Is There Really a 7-Year Itch?

4 practical things you can do to protect your marriage

My husband and I are leading a Bible study with mostly newlywed couples. After a few weeks, we noticed how often we referred to the seven-year-something . . . itch? pit? slump? The other couples in the group started nervously teasing about what terrible blockade may lay in their marriage journey.

Is the seven-year-itch a real thing? If so, are you doomed to bump into it? And why does it happen in the seventh year?

While the seven-year-itch isn’t predictable enough to set your calendar by, some version of it seems to exist in most marriages. I can’t be sure that it was year seven when we hit ours, but it was pretty close. In fact, for a few months, I thought I would never again be qualified to teach on marriage again. My husband and I may not have been itching, but we also weren’t “clicking.”

Some couples say that their romance died in year four or that they couldn’t stand each other by year nine. But almost every marriage experiences a wall in intimacy that seems to make them rethink their vows.

Where Does the Itch Come From?

Chronologically, the seventh year typically represents the presence of young children in the home. Around this time of family life, demands are high and resources are limited. The couple is trying to navigate who takes care of a sick kid, how to make ends meet on a tight budget, and how to succeed at work when your spouse and kids need you at home. Both husband and wife feel exhausted, overworked, and underappreciated. Whether they say it out loud or not, they both wonder, “What about my life? What happened to my dreams? I feel like I woke up in someone else’s life.”

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Juli Slattery

Juli Slattery is a TCW regular contributor and blogger. A widely known clinical psychologist, author, speaker, and broadcast media professional, she co-founded Authentic Intimacy and is the co-author of Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?

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May 25

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