stage of marriage is The Co-Creation Stage.
You+me=you+me+us within the world.
In this stage, you balance time for yourself, time for your spouse, time for the marriage, and time for the outside world. You are now a team that can move beyond the relationship and out into the world. This may include a business project, a church, or raising children. In this stage, you can accept and enjoy one another and have fun together. You still need to nurture the relationship along the way. There is some danger that you may become overly involved in the world and the relationship may suffer some neglect.
In the fifth stage, all that time and frustration you felt working out boundaries, communication, etc. was a small price to pay for the power of your marriage now. You have more energy, strength and life force as a team than you would have had by yourself. And you can now enjoy the rest of your life with the love of your life by your side.
I hope this brief overview of the five stages of marriage will help you in your own marriage. It helps to understand what you are currently going through in the larger context of predictable stages. Remember, these stages are fluid and you can go back and forth between them. Learning to love unconditionally may not be easy, and may take a long time, but it is a deep blessing, and one we were all designed to experience. Please do not hesitate to make an appointment with me or with another therapist, either to help you through a difficult time, or to strengthen and enhance your marriage.