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“Unlucky Number 7”: Surviving The Seven-Year Itch

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

The “Seven Year Itch” was a term originally coined after a popular 1955 film featuring, none other than the original “material girl” Marilyn Monroe. In this marital “farce” this icon of sensuality (Marilyn) “charms” her neighbor into straying while his wife and family are out of town for the summer. Since then, the seven-year mark has been earmarked for marital “distress” and “disaster”, often fraught and wrought with thoughts (if not actions) of divorce and/or infidelity.

Yet, this myth may not be such a myth after all. According to research, a majority of couples nearly 95 percent expressed a decline in marital happiness and satisfaction generally in the first 10 years of marriage. And, this angst generally fell into two distinct periods of decline. The first, marriages that started with fireworks and intense passion but once the honeymoon phase was over, frequently fizzled, generally after the first four years. This tended to stabilize, only to rear its ugly head again around the eight-year mark.

According to experts, the first decline can often be classified as “normal” as the couple adjusts to their new title, position and responsibilities. The second is generally associated with the addition of children. Couples going through the seven-year itch begin to disagree with each other more, show less affection toward each other, share few romantic moments and/or general activities, and thus feel unfulfilled in their marriages.

As for the seven-year mark, that’s purely “coincidental”, note professionals, but it’s usually when (often pre-existing) problems reach their peak. In fact, most couples blame increased “independence” (since they are likely “secure” and “comfortable” with each other by this point) and lack of “trying” and communication as the primary problems.

And, while the 7-year mark is a “fictional” figure, statistics show that the median duration of marriage was 7.2 years for couples who split back in the late 80s and early 90s.

And as for couples that forego traditional titles (despite what the relationship really is), and simply “live together” are not necessarily better off. While for some, the lack of legal connection serves as an incentive to keep things “alive” experts suggest that those who take their commitment to the next level are often more inclined to thrive due to the feeling of security.

And, though this isn’t true of every couple, there also seems to be steeper declines in marital satisfaction for couples with children, probably because due to added responsibility they find they have less time for each other.

With that said, the best experts can offer is that it all depends on the couple and the individuals in the relationship. Some couples just don’t get “itchy”. In fact, they claim their relationship has grown and strengthened through the years and through all the “struggles”.

What’s their secret? Ron, the CEO of LIFamilies, was right. Make your union a priority. While you don’t want to make your marriage a job, it IS work to make it work, especially in the “compromise” and giving it the proper attention realm. It’s imperative that you LIKE and RESPECT your partner rather than merely love them. Remember, love is something you DO or SHOW out of LIKE and RESPECT. Your partner should never be expected to meet you needs, likes, and ideas on every level, but much like your best friend should be someone you enjoy having in your life and hanging out with, even if just while doing the grocery shopping.

Don’t forget to treat this special friendship specially. Set aside time for each other and do (as often as possible) all the little things you use to do before you got married or moved in together. And don’t forget to have fun and laugh (even at yourself) while you’re at it.

Remember, if your marriage falls victim to the seven-year itch, it’s likely that you turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to your problems rather than taking the time to discuss and solve them.

Long Island Relationship Articles > “Unlucky Number 7”: Surviving The Seven-Year Itch

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