Man meets woman. They both fall in love. The wedding parallels fairy tale endings, at least in the couple’s minds. Then life happens. Why is the Seven Year Itch a movie classic? Because it symbolizes what after a couple that has fallen into love then fall into ruts. Seven years is an arbitrary number; the decline depends on how slippery the slope is. Functionality replaces Fun. Routine replaces Romance. Incompatibility replaces Intimacy. How can you fix this? Most marriage counselors are adept at identifying the problems in relationships, and offering exercises on how to minimize the negativity that can manifest. But to the same extent that a man and a woman can’t make love happen, neither can therapists.
This article isn’t about making love happen; it is about preserving love after it has happened. Dating for Life doesn’t mean Dating until Married. “I do” doesn’t mean “I did.” My book goes into great detail, but for now, the focus is to “Never ALTER what got you to the ALTAR.”
Seven years is an arbitrary number because it depends on the exposure that two people have together in their marriage. I know one couple that has been married twenty eight years. The husband is on the road travelling 75% of the time. Therefore, they have really only been together for seven years. Uh oh—are they starting to itch? (For something different in their lives?) Another couple that lives together and works together exposed 24/7, 50% more than the average relationship. Could they be desirous of change after 3-4 years?
Done right, why should any romance atrophy? I will submit to you that after a considerable period of time in marriage “Happily Ever After” will either be well on its way to being a reality, or will be in the midst of becoming a bittersweet statement. There is a way to nurture LOVE and allow it to bloom vibrantly year after year.