Getting Through The Seven Year Itch Unscathed

Have you heard of the ‘seven year itch’? It’s a phrase coined by a 1955 movie starring Marilyn Monroe, about a man going through a mid-life crisis whose marriage is threatened after seven years when the gorgeous Monroe moves in next door. Let’s put aside the fact that most marriages would probably be under a little pressure if someone like Marilyn Monroe showed an interest in your significant other, and consider the seven year itch instead. Is it true that your relationship goes downhill after you’ve been together for a long time? If so, what causes it? And what can you do to make it better again? 

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Is It True? 

Studies have suggested that the happiness of married couples declines after four years and then again after seven, but other studies have shown that couples are more likely to divorce after spending more than a decade together. It looks like there is no specific amount of time that might cause a marriage to go wrong - but it does look pretty clear that after the initial buzz of marriage has worn off and real life has well and truly set in, relationships are harder to maintain. 

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Why It Might Happen 

The everyday stresses of life can be rough on some couples. You might have money troubles, which can put a lot of pressure on people - not only is there the stress of figuring out what exactly you can and can’t afford, but it can also lead to feelings of resentment and guilt. In addition, raising kids isn’t an easy thing to do - it requires years of sleep deprivation and it also requires an adjustment in your relationship as the most important person in your lives is no longer each other. Finally, the little irritating niggles that seemed perfectly okay when you first got together might seem a whole lot more unbearable after a few years together - don’t underestimate how much simple irritation can lead to arguments and disagreements. 

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How To Improve Your Marriage 

First of all, there’s no reason to decide that a divorce is the only way out of the stalemate you’ve found yourself in. Remember that all relationships go through peaks and troughs and that all marriages require work - it won’t always be easy like it seems to be on TV shows. Even if your parents are happy together, they probably went through some rough times too. Make sure that you spend plenty of time together. A lot of couples get so distracted by the rest of their lives like raising their kids that they forget to come back to each other, so have regular date nights, even if you have to have them at home because you can’t get a babysitter. Talking to each other and communicating well is key. If you’re upset, try to take a deep breath and calm down so that your fights don’t get out of control and you don’t say things that you can’t take back. It’s easy to forgive, but a lot harder to forget. 

Finally, remember that you get out of everything what you put into it - put time and love into your relationship and you’ll get it back tenfold.

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