The four stages of the Family Life Cycle:
*New Love (couples with no children),
*Shared Love (couples with children),
*Mature Love (couples with teenagers until last child has left home)
*Renewed Love (from “empty nest” forward).
- You will be asked to complete a short self-assessment for each stage.
- The self-assessment includes topics that are appropriate for the stage.
- These are great reminders of key principles and areas of attention.
- You will also note a description of the four ingredients from Chapter 5 and how they relate to each stage.
- Similar to Chapter 14, this chapter’s material should be worked through slowly and time taken to do and discuss the assessment, as well as, to determine how to deepen intimacy in your current or next stage of marriage.
- Looking ahead to your next stage will give you a head start on being even more successful with that one than you were with the previous stage
- Couples who have no children (either those who can’t have them or choose not to have them) go through similar stages:
*New Love (couples with no children, early into the relationship, the marriage is a top priority)
*Shared Love (couples with no children, where job, interests, etc. occupy more of the couple’s time)
*Mature Love – (couples with no children, where pressures of job, interests, finances, etc. occupy most of the couple’s time making it difficult to have time for each other)
*Renewed Love – (couples with no children, who make the adjustments to put their relationship back into a top priority)
Small Group Questions
- In which stage of marriage are you currently?
- What did the assessment reveal about ways to improve or complete this stage?
- What are some areas needing attention in your current stage?
- After reading Ephesians 5:21, discuss with the group why “Mutual Giving may be a great way to describe successful marriage relationships?
- How can successful movement through these stages increase intimacy?
- How do children become great givers or proficient takers?
- Where did you learn your marriage/relationship skills?
- List some good skills that help you even today. Now list some skills/habits/patterns of behavior that you learned that do not help.
- What stages were your parents in when you learned most about relationships (good and bad)?
- After reading I Peter 4:10 and Philippians 2:4, what have you experienced during this study or at other times in your marriage that supports the following statement: Marriage is a relationship where two people work hard to “out-give the other in every dimension of the relationship rather than see who can take more.
- Do you agree with the above statement? How well are you growing in becoming an expert giver?
- Were you ever a better taker than giver? How did that work out for your joy and success in life?
- What part does Jesus play in our becoming better givers than takers?