Last year on May 16, the day of me and the hubs’ wedding anniversary, I kept a singular notion from my husband that I had always heard of, but wasn’t sure if I should fear: the seventh year of marriage, often marred by the “seven-year itch,” is one of the hardest to overcome in marriage. Otherwise a happy, content union for the both of us, I theorized that dwelling on it would jinx us into some negative ju ju, so I avoided thinking about it.
Until today. A year later. In “the clear,” so to speak.
The “seven-year itch” is a time period through which many couples have expressed falling into a slump in overall marriage satisfaction. To pin down a justification of the term for Women’s Health, Korin Miller wrote, “Manhattan-based licensed clinical psychologist Joseph Cilona, Psy.D., says the whole seven-year itch concept is actually based on stats that show a ‘significant’ percentage of divorces occur around a marriage’s seven year mark.” (Miller, 2015)
Furthermore, according to writer Jennifer Nagy at the Huffington Post, “other theories suggest that our bodies and minds develop and change every seven years. Austrian philosopher and teacher Rudolf Steiner created a theory of human development based on seven-year-cycles that were associated with astrology. According to his theories, humans experience changes physically and mentally every seven years. It makes some sense that if we experience large changes in personal growth, experience, knowledge and goals every seven years, that these changes will make a marriage less stable and increase the probability of divorce.” (Nagy, 2013)
There is no solidly universal basis to it, and experts tend to agree to disagree on the subject. But it does, oddly, make a lot of sense to me, if only comparing the levels of maturation we’ve experienced in our years together.
As we further developed our business acumen and professional philosophies this past year as colleagues, the hubs and I saw one another at our best and our worst. Business was exhausting. I expressed new ideas while my husband contributed a unique level of execution without verbally accepting or denouncing my notions and reasonings. This helped. The same teamwork compliance moved our marriage into a new adherence to faith and respect as our children became more loving and more demanding. But we prayed together. We discussed love languages and best practices. The ups of parenthood discoveries and the downs of everyday stresses made us undeniably stronger in retrospect. Our first vacation away from the children recently reaffirmed our amusedly natural admiration for one another. If we are still in love after 2017, there is something fated here.
Much like in the year before, 2016, when we saw the birth of our daughter, Jai, and the mandatory realignment of our family finances, we uncovered fresh perspectives regarding how we work independently and how we make our marriage thrive. It became essential to try to put the two of “us” ahead of “the family” sometimes because we needed to have full cups in order to pour most fervently to our young children. It wasn’t always easy in our surrounding politically-charged news cycle. We carved out our own safe space, though, of love and protection.
2015 was the year of the renewal of our wedding vows at point five. At this time on the beach, we promised to continue to try. This was an essential piece of our securing because we did not wish to wake up one day having fallen ill to our own unjustified, stubborn obstinacies the way so many people express learning, “out of the blue,” that their marriages weren’t the same anymore. Our commitment set the foundation for the tougher days.
2014 became the year we leaned heavily on our parents’ teachings, good and bad, and examined just what type of parents we wanted to be. Becoming “mom and dad” was a different kind of wake-up call that was instinctive and complicated with a feisty toddler and faraway villages. We wanted the best for all of us.
In 2013, we witnessed the birth of our first child, a son we named Jrue Christopher, and the homegoing of my husband’s mother. Jrue arrived on a June Friday afternoon. My mother-in-law took her last earthly breath in her sleep in August. The two of them had not yet met.
I didn’t know how much of a woman I had become until 2012 showed me that I really wanted to be a mom. The desire is something that young girls with doll babies usually grow up articulating, but there was no proof at that point that parenthood was even truly in the cards for us. We became comfortable in just “us” as its own unit as I started a cushy salaried position. Our attempts to become pregnant were futile, but we were okay. Later that year, the job went away and was replaced by…a baby.
In 2011, I learned how to be a wife. I took on extra work assignments to add to our little family bank account. I sharpened cooking skills through advisement and engaged in professional basketball on television. I lost 30 pounds. I wanted to know what would please my husband and what would make him angry. I loved studying him and his nuances; I both delighted and bristled at sleep patterns and diet choices and travel arrangements. I like to believe that I became part of who I am now because of my intentional surveys of him as a person. He’s an awesome human being.
The year 2010 was that of our wedding after a year of planning. That May morning commemorated our entry into the rest of our lives together under a divine covenant. Marrying was an intuitive choice for us; the desire does not always show up so effortlessly for many, which is one of the countless reasons why we decided on a legal joining of this nature. There was no “work” to us. No pushing, no shoving. The years prior to our wedding flowed like one long, spring day.
If I had done this reflection before, I wouldn’t have even considered worrying about our seventh year. Oftentimes, we just don’t know how lucky we are to get somewhere unless we look back on the road traveled.
We truly are serendipitous because we love one another quite deliberately. We love on purpose. That, my dear, is “the secret.”
As we walk into year eight, I keep my fingers crossed anyway. A wee bit of extra fortune couldn’t hurt.
Miller, Korin. “Is the 7-Year Itch a Real Thing? Love Experts Weigh In.” Women’s Health, Oct. 2, 2015, https://www.womenshealthmag.com/relationships/a19914723/7-year-itch/. Accessed May 16, 2018.
Nagy, Jennifer. “The Seven-Year Itch: Fact or Fiction?” The Huffington Post, Jan. 28, 2013, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jennifer-nagy/the-sevenyear-itch-fact-o_b_2443171.html. Accessed May 16, 2018.