I have just made a startling discovery. The wedding process is the mirror image of the Kubler-Ross model for Death and Dying. Reverse Elizabeth’s stages of Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance and you’ll have the Forrester-Bass model for Love and Marriage.
STAGE 1 -- Acceptance: Much as the first stage of Denial in the Kubler-Ross model follows the process of Living, the first stage of Acceptance in the Forrester-Bass model follows the process of Courting. Our acceptance stage was very short, but in some relationships may be excruciatingly extended by an indecisive female. In our case, I proposed and she accepted. This allowed us to move swiftly to the second stage of Love and Marriage.
STAGE 2 -- Depression: Much as tributaries feed a mighty river, the Depression stage can be similarly fed. Once again, this stage can be rather short or quite extended depending on the collective strength of the couple involved. Some of the feeders for the Depression may include:
1. The realization of one’s loss of complete independence. Weekends are no longer whatever one wants to do whenever one wants to do it. There is now someone else to consider, to please, to convince, and to act in concert with.
2. The hemorrhaging of bank accounts in order to finance a fabulous event. The dwindling of accounts previously earmarked for vacations, motorcycles, poker nights, shoes, cute dresses, and home repairs can bring a tear to most couple’s eyes, and is a common cause of early love and marriage Depression. In our case, we realize it's not really that much and no matter what, we would gladly spend it.
3. Home merging and sales. Previously this represents the biggest step each single entity had taken as an adult. The giving up, selling, and searching for a new and shared home comes with great stress and its contribution to Depression should not be overlooked or minimized.
As the Acceptance stage went, so did our Depression. It was relatively short, but on occasion can still pop its head up throughout the other stages.
STAGE 3 -- Bargaining: Any Depression endured in the previous stage only acts as fuel for Bargaining. When the Depression fog lifts, two negotiation machines emerge with fire in their eyes. No hotel, honeymoon site, rehearsal venue, or caterer is safe. No price is accepted at face value. When a number is first given, it only leads to a wry smile developing on the negotiator’s face as they know that this particular game has only just begun. The occasional tag team negotiation will also occur when one falters and the other comes over the ropes to go on the attack. It’s a beautiful sight.
STAGE 4 -- Anger: This is strong in the weakest of loves and weak in the strongest, but exists to some level in all Love and Marriage processes. Regardless of how well the Bargaining stage goes, you simply won’t win every time. The losses will leave residual resentment which fuels the fourth stage. Anger is the most important stage to get beyond. In loves that are not meant to be, Anger will actually be the final stage; for it is here that many will go their separate ways and never move on to stage five and finally break through to a lifetime of happiness together.
STAGE 5 -- Denial: In this (maybe not so final) stage you find true bliss. You have now successfully blinded yourself to everything that has come before. You deny the spent money ever meant anything in the first place (because it really doesn't). You deny your total independence was ever worth a dime. You deny the anger that so strongly had a hold of you just a short time before. You deny there will be any future problems or disagreement.
This is where we now see the major break between the Forrester-Bass Model for Love and Marriage and the Kubler-Ross model for Death and Dying. Death and Dying was a linear model with a definite and very final end. In the Forrester-Bass model you have now come full circle. Your Denial has now led to a whole new Acceptance and the cycle will repeat itself for the rest of your married lives, getting stronger with each turn and sometimes moving so quickly it will leave you dizzy. You’re truly blessed when you realize the dizziness you’re feeling is love.