I’m pretty sure it’s referred to as the “seven-year itch.” Is it for marriage? Dating? The relationship in its totality? I have no idea, but I know we hit it. There was a year in our marriage when it seemed like everything was a BIG deal. It did not matter what it was— we were going to discuss it to death. Possibly argue about it. Maybe hold a grudge. It was hard.
While I wouldn’t say we were fully unhappy together, there was definitely always an edge. A little extra in the air. A little more to wade through. A little more to try and understand. What we mostly were not understanding was each other. We never seemed to be quite on the same page. If we were fully honest, we probably were not in things together and seeking out the best for each other. Spoiler alert: we made it through that year.
Although the year was not riddled with fights, it was definitely fraught with misunderstandings. While we never quite had an epiphany, we did decide we did not like where we were. We saw some friends go through hard times in their marriages, and we saw a couple of marriages end. Equipped with this information, we looked at each other and decided we wanted better for our relationship and ourselves. So we started moving forward.
We are now in our twelfth year together and approaching our ninth wedding anniversary. I can honestly say we are so much happier. We are so much better to each other and for each other. Ultimately, we are so much happier for our kids. While there was no professional intervention (which I totally support) and no magic solution, there are a few things we do now that we did not do well then.
*We talk to each other. We ask instead of demand. We discuss rather than walk away.
*We are brutally honest with each other. When my husband wants to do something, he asks instead of giving a simple yes or no or being ambiguous in the hopes that he chooses the right answer. I give him my full feelings— why I want him to be able to do what he wants, or why that night isn’t the best in my viewpoint. We thoroughly discuss and I am completely honest, which equips him to decide rather than feel caught in whatever decision he makes.
*We date each other once a month. We hire a babysitter and spend time outside the home. Our kids go to bed early, and we have a lot of time built into our days, but there is something special about getting out together.
*We talk to our friends about our relationships. It is so good for me to hear that my friends also have misunderstandings with their spouses. There is no greater isolation than not understanding that every relationship has its own challenges.
*We both work on bettering ourselves. We have activities we do for our physical health and friends we spend time with for social outlets. The time we spend apart makes us better together.
I would certainly not consider us relationship experts or pretend that our relationship is close to perfect. However, I would say our relationship has come a long way. I’m not sure where the idea of the seven-year itch came from, but I do know we majorly trudged through it, and I am most grateful we came out stronger on the other side.