Stage 3. Norming

Stage 3. Norming

At this point in a relationship, both partners have considered all the information made available during the ‘forming’ and ‘storming’ phases and have made a strong commitment to the relationship. They know they want; and have what one of our men called “a thirty-year contract”. They are committed to each other, want no other, and know how they are expected to behave when dealing with issues or decisions from a ‘couple’ stance rather than the previously accepted ‘individual’ stance. This is when the fundamental nature of the relationship comes to the fore and the primary focus is the relationship rather than a primary focus on self. It must be said however that the most successful of ‘normed’ relationships occur between two strong-minded individuals who are independent but who want to be with the other, rather than two individuals who are unable to be independent and who need the relationship to sustain a sense of equilibrium in their daily lives.

In the ‘norming’ phase of a relationship between two healthy and happy individuals, the pressure of the ‘storming’ phase is off. This is a time to revisit some of the joy of the ‘forming’ phase but from a ‘couple’ stance rather than an ‘individual’ stance. This is a time to have fun and engage in social activities as a couple which, if positive, strengthen the integrity of the relationship. Now you have a point of reference of joint experiences that becomes part of the fabric of the relationship and allows you, as a couple, to plan and move into the future, based on your individual and joint experiences in the past.

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