Ups and downs are par for the course in any long-term relationship. But it’s a commonly held belief that at the seven-year mark specifically, couples tend to fall into a slump, which often leaves them feeling restless and dissatisfied with the relationship. This is known as “the seven-year itch.”
Indeed, the median length of marriages that end in divorce has long hovered around seven years, according to U.S. government data. But, overall, relationship experts are divided on whether this phenomenon is real.
“No one has discovered anything particularly special about the seventh year of a relationship,” Karl Pillemer, the author of 30 Lessons for Loving: Advice From the Wisest Americans on Love, Relationships, and Marriage, told HuffPost. “So couples should not dread the seventh year as a unique threat. On the other hand, studies do show that on average, marital satisfaction and overall quality drop over the first several years people are together, as ‘real life’ — and in particular kids — enter the picture.”
Couples can, of course, fall into a rut at any point in a relationship ― whether it’s been six months, seven years or decades. But if you’re one of the couples who feels the so-called itch coming on, don’t fret. We reached out to experts who gave us their advice on how to reignite the spark in your marriage right now.
1. Ask yourself if your marriage is really the thing making you feel stuck or listless.
“If you feel the itch to leave your relationship as you near seven years, ask yourself if you are itching for a change in general. If you feel your relationship is stagnant or boring, look around at your life as a whole. Is your relationship stagnant, or is your life stagnant? People can transfer their feeling of boredom or lack of enthusiasm for aspects of their life onto their partner when their partner may not be the cause at all.” ― Marie Land, psychologist
2. Remind yourself why you’re grateful for your partner. Then let him or her know.
“Ask each other if you feel grateful for your partner’s presence in your life. If you find that your feelings of gratitude ― or lack thereof ― are less than ideal, now would be an excellent time to ask yourself why. Once you discover the answer, I recommend that you actually do something to express your gratitude ― and to do it frequently in a way that your partner knows in their heart…