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The Cycle of Love

The most amazing book a couple who are transitioning to parenthood should read is Becoming Us – The Essential Relationship Guide for Parents by Elly Taylor.  So often we hear new mums and dads relationship struggles in the early stages of their new family that even by understanding where they sit on the cycle of love, would bring more peace and harmony to their relationship as they move to the next chapter of their life.

Elly breaks down the cycle of love into three parts:

  • Coming together
  • Growing apart
  • Growing together.

Coming Together is when couples come together for the first time.  There is excitement in the air.  We show the other person the best parts of ourselves and during this time we are attentive, caring, agreeable, available and we spend a lot of time together.

Growing Apart is when couple may sense that they are drifting apart as they start to re-establish some independence that we once had before we met.  We start to re-engage with friends and activities instead of spending all our time together.  It also shows other sides about the other person which can develop a deeper relationship with the other person.  Most couples would see this as a sign that the other person may simply not be into them (I know as that is pretty much how I felt in all my relationships lol) but it can be a good stage in the relationship.  We get to see the person for who they really are and we can embrace these differences as this is simply another part of them (I never thought I would be immersed in the world of Ironman Triathlons until I met my husband).  This stage is a ‘continual development revealing and sharing of ourselves that keeps a long term relationship fresh, interesting and exciting’.

If a couple have a baby it bring even more difference.  Becoming a parent challenges us to become even more of ourselves and this may mean that there needs to be some negotiation with our partner.  How we handle these differences will have a major impact for our family’s future.  These differences won’t necessarily be a bad thing if we love our partner for their uniqueness but because parenthood brings about a fuller person it is here that it can create conflict.

Growing Apart can feel threatening, anxiety provoking and uncomfortable. But it is a normal, healthy stage in the life cycle of love and serves a very important function.’  This stage is a great stage where couples can become great friends.  Couples get to know each other, accept and admire each other for who they are and get to know those quirky and annoying habits.  Relationship and parenting issues can only be resolved through openness, honesty, empathy and understanding.  We need to grow new roots for the stability of the family.  If both members of the family are able to spread their roots, the relationship will be stable.  If one member only spreads their roots, then most likely the relationship will topple.    These roots will be continually tested as our children grow up into adults.

Nevertheless, it is important that couples make the effort to stay bonded.  All relationships need work so it is important to keep building our friendship.

Growing Together stage ‘we realise our mutual responsibility to our relationship, our interdependence.  We begin to recognise that when we give to our relationship, it bears fruit that can be enjoyed by both of us.’  We feel comfortable in coming together and equally comfortable in spending tome apart.

The mastery of the Growing Together stage is being able to balance personal and relationship growth to develop our own family – us.  Each of us will be a better parent if we are supported by the other.  The relationship we co-create acts as a security blanket for our child – it gives them a sense of safety, trust and warmth.  Becoming a mother or a father isn’t just a commitment to our child.  It’s also a recommitment to our partnership.