In just a few short months my husband and I will be celebrating our seven-year anniversary. Exciting, right!? I thought so too until my over-active imagination started going crazy and everything that happened became a sure sign that the seven-year itch was upon us. I demanded that my husband start “woo-ing” me as he had years ago when we were just getting to know each other. I made an effort to get out of my sweats and put on make-up a few times a week so he could remember he married a woman and not the amorphous blob that resides on the couch.
The thing is, I don’t feel an itch. According to my husband, he doesn’t either. And I believe him because I’m a lunatic and have asked every way I know how if he still loves me or if he would prefer to ditch me and sleep with other, less complicated, women
In this country the average marriage length for first-time divorcing couples is 7.8 years. But a new study (albeit a silly one commissioned to promote the release of a movie) shows that the three year mark is the time that stress levels tend to peak in a relationship. Perhaps it takes four years of being constantly stressed and annoyed in a relationship to finally call it quits? I have no idea, but what I do know is that despite the stress and hardships I love my husband more than I ever have before and there is absolutely no danger of us getting divorced in our seventh married year.
In reading the article about the difficulties of the third year, I discovered that my husband and I accidentally did a few things right that may have saved us from hating each other years down the road.
For one thing, when those cutesy things from the first few years of our relationship started getting annoying, we spoke up about it. At four years in my politeness had a breaking point. Instead of suffering in silence about picking up his dirty clothes that he insisted on leaving in the bathroom after his shower, I snapped and yelled something along the lines of, “If you don’t pick up your effing clothes after your shower I am going to break your favorite guitar and use the pieces in an art installation I will donate to a feminist museum.” Turns out he didn’t even realize he left his clothes on the floor because I always picked them up. After that we started talking about the things that bothered us. And it didn’t mean we were bad people or hated each other, it just meant we could both be more considerate.
We also still regularly hold hands and cuddle on the couch. I can’t imagine not getting a peck first thing when I wake up and last thing before I go to sleep. We say “I love you” daily and are not shy about doling out compliments to each other. Now please don’t think we are one of those PDA couples that sit on the same side of the booth. We manage to be disgustingly lovey outside the public eye. But I think staying close to one another, physically and emotionally, has helped us grow together and not apart.
Moreover, this year we’ve really discovered the benefits of spending a little time doing our own things. I heard it put this way one time; everyone just has a bunch of Velcro spots all over and you can only feasibly connect with other people on a certain number of them. Having your own interests and pursuing your own hobbies only makes you a more complete person. I connect with my husband on a ton of Velcro points but there are some he just doesn’t stick to. And some of his I can’t reach, which is perfectly ok. We have been making our individual selves more whole and it’s only had positive impacts on our couple self.
So I guess what I’m saying is that, though every moment hasn’t been rainbows and unicorns, my husband and I some how came out on top of the third and seventh years of marriage and if we keep going I see a whole lot more than seven in our future.
Brandi is a lawyer in Denver who spends very little time actually lawyering. She can usually be found working for free at a non-profit, hiking up mountains, or bossing her husband around because he made the mistake of asking her for help with his business one time. She’s horribly technologically inept (unless people still use AIM in which case she’s a genius) and takes one bite out of every donut instead of finishing a single donut in its entirety, which is probably a metaphor for something but she hasn’t figured out what it is yet. You can read more from Brandi on her blog, Randi Nickle.