Seven ways to combat the ‘seven-year itch’
Wikipedia states that the seven-year-itch is a “psychological term that suggests that happiness in a relationship declines after around year seven of a marriage.”
While the itch might not fall at seven years, it is widely agreed that it does exist in most marriages. Couples experience a varied version of the seven-year-itch, but most couples describe it as just not “clicking” anymore.
Here are seven tools for your toolbox that can help to combat the “seven-year-itch” in your marriage.
1.) Communicate. I teach all my clients to learn to discuss what their emotional needs and wants are from their partner on a regular basis. When couples have an environment of open communication, which is filled with compassion, empathy, understanding, kindness and genuine regard for one another, they can easily express any distress they may be feeling in the marriage when it comes up.
2.) Avoid the temptation to become distracted from your relationship. What I see often in my practice are couples who struggle with “emotional affairs.” They are developing close bonds with co-workers, ex-partners or friends through the ease of technology and social media and they get caught up in the newness of someone else’s attention. The trick here is to set up boundaries in your own mind, long before you start these kinds of interactions.
3.) Step out of the daily routine. This tool is great because it reminds us how much fun our partner truly is. You can start a new tradition, like breakfast in bed. Try a karaoke place or get a babysitter and just attend a movie on a random Tuesday night. It’s good to shake things up sometimes. This gives couples things to look forward to that are outside the daily grind of life.
4.) Rekindle passion. Oftentimes, intimacy and romance can get stale and this is the opportunity to introduce new fantasies or activities to your intimate life. There are many aids available for this as well as classes and educational avenues that can remind yourselves that you are still passionate creatures. Opportunities for romance can be found anywhere, even bringing home a new wine or bouquet of flowers from the grocery store can change the vibe of a relationship enough to rekindle the spark.
5.) Work on the relationship daily. I am still constantly amazed that so many of my clients report that they haven’t had a date in ages. I wonder how they ever expect to remain connected and in tune if they aren’t even making time to be together on a regular basis. In my opinion, dates are the number-one tool needed if you want to remain happily married. Do not skip this one!
6.) Discover something new together. Many times discovering a new hobby, planning an adventure or starting a project together can be rewarding. Studies show that couples who create lasting memories together are stronger and more successful over time.
7.) Be grateful. I’m a big believer in “loving the one you’re with.” I see that those people who spend their time accentuating the positives in their partners rather than focusing on flaws tend to feel more content in their relationships. No one is perfect, but at times it is better to remember that the grass is rarely greener elsewhere, it’s usually greener where you water it.
(Nikki Delaney is a licensed counselor and owner of A New You Counseling in Rio Rancho, which received the Marriage Counselor, Best of Rio Rancho Award in 2015. You can submit “Love Letter” questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or rioranchocouplescounseling.com.)
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