It is perfectly natural to have ups and downs in any long-term relationship, but there is a common belief that after seven years specifically, there comes a slump, referred to as the ‘7-year itch’. This is where married couples tend to feel as though they are stuck in a rut and become a little restless. So how can you beat this?
There is nothing specific about the seven-year mark in a relationship that would suggest that there is a reason for this phenomenon. That said, the median length of marriages that end in divorce tends to be around seven years, and so it seems as though this is where the thought comes from. Studies do show that on average marital satisfaction drops over the first few years of a couple being together.
Is it really your marriage?
You might feel as though your relationship is what is stuck in a rut, but if you step back and look closely at your life, you may realize that it’s your life that has stagnated. You might think that it is your marriage that is in a rut, but really you could be itching for more of a general life change.
As time goes by, we tend to take things and people for granted. Make a list of all the things that your partner does or is that you are grateful for. Then express this gratitude to them. Feeling underappreciated in a marriage can lead to a lot of feelings of discontent, so make sure that your partner knows that you are grateful for their presence in your life.
Remember that things change
The honeymoon phase is a lot of fun, but it is vital to remember that this stage isn’t supposed to last forever. When you first get together, your love is exciting, and you might feel as though you can’t eat or sleep; however, this kind of love is biologically unsustainable! As you get into a routine, and real-life takes over, the honeymoon stage fades away. It is important to remember that this isn’t a bad thing, and is perfectly normal. Friendship, security, and commitment will replace the spontaneous, butterflies-in-the-tummy beginning of a relationship, and that’s a good thing.
Take up a hobby together
Sometimes things can fall flat in a relationship because you are no longer doing anything together, as you did when you first got together. Something that can make a big difference is if you can show an interest in the things that your partner is interested in. For example, if they like a certain band or sport, get some tickets to watch it with them. Do they like to go walking? Grab a picnic and suggest you go for a walk together. They will likely enjoy teaching you about their hobby, and it will bring you closer.
Talk and listen
If you don’t communicate with your partner, things will never work out. Tell them how you feel, what it is you need from them and be prepared to listen too. If you do get to the point where you are worried that you might be in a rut, the best way to get out of it is to talk with your partner and work it out together.
Although it does seem that seven years is roughly when dissatisfaction sets in for some relationships, that doesn’t mean it will happen for you, nor does it mean that it has to mark the end of your relationship. Take these tips and make your relationship work, from the seven-year itch and beyond!