The second stage of marriage, however, is the toughest stage and that is when you start to see that your partner is not really "perfect," and, in fact they have a lot of flaws. This is the "power struggle" stage where you each want what you want, you think that everything should be done your way, your partner drives you 'crazy' and there's lots of arguments. Most couples do not make it out of this stage and this is the stage where most divorces occur.
The third stage of marriage is the "independent' stage where each partner in the marriage does what they want and they let their partner do what the partner wants and occasionally do things together. Usually there are children involved so the partners stay together but basically live separate lives. It is estimated that 25% of marriages in the U.S. are like this.
The fourth stage of marriage is the "interdependent" stage where the partners work together to make their marriage work. They have a strong commitment to each other and to their marriage and a common vision. Very few couples make it to this stage.
Marriage is hard because the intimacy of the relationship will bring up any old unresolved issues and unhealed hurts in each partner. Each partner feels bad and they each think that the other partner is the cause of their pain. They do not realize that the pain they feel is really a way to heal their issues and hurts.