I love using The Life Cycle -- which is often used in business regarding products -- because it is a universal principle that applies to so many life problems.
Okay, so I apply the universal "Life Cycle" principle to our happiness in relationships and work. Again, I'm being really simplistic and leaving stuff out because I just don't have the time and financial luxury of elaborating on a lot of stuff -- that means the "quality" of how and what I say is diminished. But of course, I'm interested in hearing what others have to say.
I'm *also* going to add a "crisis" section underneath each phase to state the "negative" aspects of the phase moving forward.
The introduction phase is all about the newness of the thing. In relationships, that can be the first meetings and in work, the first few weeks. It's all about discovery and possibilities.
Crisis If one is always looking for the new, then nothing can grow and that deep intimate knowledge can never happen. A lot of superficiality occurs.
The growth phase is all about making things "happen". In relationships, this can mean moving towards getting a place together, vacationing, and blossoming the relationship with "truths" and healing each other's "pasts". In work, this can mean being in charge of a project that has a great effect on the work place.
Crisis If people get stuck in the growth stage they are more likely to never make anything "worthwhile" happen!
The maturity phase is all about standardizing and stabilizing. In relationships, this can mean getting married, having babies, getting a house, etc. etc... In work, this can mean setting standards, creating documentations, policies and procedures.
Crisis If you don't allow innovation and the intro, growth cycle to re-occur -- the road leads to decline and that means having to scramble to re-new the situation. Good planning allows for change.
The decline phase is about staleness. The relationship might undergo a divorce, separation, or an affair. In work situations, a lay-off, wanting to quit, or huge dissatisfaction might occur.
Crisis If this stage comes to the surface, it's hard to dig oneself out of the situation. A lot of people run and cut their losses but it doesn't have to be that way.
With this, we all have a "place" we love to hover about the most. For my partner it's the "Introduction and Growth" stage. For me it's the "Maturity and then back to Growth stage". In my case, when it comes to work, this means that I love to put together plans, document processes and procedures, and help stabilize; however, I DO NOT want to be stuck in what I created. Or forced by "upper management" to succumb to my own designs. I want the option of re-visiting, updating, and innovating.
If I don't have that option, I usually quickly have a crisis and usually choose to leave that employer.
Why is any of this important?
Because once you understand which area of the cycle you like to be in, you can either a) advise the people you live and work with, b) do things that allow you to stay in the cycle that's most comfortable and that can be done so in a healthy way.
i.e. My partner is most interested in the "growth" stages so he needs a lot of "chaos" and "fun" in whatever he does. I need stability. We balance each other off and since I'm also partial to growth, I really understand what he needs. Instead of forcing him to "stay" in the "maturity" mode, I give him breathers and pick up where he slacks and vice versa.
Again, this is all simple talk with a whole bunch of holes in the story. :-) However, I hope someone might glean something of "value" from this.