When you first get married, you never really consider not being with that person. But we have all heard about the seven-year itch and we would love to avoid it. Whether you believe in it or not, there has been evidence that around the seven-year mark, couples struggle and sometimes that struggle can end a marriage.
Whether it’s seven years or not, most couples hit a rough patch at some point in their marriage and if you are aware of that fact you can work towards avoiding it all together. The rough patch can have a lot to do with a decrease in affection in the marriage, becoming restless or bored and fighting more often. The term itself came around in the ’50s in the movie where Marilyn Monroe stood over a grate.
One thing to understand about this concept is that going through a seven-year itch is completely normal. You can get through it without hiring a divorce lawyer. “In any endeavor, boredom sets in over time — this is because the novel becomes the routine,” says Dr. Paul Hokemeyer, a licensed family and marriage therapist. “I’ve found the seven-year itch cycle to be quite valid.” Check out these 20 ways to avoid the seven-year itch.
20-Is It Your Marriage Making You Feel Restless?
Believe it or not, but that restless feeling may have nothing at all to do with your marriage. Sometimes people mistake the restlessness as a fail in their marriage when it’s more of a personal thing.
“If you feel the itch to leave your relationship as you near seven years, ask yourself if you are itching for a change in general. If you feel your relationship is stagnant or boring, look around at your life as a whole.
Is your relationship stagnant, or is your life stagnant? People can transfer their feeling of boredom or lack of enthusiasm for aspects of their life onto their partner when their partner may not be the cause at all,” said Marie Land, psychologist.
19-Change Your Idea Of Love
Many people have different ideas of what love is and one thing that you have to understand is that love changes over time and that’s okay.
“It’s not a static something. Look at love as water and your relationship as a long and winding river that allows it to flow.
Yes, there will be quiet pools and rocky patches, but that’s part of the adventure,” Hokemeyer says. Being adventurously in love is a very good thing and something that you should run with.
18-Be Nicer To Each Other
It can be easy to let out frustrations on your partner, especially if you’ve been together for a long time. You get so comfortable with each other that sometimes, it’s hard to even realize we aren’t being nice.
“In other words, we had to learn to be nicer to each other. One expert suggests couples pretend they have a house guest – to help them behave better.”
It’s kind of funny to think about, but it’s also very true. Being nice can go a long way in a marriage.
17-Work Around The Changes
When you first got together you may have been ripping clothes off of each other but over the years the way you guys interact intimately will change and that’s okay. You may still have some wild bedroom time over the years, but there are going to be ebbs and flows. “Don’t think your [bedroom] life needs to be that of a 20-year-old,” Hokemeyer says. “As we age, our drives diminish. This is a function of our biology. Allow your [bedroom] life to change over time. If you expect it to be the way it was, you’ll tarnish its present and future expression.”
16-Be Grateful For Each Other
Remember why you fell in love with each other and all the good things you bring to each other’s life. Make sure your partner also knows how grateful you are to have them. “Ask each other if you feel grateful for your partner’s presence in your life.
If you find that your feelings of gratitude ― or lack thereof ― are less than ideal, now would be an excellent time to ask yourself why.
Once you discover the answer, I recommend that you actually do something to express your gratitude ― and to do it frequently in a way that your partner knows in their heart that you sincerely appreciate them,” said Gary Brown, marriage and family therapist.
15-You Can’t Live In The Honeymoon Stage
The honeymoon stage is a wonderful and blissful stage of a relationship, but it doesn’t last. If you can’t live without the honeymoon stage, then we suggest you not get into a relationship. “Realize that hot, new love inevitably becomes not-so-hot, older love. People in search of hot, new love and bolt every time there is an itch discover, sadly, that they are unable to sustain relationships.
We must embrace the reality that, through time, our relationships lapse into a predictable routine that may not have the heat of a honeymoon but has something larger and more important — and that is security and friendship and commitment,”
said Iris Krasnow, author of Surrendering to Marriage and The Secret Lives of Wives.
14-Be Considerate Of Each Other
Just because for the first few years, she was the one doing all the cooking, it doesn’t hurt to help her out. It’s great to feel appreciated and both men and women are more likely to do things for their partner if they feel appreciated. Just because you have been married for ten years doesn’t mean that you take advantage of your partner.
“Above all, we’re more considerate to each other. He has started to cook more. So now, every Sunday, I lace up my trainers to go for a run while he starts on the roast.
With potatoes. And Yorkshire puddings. And, once, a gravy boat,” wrote Helen Russel for the Telegraph.
13-Make Sure You Are Loving Yourself
Sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves throughout a marriage. We end up bored and we start blaming our partner for the lack of fun we have in our lives. You might start to think that if only your partner did more for you, then you would be happy.
But “blaming your partner, then trying to change them will only lead to resentment and anger,”
Hokemeyer says. “These emotions divide relationships. The best prescription for an interesting relationship is to become an interesting person.” Maybe it’s time to find a new hobby so you have something new to talk about with your partner.
12-Find A Hobby To Do Together
Doing something together is a great way of bonding. You can take up a brand new hobby or get involved in a hobby that your partner is already involved in.
“Do something your partner is interested in and you aren’t. When a relationship goes stale, resentment of a significant other’s independent interests often plays a part.
The long and happily married elders I’ve studied ask this: What’s more important, how you spend your leisure time or your relationship? Choose a week and, at one point in it, join in your partner’s interest,” said sociologist Karl Pillemer.
