According to the available research evidence, there are several periods in a marriage that seem, on average, to be particularly troublesome – the first year, the seventh year, the fifteenth year, and the 30th year. Marriages that survive and thrive beyond 30 years have virtually no chance of ending in divorce!
Our focus in this article is the Seven-Year Itch, so widely reported in the popular media. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau would suggest that the Seven-Year Itch is, in fact, real.
Some of the most interesting facts about marriage and divorce have come from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Several years ago, the Census Bureau issued a press release entitled “Most People Make Only One Trip Down the Aisle, But First Marriages Shorter.” The fact reported in the press release that piqued our interest the most was: “On average, first marriages that end in divorce last about eight years.” This is the phenomenon often called the “Seven-Year Itch.”
The more basic question is, how do you stay faithful to the one you love and keep your loving relationship healthy and strong so it survives. We offer these seven tips to help you avoid the Seven-Year Itch and become one of those couples building a love that lasts:
1. Understand that the occasional temptation to betray the trust of the one you love through infatuation with another person is a perfectly normal feeling when it comes to love and marriage. Being infatuated with another person doesn’t make you less human. Accept that these feelings are natural.
2. Actually acting on the feelings of infatuation and temptation impulses is not normal and destroys the underlying foundation of a marriage. Take time to fully think through the consequences before you make that choice. There is no mistake about it, cheating on your spouse is deadly to the trust in your relationship.
3. Recognize that continuing and recurring fantasies and infatuations about another person is a strong indicator of something amiss in your relationship with your spouse.
4. The “turn the corner rule”—is to address the issue head-on with your loving partner. Failure to do so will doom your relationship to the ash-heap of lost love.
5. Love takes hard work. Frankly, sometimes you determine that your loving relationship is lost. But more likely, you discover that you truly love your spouse. You must save this relationship by committing to the hard work it will take to rebuild the love.
6. Seek help! Sometimes couples turn to a marriage counselor. Others learn how to make their relationship work by reading what others, including us, have discovered. You can learn so much about your relationship by “discovering” what others have already learned!
7. Sometimes you have to “fish or cut bait.” The reality is that some marriages cannot be saved. But hopefully an examination will reveal your relationship is worth saving. You should always work towards that end if you are to avoid the Seven-Year Itch.