Francesca and Paul : What Next?
Last week our couple celebrated their first anniversary. It wasn’t anything like they had imagined it would be a year before, when they were both unaware and somewhat unprepared to cope with the life challenges that came their way in the first twelve months of their life together. For Francesca and Paul, as for most couples, this was a year of unexpected happenings that caused various adjustments to each other’s views and ways of dealing with situations. These events created intense emotional reactions, at times confusion, deep losses, happiness and sadness and a lot of pain. At times Francesca and Paul were able to deal with these challenges together; at times these challenges created such a wedge between them that things became more difficult to handle, adding the fear of losing each other to the challenges in front of them. Throughout all this, our couple experienced emotional and physical disconnections from each other, followed by reconnections, their relationship alternatively being the strong foundation that helped them get through, and the area that caused most insecurity and fear.
How is this different than the first year in the marriage of most couples? Specific situations may be different, but some of the underlying dynamics may actually be quite similar, as most new couples struggle to cope with what comes their way often with little preparation and no support system to sustain them. For all, the first few years together are times of intense closeness and emotional attunement and responsiveness to each other’s needs, as well as times when partners feel like strangers to each other, as all they had previously known about each other no longer seems to reflect current reality.
The early years in marriage are times of heightened feelings that seem to create an emotional rollercoaster that provides little stability and predictability for both people involved. Statistics show that the risk of a marriage not making it is much higher in new couples than in couples who have been together for a long time. Does it mean partners chose the wrong person to be with? Most of the time no. ALL COUPLES, in fact, go through trying times in the life of their relationships, particularly at the beginning, often more than once.
The major shift that occurs between partners is a gradual or sudden move from fantasy to reality. This shift inevitably brings with it disappointment and a need to adjust one’s previous image of a partner that includes current reality. Turmoil, adjustments, disappointments and lack of clarity and directions are to be expected, as during their first year of life together couples get to know each other at a deeper level and face the first life challenges together, or not. So, the issue of whether couples have problems or not is not what determines the quality and longevity of their relationships, but how they manage them and, particularly, HOW THEY MAINTAIN THE FEELING OF EMOTIONAL SECURITY with each other, as this is the backbone of all intimate relationships.
So, we will check in again with Paul and Francesca in another year, to see how they are doing, and will continue to follow them throughout their marriage, to learn from their experiences. In addition to information about Francesca and Paul, there will be other exciting things in this story that will help readers improve their intimate relationships.
So, stay tuned for the next installment of “A Marriage Story!”