11-Go The Extra Mile
Obviously, we know that it’s easy for couples to start to take advantage of each other over so many years. A great way to avoid the itch is to always take care of each other. That could mean buying each other surprise gifts or doing nice things for each other. It’s great to make your partner feel like they are still attractive as well. It’s when you forget to do these things that your relationship can start to get heavy on the heart.
10-Experience The Best Parts Of Life Together
If the two of you are always on exciting adventures, it would probably be impossible to get bored of each other. By doing things as a couple, you have these fun things to look forward to all the time. “If you have children, make it a point to (at least twice a year) take a vacation from them,” says Kathryn Smerling, psychotherapist. “You can really appreciate each other when the kids are not around.
Even if you can’t take a vacation, have a relative or friend watch them for a weekend and take a ‘staycation.’
Do something physical together. Rent a bike, go hiking, go for a run — exercise is an incredibly bonding experience.”
9-Stop Thinking Your Relationship Is Perfect
The sooner you let go of wanting a “perfect” relationship, the better off you and your spouse will be. No relationship is perfect.
“If you find that you need everything in your life to be perfect ― or at least to appear perfect ― you’re in trouble. The very best of marriages are never perfect. Fairytales are nice, but they are just that; they’re fairytales and they bear very little resemblance to real life.
If you want to avoid the pitfall of any ‘itch,’ then you have to learn to let go of your need for your partner (or yourself) to be in a perfect marriage. That puts way too much stress on your relationship and actually increases the chances that you will divorce,” said psychotherapist Gary Brown.
8-Always Be Affectionate
You might think this is weird or think “of course I touch my spouse,” but we are talking about staying physically connected at all times. It doesn’t even have to be bedroom affection all the time, as long as you are physically connected in some way. “If you’re not talking, you’re not touching and if you’re not touching, you’re in trouble. [Bedroom affection] is really fun and can ease the tension of all the other stuff that comes up when you are living with the same person in the same house, sharing kids and bills, year after year,” said Iris Krasnow, author of Surrendering to Marriage and The Secret Lives of Wives.
7-Go On Double Dates
Do you have other couples that you hang out with because it can really help your relationship if you do? Going out with other people doesn’t go away just because you are married. Go on double dates once a month and it can give you guys something else to do. It will also allow you guys to do things together without also avoiding isolating yourself. “Try to do things with a social group or mutual friends; outside stimulation is always helpful,” Smerling says.
6-Do Something That’s Good For Your Soul
When the two of you do something that makes you feel good right down to your soul, then it bonds you in a completely different way. Try volunteering for an organization that you are both passionate about.
“The long-married couples I spoke with found one ‘magic bullet’ to rev up a relationship: Volunteer together. Find an activity that helps others that you can do jointly.
Whether it’s an environmental organization, volunteering in an inner-city school, Habitat for Humanity or another good cause, working together to make the world a better place is a powerful relationship refresher,” wrote Karl Pillemer, PhD.
5-Avoid Comparing Your Relationship To Others
It’s easy to look at the couple next door and to wish that you and your spouse interacted the same way. But the truth is, we never really know what goes on in another household. Things could appear perfect on the outside, but that may not be the reality. “Stop comparing yourself to other people,” Smerling says.
“You’ll feel less than if you’re always looking for things or traits that other couples have.”
Don’t compare the fact that someone takes more vacations than you or go out for more dinners than you do.
4-Learn To Take A Breath
When you are married, especially for a long time, you are bound to get into arguments. It’s how you deal with those arguments that is going to determine if you guys will survive.
“We often have a knee-jerk negative response to what a mate tells us or wants to do,”
says Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. and licensed psychotherapist. “Instead of replying negatively, ‘That won’t work…’, ‘We can’t do that…,’ try listening and thinking for a few seconds more. You may find out your initial response changes, and, at any rate, listening and understanding is not the same as agreeing. When your spouse feels that you care about what he or she is saying, the nature of the communication will change for the better.”
3-Keep Communication Open
The best thing that you can do for your marriage is to communicate about anything and everything. Even when you are mad, you need to communicate those feelings to your partner.
“Talk frequently and honestly to each other about your frustrations, about [bedroom affection], about anger, about disappointment, about your appreciation of each other, about the meaning of life, about everything,” says Tessina. “No topic should be off-limits. Learn to listen and communicate instead of fighting. Fighting is childish, and you want a grown-up relationship.”
2-Reduce Stress By Hugging
Did you know that hugging your spouse will reduce the stress that you feel? Of course, you do because you have probably done it before. You two can stay in tune just by hugging each other every day. “Sit near your significant other, and gently place your hand on his or her shoulder, leg, or arm,” Tessina says.
“If you’re in the car, lightly touch his or her shoulder or arm. You’ll find your conversation becomes warmer and more caring.
If you’ve been struggling, or are ready to forgive each other, facing each other and holding both hands will help you feel more positively connected and reassured.”
1-Always Be A Team Together
Be Team Husband and have him be Team Wife. If you are always supporting each other, how can you ever get in trouble? “Don’t get stuck on who’s right or wrong — instead focus on what will solve the problem,” Tessina says. “Strive to work together so both of you can have what you want. When you build a successful working partnership, each of you will feel supported and respected by the other. When each of you feels that the other has your best interests at heart, problems are solved not ‘my way’ or ‘your way’ but so that both are happy with the solution.”