Handling the Seven Year Itch
The five step guide to keep
your marriage fresh
Men may remember The Seven Year Itch as the 1955 Hollywood classic famous for its iconic image of Marilyn Monroe but the phrase has quite a different connotation for women. Psychologists use the term to refer to men’s increasing tendency to stray after the seventh year of marriage.
Why seven years, you may ask. Relationship experts give a rough break up: first two years of marriage fly off in getting to know each other; the next three in the excitement of becoming parents and raising the first child; the next two in planning the second pregnancy and managing two tiny tots. After such a varied and hectic first seven years, life settles into a routine which the husband and wife probably find monotonous and dull. The Missus becomes fully involved with her children, their school, their extra-curricular activities, their nutrition etc. She inadvertently starts ignoring the most important man in her life and he naturally feels sidelined leading to the inevitable breakdown of relations.
With instances of infidelity and divorce on the rise, the seven year itch is infecting more and more people. But surprise! Surprise! The popular perspective that only the men wander in a relationship seems to be on the wane. An increasing number of women are admitting to indulging in extra marital affairs. The decreasing threshold of tolerance coupled with fragile egos may be to blame for the married couple looking elsewhere for the fulfillment of their emotional and physical needs.
Here is a five step guide to help you tide over the seven year itch
1. Spruce yourself up:
Nothing proves the adage ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ better than married life. But before you take up the cudgel against your hubby for his perpetual rant that you have let yourself go and are no longer the svelte femme fatale he married, do take a look at yourself. His statement may not be all chauvinistic. Indian women have the wonderful capacity of putting their family first but that unfortunately means that they ignore their own health and appearance. I am sure watching the Greek God you married change into a pot-bellied couch potato will definitely have a negative impact on your psyche too. Both of you need to tighten your belts and set out on the path of transformation. Beauty is not skin deep but it is an important part of the overall process of holistic living. And it is never too late to start caring for your body. So, what are you waiting for? Get a couples’ membership to the swanky, neighbourhood gym that you have admired from far. Besides spending precious time together, enjoy watching your delectable curves reappear and your hubby’s paunch disappear. Regular visits to the parlour will also work wonders for your appearance and confidence.
2. Do not let the romance die:
Seven years on, most couples feel that they have done all they could to keep the sparks alive. In truth, however, they have only explored the surface. There is so much you can do to let your hubby know that he is still the One for you. Cook his favourite meal, gift him sweet surprises, buy him a new set of clothes, give yourself a makeover. The end result will definitely be worth it. Your efforts will spur him on to do his bit to keep the excitement going.
Technology is ubiquitous these days, so take advantage of it, especially in case of long distance marriages. Text each other, post a scrap, tweet, write on his wall, send a long mail, swap forwards, in short keep in touch. Also remember that no matter how tech-savvy you are, the best ways to show your love is through the ‘old-fashioned’ hand-written love letter, a greeting card filled with sweet nothings or a hand-picked bouquet. Apart from these romantic exchanges remember to talk the talk. Have a weekly chat session with each other. Thrash all your doubts and answer all his questions frankly. Keep the communication channel open.
4. Sigh! The good ol’ days:
Nothing can recharge your senses like a trip down memory lane. So what is stopping you? Curl up on the sofa with a steaming mug of coffee and your wedding album. Flip through the pages together and get nostalgic. Alternatively, watch old home videos shot on your camcorder and relive the moments. Plan a second honeymoon to the same destination where you went for your first one. Preferably, stay in the same hotel and visit the same spots as earlier. Marvel at how much the place has changed and yet how much it has remained the same.
5. Conjugal bliss:
Physical intimacy is important in any romantic relationship. Sadly, most married couples get so busy with their individual lives and so involved with the emotional see-saw a marriage brings in that the physical aspect of the marriage is relegated to the background. Do not let this happen with your marriage. Keep the passion alive. Even seemingly trivial things done together improve intimacy. Cook Sunday brunch together, catch the latest romantic flick, have a candlelit dinner at home or go ballroom dancing. A touch, a glance, a gesture is enough to keep the flame burning.
American novelist Peter De Vries said, “The bonds of matrimony are like any other bonds - they mature slowly.” So let the marriage mature like a vintage wine and live happily ever after savouring the taste of perfect harmony.