Couple development is the incremental progression of committed partners through relationship intimacy stages. When two people come together in an intimate, committed relationship, they will experience multiple stages of love as their relationship progresses over time. Knowledge of couple development is pertinent to the practice of marriage, family, and couples counseling because it aids in case conceptualization and the provision of effective treatment. According to therapist and researcher Patricia (Pat) Love, if partners stay committed to their relationship long enough they will progress through four successive stages of love. Knowing the characteristics and common experiences associated with each stage provides a framework for helping clients find satisfaction in their intimate relationships.


The first stage of love is the infatuation stage. Infatuation builds from the initial attraction ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles