There are for the purpose of these discussions four stages of marriage—the Establishment Phase (years 1-7), the Growth Stage (years 8-20), the Transition Stage (years 21-35), and the Mature Stage (years 36 and beyond). The Mature Stage of Marriage is a period in which some of the busyness of life begins to subside. Careers come to a close, children likely have their own lives, and changes in stamina slow things down physically. It is within this stage of marriage that circumstances allow, even require, more time for personal reflection.

This is a time in life when relevance and meaning will be less defined by a packed daily schedule and more by the husband and wife rediscovering who they are as individuals. This is a time when a couple can recommit to the enjoyment, support, and companionship to be found in one another.

After 36 or more years of marriage, a spiritual milestone has been reached by having maintained a steadfast relationship for such a long time. The marriage has gained the respect of others, especially those younger, through the fidelity and longevity evidenced by the many years of marriage. If you find yourself in this stage of marriage, it is a time to be of benefit to other married couples through mentoring and sharing all that has been learned from having
spent so many years together. This wisdom of hindsight can only be found and shared by couples who have been married a long time.

The Mature Stage of Marriage may continue for as long as the marriage has existed up until this point. (It is not unheard of for couples to be married for 70 years!) There is still plenty of time to grow and learn, but aspirations and expectations will tend to be more realistic and time-limited.

Seeking out and relying on what is really true in life will provide the strength, confidence, courage, optimism, and hope that will be needed to sustain a mature marriage through the remainder of the time that such a married couple will have together.

This is a time when a couple can recommit to the enjoyment, support, and companionship to be found in one another.

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Some things to do for the week

Day 2: Reflect on the message and scripture reading; journal if you like
Day 3: Pray for or meditate on what you think you need
Day 4: Discuss the message and scripture with your spouse
Day 5: Plan how you can best respond to the message
Day 6: Rest; don’t think about the message or the scripture; listen in the stillness
Day 7: Recommit yourself to your marriage

Applicable scripture listed under Discussion References.