An incredible honeymoon in Seychelles, the completion of their first North American tour, almost three months of marriage under their belt, and now reportedly a move into their palace home, William and Kate remain under the watchful eye of the world. As they begin to settle into their life as married royalty, what will happen when the honeymoon fades and real life sets in? Can William and Kate make a smooth transition into a lasting love or will they end up losing their spark when the excitement recedes, just another failed statistic, like Prince Charles and Princess Diana?
The good news is William and Kate can last. The essential point for the royal couple, along with all married couples, is to understand that every marriage has normal developmental stages. In other words, marriage is a process which evolves over time. These developmental stages can be described in three main categories, "Romance," "Disillusionment," and "Mature Love," When couples are armed with the knowledge of these stages and tools to navigate through them, they'll know what to expect and be able to handle any trouble that comes their way. Otherwise, these normal relationship transitions could tragically be mistaken as a loss of love or reasons to divorce.
William and Kate are a shinning textbook example of the amazingly wonderful "honeymoon" or "Romance" stage. Their public displays of romantic love radiate out for the entire world to witness and enjoy. However, when this naturally comes to an end, and trust me it will, William and Kate may be left feeling a momentous loss and wondering where all the passion went.
This happens for all couples, yet most don't realize that it's the natural progression of a relationship. While in the "Romance" stage, William and Kate's brains are laden with "feel good" neurotransmitters and hormones. The royal couple feels on top of the world, longing to be with one another as much as possible, and focuses only on the good in each other. As this stage ends, their brain chemistry will settle back into its normal functioning. The royal couple will lose the "high" from the "Romance" stage and begin to focus on the "flaws" in one another. It's ironic that the aspects about their partner, which they found to be cute and adorable, now become annoying and intolerable. At this point in the marriage, William and Kate, as many do, may feel as if they've made a terrible mistake, that they must not be in love anymore and should get out before it is too late.
The marriage now enters into the "Disillusionment" stage. William and Kate will discover that their love alone will not be enough to carry them through the years. They'll need to work at it to make it through the long term. Personal growth at this time is critical for the marriage to survive. William and Kate must look at their own individual "flaws" instead of their partners' and begin to heal and grow. Unfortunately, what commonly happens is that one or both partners will point the finger at the other's "flaws" and blame them for the relationship problems they're having. In addition, couples will experience power struggles regarding finances, housing, child rearing, and major life decisions, only furthering feelings of unhappiness in the marriage. To add fuel to this disillusionment fire, if the couple began having children, the changes in the dynamics from a couple to a family can often leave each partner feeling isolated and disconnected.
Like other couples, William and Kate will successfully make it through the disillusionment stage by putting the work in and adapting to a realistic view of their partner and their new roles together. If the royal couple is able to accept one another, they'll be able to release conflicts and avoid discord. Like all couples who are successful in making it through this difficult stage, they'll need to consciously make efforts to re-kindle their romance and passion for one another. They will have the opportunity to "fall in love" all over again. Yet this time, due to their shared history and progression in the marriage, it will be a more real and deeper love, instead of an idealized or fantasy love.
Some of the positive aspects attained at the end of the disillusionment stage are:
- Each has attained a healthy relationship with themselves
- Each keeps the focus on what is right with the other
- Each genuinely feels grateful for having the other
- Together they successfully manages conflict with a shorter recovery period
- Together they maintain a healthy and regular sexual relationship
- Together they effectively communicate about their feelings and issues
- Together they create a balance of relaxation and fun within the relationship on a regular basis
Having successfully made it through the "Disillusionment" stage, William and Kate will naturally move into the "Mature Love" stage. Aha! Finally, the really good stuff! Reaching mature love is when all of the hard work and pain pays off. The previous struggles give way to a renewed love and deepened sense of connection. The royal couple will experience feelings of joy, passion, intimacy, and happiness on a whole new level. This stage leads to the definition of true partnership -- unconditional love and acceptance while walking side by side together harmoniously. If William and Kate can get through their disillusionment and experience matured love, they will continue to be an inspiring example for the world to enjoy.