The Seven Year Itch: Staying Connected
The Seven Year Itch: Staying Connected When Things Get Tough
Falling in love is like a fairytale. The butterflies, the excitement and the feeling that you never want to be away from this person. Your wedding day is supposed to be the happily ever after; the day when you commit to that feeling of love and passion from here until death do you part…
But as most married couples will tell you, those initial butterflies and excitement fade with time. Some will describe the love as only growing deeper, but there is no denying that it is different. The reality is that marriage is hard work. It requires time and commitment, as well as a sincere desire to put the effort in. Long-term relationships need nurturing in order to thrive, and even the best of marriages will falter at times. Kids get in the way, work stress takes over, or two people simply grow apart rather than together. They call it the seven year itch, but realistically – it can happen at any time.
A disconnect that you could neither foresee nor avoid.
The good news is, many couples make it through those rough patches and come out the other side stronger than ever before. They are often even able to capitalize upon the struggles, turning those difficult situations into an excuse to fall in love all over again. But in order to accomplish that, truly turning lemons into lemonade, there needs to be a willingness to make your relationship a priority.
So if you have started to feel that disconnect within your own marriage, whether it has been one year, seven, or fifteen, now is the time to make that commitment to finding your way back to each other.
Now is the time to start dating again.
Think about it. Back in the beginning of your relationship, part of the excitement was about preparing for the next time you might see your newest love. With time and additional responsibilities, however, that excitement begins to fade. You stop doing fun things with each other, or talking to your spouse about what matters to them. Instead, your days are overcome by the monotony of life, and that excitement is no longer given light to bloom in.
Which is why it is important to start building upon that excitement once more. Make a point of planning date nights with each other, and not just the kind where you each throw on your pajamas and curl up on the couch. No, you need to do better than that. Go to the movies, head to a favorite restaurant, or buy tickets to an upcoming concert you both would enjoy. Dress up, hold hands and talk about the things you haven’t talked about in years; your passions, your dreams and your goals for the future. Don’t just stop at one date either. Make this a weekly thing for a while, a few hours where you agree to focus on finding that love you experienced in the past. And don’t just leave it at dates. Send each other love notes, or even racy texts throughout the day. Focus on touching, sometimes just for the sake of placing your hand on your spouse’s or exchanging a kiss simply because you can. Make small gestures, like you would have back when wooing was still a part of the agenda. Bring home flowers, or get your spouse’s car washed just because. And try to recognize when your other half is going out of their way as well. It is so much easier to continue putting in the effort when you feel as though that effort has been appreciated.
Most relationship issues can’t be fixed overnight, and sometimes seeking the help of a professional can also be worthwhile. But if both partners are still committed to the vows they have made, overcoming those obstacles can be done.
And the bonus is that you get to fall in love all over again.