According to bestselling author and psychologist, Doctor Susan M. Campbell, each intimate relationship goes through the following five stages. The romance stage, the power struggle stage, the stability stage, the commitment stage, and the co-creation or bliss stage. She based the aforementioned theory on numerous interview of couples that she had conducted. Which she later compiled into the bestselling book, The Couple’s Journey: Intimacy as a Path To Wholeness.
The more I delved into Campbell’s theory, the more I could not help to feel as though each stage could be easily paired up with a complimentary song. If anything, I was quite convinced there are plenty of love songs for me to curate into a playlist. After going back and forth with the endless possibilities, I settled on the following choices. Here they are:
The Attraction Stage
The first stage of love, the attraction stage, is where that deep, burning desire or interest in someone begins to manifest. Feelings are fresh, so lovers begin to experience what is known as a ‘magnetic pull’ towards the subject of their affection. Valerie Kimani’s Ngunga Ii is an embodiment of the desire to be close to someone. The songstress who sings in Kikuyu, a Bantu language spoken in Kenya, kick-starts the tune by asking the name of her potential lover. She continues to dote on him. And she further expresses that she is ready to say yes to love in spite of her fear. When translated into English, the title of the song becomes, I Will Say Yes.
The Infatuation Stage
”I don’t want nobody else
Baby, all I need is you
You’re the one I want
And I don’t want nobody else
Baby, all I need is you
You’re the one I want”
Lovers get to know each other in the stage of infatuation. And the more they do, the more it feels like pure bliss. And understandably so, because this is the point where they overly-romanticize every single detail about whomever they are falling in love with. Since reality has not really kicked in. At least not yet. Hence why it is often called the honeymoon phase. Where euphoria is at an all-time high, and everything is oh-so-pleasant. And no one describes it better than Tamar Braxton in her The One single from Love & War album. She starts off the song with the following lines; You know very well who you are. You’re the only one, you got my heart. She later goes on to express how she desires no one else.
The Power Struggle Stage
Lizz Wright sings of this post-honeymoon phase in her jazz/blues ballad, Speak Your Heart. The song is about a conflict ensuing between lovers because of their fight for control. She wants to know where they stand because of her lover’s refusal to open up. She later gives him an ultimatum; either he lets her in or lets her go.
In the previous stage, lovers had just begun to become more unstable and prone to disagreements. But at this point, it worsens to a greater magnitude because masks are peeled off. And those in love begin to see each other for who they really are. Not for who they thought they were. And this devastating discovery can lead to pondering on what happened to the good old times. And most of all, what happened to the person one fell in love with. This stage is perfectly articulated by Toni Braxton and Babyface in their duet tune, Take It Back.
The Stability Stage
Commonly known to be the calm after a storm phase. In this stage, lovers are known to liberate each other. Because a sense of security and comfort exists. Validation is no longer needed. This is when people are more certain of what they feel and how they go about making it known. And with that in mind, have a listen to Mariah Carey’s Always Be My Baby. Because it perfectly encapsulates the emotions that come with this stage.
The Commitment Stage
This soulful Grammy-nominated hit, By Your Side, is a perfect example of a lover’s relentless loyalty and devotion to his/her subject of affection. Sade sings of a lover who vows to be there through the thick and thin. And through the highs and lows. As it should be between lovers who have weathered the storm and triumphed. Only for their love to remain strong.