To assist in working through the conflict, a prior discussion of comfortable communication style and an agreement on how to approach problems is helpful. Confronting and resolving conflict during this stage allows the relationship to mature. Compromise is key. When our son started school, my husband and I were conflicted as to how to handle it. Prior to that time we had both worked second shift and our son had a sleep schedule like ours. We were both able to spend time with him in the early afternoon and late at night. Now, he was in school and in bed during those times. One of us had to adjust to make it work. Neither of us wanted to because we both like the excitement of our jobs on swings. We were eventually able to determine my going to first would be the best solution. I was able to let go and do what was necessary for our family and our relationship. Like Brenda Shoshanna states in her article, "Let it be Revealed: Secrets of Building Uplifting Relationships," "We have been programmed to believe that if we get what we want, we are a success. But for relationships to be truly successful we must learn how to deal with not getting what we want at all."
Stage 3: Unconditional Acceptance
Once you make it through the power struggle stage, you move into the acceptance stage. You are comfortable with your partner. You're aware of their short-comings and they are ones you are willing to live with. There are still power struggles and the need for communication is still just as important, but in this stage there is comfortableness. Each person is comfortable with themselves and able to ask for what they need from the other. It's marked with lowering expectations and forgiveness. It's a mature love. Unfortunately, so many relationships fall during the power struggle stage and do not reach this level of connection.
These stages of love do not have to run consecutively. They often blend together and relationships jump between them. What is important about these stages is they bring awareness of the work love requires. Couples who are committed to each other realize the infatuation stage can continue but it takes work. They know power struggles will arise but are dedicated to communication and compromise. They strive for unconditional acceptance and are rewarded with a relationship that is healthy, loving and fulfilling. With law enforcement work as crazy as it is, having a loving backdrop makes all the difference. When you come home from the streets, if you can walk in the door and into the warm presence of your life-partner, soul-mate and the person who sits back-to-back through life with you, nothing can be sweeter.