Saturday, April 27, 2013

5 Tips On Love and Marriage To Help With The ‘7 Year Itch’

If you are in a relationship, this is something worth reading for :)
“Men always want to be a woman’s first love. Women have a more subtle instinct: What they like is to be a man’s last romance.” Oscar Wilde
I would like to share these thoughts on love and marriage that came out of a discussion with my girlfriends one night over a few glasses of wine. I was philosophizing about my husband and I arriving at our first ‘7 year itch’ milestone. In my previous long term relationship that started in high school and lasted all the way through college (amazingly) it was very nearly dead on the 7 year mark that the itch was scratched and I can tell you being in love is wonderful, but by goodness love hurts when it suddenly becomes unrequited.
What Is The ‘7-year Itch’ The ‘itch’ refers to a metaphorical struggle between resisting temptation and thereby remaining faithful or giving into the temptation of an extra-marital affair.
Marilyn personified The phrase ‘7 Year Itch’ has been around a long time in the US but became entrenched in our vernacular in 1955 when Marilyn Monroe appeared in a film by the same name. The iconic image of Marilyn standing over a grate in a white dress blowing up past her knees while the star did her best to hold it down (without moving off the grate) symbolizes the essence of the ‘7 year itch’ – a struggle between pleasure and pain!
This is a summary of our thoughts on love:
1. Prioritize the relationship:
Hollywood movies generate misconceptions about relationships. Recognize and release your misconceptions about love, romance and marriage from the unrealistic Hollywood stereotype – where boy meets girl and they live happily ever after.
Hollywood does not reflect the real world where we live. Individuals do get old, wrinkly, fat and/or boring and we must deal with real-life issues like money worries, health scares, annoying in-laws, horrific traffic jams, job loss and other stressful situations.
In our real world it is important to make time for each other and prioritize the relationship without going overboard. Balance is the key – couples should neither be joined at the hip or ships in the night. It is important for couples to pursue individual interests and share common interests (other than the house and children) because that creates external friendships, an interesting and stimulating dynamic for you and models best practice for your children.
2. Awareness:
It is vital to be aware of 3 things: Self, partner and relationship. Firstly, be self-aware of all of the characteristics and traits that make you who you are and be honest! What are some of the things that people typically compliment or criticize you on?
Secondly, do the same for your partner – write down a list if you like. Thirdly, reflect on what attracted you to each other in the beginning. Once again write it down because inevitably the very thing that brings you together could potentially drive a wedge between you as well. It may be that you were attracted to your partner because he was so extroverted and generous -but now that you have two children, a mortgage and work full-time you can’t stand the fact that he wants to entertain his friends every weekend.
Awareness may just save you or your partner straying or moving on after 7 years.
3. Respect and Understanding:
It is vital to respect your partner, the marriage and the institution of marriage. All relationships are hard work but anything that is worthwhile does require effort and sacrifice. My girlfriends emphasized accepting that the best relationships are built upon some level of compromise.
My married friends have all, at some point in their marriage, read the book (“Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus”) by the relationship counselor, John Gray. What I took away from this interesting discussion was that it is important to remember that there are fundamental biological differences between men and women that affect our outlook on everything from romance and intimacy to child rearing and careers.
I highly recommend you read up on the differences between the sexes – the revelations may explain a lot about the ‘7 year itch’. Oscar Wilde’s quote above sums it up nicely.
4. Communication:
Talking and actively listening to each other is the key to long-term marriage survival. Share humor, feelings, needs, concerns, highs and lows and be prepared to listen to your partner. Women have quite a reputation for providing too much detail whilst ‘talking’ and offering unsolicited advice to men.
Women on the other hand, consider men to lack emotional intelligence (such as empathy and sensitivity) and communication skills. Our different biological roles have created barriers to good communication. Is it any wonder we have trouble understanding each other?
My girlfriends swear that planning is a great strategy for keeping the marriage on track. They advised me to develop short-term and long-term goals that reflect our combined interests and aspirations. They recommended that I seek out a relationship counselor if I ever feel that the relationship has become dysfunctional. I can imagine that this would be a good investment of time and money.
Last but not least, my girlfriends warned me that intimacy is the litmus test of how healthy my marriage is. Intimacy provides warmth, security, and of course, sexual intimacy. So, if couples are aware, respectful, communicating and prioritizing the relationship, intimacy will be a natural and inevitable by-product.
Affection is transmitted through consideration, tactile contact, verbal and non-verbal gestures. Intimacy is often dependent on women feeling emotionally secure – so the more that the other factors are taken care of the more likely intimacy will happen. I am so glad that my friends shared their combined thoughts on love and marriage with me. I don’t want anything to derail the most significant relationship in my life. Maybe, I’ll report back in a year’s time when I’m out the other side of the ‘7 year itch’ cycle!
Author Bio
Mary sees that an understanding and an awareness of the human condition is key to life. With all the study she has now done, she has found much solace in the work published on the World Transformation Movement website by biologist Jeremy Griffith who has published an essay titled What Is Love? These rational ideas have allowed her to bring all her research and theories together.
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