How to Prevent the 7 year Itch in Marriage
The 7-year itch is a measurement of the length of time it takes for some couples to experience a lack of desire and interest in their marriage. Although the 7-year itch isn’t exclusive to marriage, it is most talked about in marriage. This itch or disinterest in marriage is caused largely because couples grow apart. They stop putting effort into their relationship and begin prioritizing their kids, work, hobbies, and everything else besides each other. To keep marriages strong and vital couples need to love their relationship more than themselves and when they become more focused on their needs over serving each other they begin telling themselves they deserve more or better in a mate.
As couples grow apart, they begin to feel like strangers and communication breaks down, so a primary goal to prevent the 7-year itch is to communicate more. I have several suggestions that can help you re-connect and notice your partner again.
Address the problem and commit to doing something together. You need to talk about the issues underneath your lack of desire and interest in the marriage and commit to re-prioritizing each other. Start a bucket list of things you want to do or places you want to go together and cross one off each year.
Show appreciation and gratitude for your partner every day. When you take someone for granted and treat them like a object they begin feeling used. They may let themselves go and not feel intimate. Replace date night with a surprise night and take turns surprising each other every week.
Keep things exciting. The 7-year itch is often a cry for novelty. Plan to take a risk together once a month. For some couples that will be a new movie or exploring new cities nearby, for other couples it may be a safari. Do what works for your budget and your relationship.
Focus on intimacy. Intimacy is important in any romantic relationship but it’s crucial to make time for it in marriage. Physical intimacy is the glue for a healthy marriage and emotional intimacy is the cement of a healthy relationship. Share your fears and hopes with each other and think out of the box in getting more physical with each other. Create your own romantic gestures, take time to stay in bed and talk before the kids get up, this is your marriage, get physical with it.
Support each other. Life is difficult and it’s important to have a partner to share your ups and downs. Someone who lifts you emotionally when you’re feeling defeated and celebrates with you when you are on top of the world is an incredible perk in marriage. Begin a no complain challenge between the two of you and replace criticism with humor. Laugh at yourself or laugh at the situation but stay away from blaming each other.
7-year itches remind us that marriage as well as all relationships require nurturing and attention. You have to be willing to negotiate and grow in order to stay invested. Keeping the spark alive prevents you from falling into the boredom trap that so many 7-year itch couples fall into. The happiest married couples give simple advice: “Put the needs of the relationship ahead of your own.”