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Full Title: Sustaining Love: Healing & Growth In the Passages of Marriage
Author(s): David Augsburger

From jacket flap: "David Augsberger is professor of pastoral care at the Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminaries in Elkhart, Indiana. He holds a Ph.D. in pastoral psychology and family therapy from the School of Theology at Claremont, California. Professor, psychologist, lecturer, therapist, husband and father, Augsburger is also the author of many books [...]"
Publishing / Edition: Regal Books, 1988
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Content Review

The general premise is that every marriage is actually composed of "four marriages", or stages of growth, that couples go through depending on how many decades that they have been together. From pg. 12 and the back cover we glean that these "four marriages within a marriage" are:

• The Dream (of the 20s) - when past experiences blend with present excitement
• The Disillusionment (of the 30s) - as the unknown and unexamined begin to break us apart
• The Discovery (of the 40s) - breaking through to a new respect for each other's identity
• The Depth (of the 50s) - working together to reach new levels of depth and intimacy

So for example, if you have been together 30+ years, then you will most likely encounter a period of "Disillusionment" together. This, of course, is not a hard and fast rule, just a general guideline for what is likely to happen within many relationships after a certain amount of time together. To elaborate a little more on each of these "four marriages" there is a very interesting summary diagram given on pgs. 24-25:

MARRIAGE ONE MARRIAGE TWO MARRIAGE THREE MARRIAGE FOUR
GOALS DREAM
We marry to fulfill the Dream - personal, marital, career and communal dreams.
DISILLUSIONMENT
The Dream fails us. Or we sacrifice the marital to gain the career and so on.
DISCOVERY
We discover reality beyond the Dream, we discover each other.
DEPTH
We develop depth in our selves, our marriage, our life together.
COMMUNICATION EXPECTATION
We communicate out of expectations of what is meant, needed, wanted, obligated, necessary.
MANIPULATION
We manipulate by persuading, seducing, coercing, evading and avoiding to get what we want.
INVITATION
We discover that true communication is invitation and work toward equality.
DIALOGUE
We develop dialogue with genuine mutuality and equality in our communication.
FEELINGS EXCUSE
We are afraid of, embarrassed by, cautious with, concealed about or unaware of feelings.
EXPLODE
We risk sharing feelings, but find them painfully threatening, often uncontrolled, unfocused, confused and confusing.
EXPRESS
We own and express feelings with freedom and with both candor and caring.
EXPERIENCE
We flow with both our feelings and thoughts.
DIFFERENCES ACCOMMODATE
We tolerate, accommodate, overlook differences to avoid conflict and obey the Dream.
ELIMINATE
We seek to eliminate the objectionable differences in the partner by demanding change.
APPRECIATE
We discover the differences are creative, necessary parts of each of us and our marriage.
CELEBRATE
We delight in our differences and develop them in each other.
CONFLICT AVOID
We avoid conflict as disruptive and destructive of the Dream.
ATTACK
We explode with frustrated feelings, seek to eliminate differences through fighting, bargaining, pressuring.
ADJUST
We discover more fair ways of fighting; we seek mutually satisfactory solutions more quickly.
ACCEPT
We accept conflict as a healthy process and utilize it to work for mutual growth.
INTIMACY DEPENDENT
Intimacy is dependent on romance, on the moment, on the other's responses, on his/her "acting as prescribed."
INDEPENDENT
Intimacy is touch and go, intense when things are going well, absent when there is tension or threat.
INTERDEPENDENT
Intimacy now becomes truly possible as autonomy is balanced with solidarity.
INTIMATE
Intimacy now develops freely in emotional, mental, social and spiritual levels.
ROLES COMPLEMENTARY
Relationships are shaped by complementary "fitting" of partner's strengths and weaknesses.
SYMMETRICAL
Relationships are competitive, adversary, tit-for-tat struggles to claim personal identity.
PARALLEL
Relationships achieve balance, equal freedom and responsibility. Autonomy and intimacy are protected.
INTERTWINED
Relationships are mutual, with both partners secure and satisfied whether near or far.
MEANING HOPES
Hope shaped by the Dream are largely false hopes which must eventually die for love to become truly alive.
HOPELESSNESS
Hopes fade, falter and fail us. Life together becomes empty and alienated.
HOPEFUL
Hope rises as we find that beneath the old hopes there is deeper, richer meaning to our life together.
HOPE
True hope has emerged and pushes us onward from healing in the past, pulls us forward with the promise of the future.

The rest of the book covers a lot of helpful tools for navigating each of these stages.

Related Resources

There are several other books here that share a similar premise:

Minirth, Frank, et al. Passages of Marriage. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991.

Rock, Maxine. The Marriage Map. Dell Publishing, 1986.

Sills, Judith. A Fine Romance. Ballantine Books, 1987.