After honeymoon months, happiness decreases and dissatisfaction grows. At around seven years of marriage, the unhappiness grows to such a point that the couples decide to separate – or to live adjusting the partner.
The studies by institutions like National Center for Health Statistics (USA) show divorces are low among couples still in their honeymoon months. However, as time passes, there will be problems in the relationship. And, these problems, differences and tensions show a gradual increase. At around seventh year of marriage, tensions reach a high point.
At this point, couples have two options – Divorce or Adjustment. They will either divorce or adapt to their partner. Most divorces happens close to seven years of marriage and hence the term 'The 7-Year Itch'.
Couples passing this stage don't necessarily be leading happy lives. They just learn to adapt and adjust to their partner.
Divorces in the state definitely are on the rise. During 2005-06, there were 8,456 cases of divorce. In 2009-10, it became 11,600. About 8% of divorces in India happens in Kerala. In Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram tops the list.
More interestingly, the couples have lived only less than five years together. An interesting twist to the 7-year itch. Here, in Kerala, it is actually a five-year itch. They separate in or before fifth year of their marriage.
Happiness in Marriage After Seven Years
Ego clash, low-tolerance, infidelity, impotency, drinking, debt, etc are the most important reasons for separation. Comparing to other Indian states, physical abuse of women is low in Kerala.
How to Lead a Happy Married Life for Years
If you look at the important reasons for divorce – like ego clash, intolerance, infidelity, you can see they are things you can control. Let's learn how.
1. Add Diversity to Your Life
This is one important point. As years pass, there will be patterns in relationships. Break free of this patterns. And bring in diversity.
If non-sexual kissing and touches have decreased over the years, increase it. Hold hands while in the street and while watching a sunset.
If you eat from home every day, break the pattern. Eat out from a great restaurant in the city.
If you talk to your spouse in a tone that makes him/her feel bad, stop it. Talk as if you are wooing your partner once again.
If you do this, you will start better managing ego and intolerance.
If you look for people outside your relationship for comfort and emotional support, there is something wrong. Stop doing that and make your partner your best friend – once again.
2. Choose Happiness Your Priority, Not Winning an Argument
It is easy to be always right. But it is not so easy to be happy. Nagging your partner, and fighting over things you can forego kill the happiness in the marriage. You don't have to fight. You don't have to belittle your loved one. You don't have to be always right.
Just let go of things that stop happiness in your life. Let go of them.
Practice healthy communication. Respect each others' emotions and expectations. During differences in opinions, fight fair. There will be fights and arguments in any long-term relationship. Keep the communication lines open to make the journey last long.
4. Steal Time for Each Other
Even if it is a very busy day, spend some time with your partner – talking, touching, and caressing. Do it every day and it is going to work wonders.
If the intimacy down, talk about it. Ask your partner how he/she feels about your relationship at present. Communicate your expectations clearly. Talk about your feelings openly and without fear. Do this as often as needed – may be once every three-four months. This will help you manage every single problem that will arise in your relationship.
5. Keep Individual Identity
It is important both of you have an individual identity. It is not possible for your partner to meet all your needs and wants. Have your own hobby. Spend time for your own. And encourage your partner to do the same. This way, both of you have fulfilling individual lives. This can only help your relationship go stronger.
It is easy to let the relationship rot and break. It takes time and effort to keep it going strong. Take stock of your relationship once in a while.
Is this the relationship I want? How can I make life better for me and my partner? What are my partner's expectations? Have I communicated by expectations clearly?
If you ask these questions often, you don't have to worry about the seven-year itch, or as in Kerala, the five-year itch. And, ask these questions even if you have been married for ten, fifteen or more years. We know what you want is healthy, happy, married life that goes strong.
Our article published in Arogyapadmam Magazine - December 2018
Our Article published in Our KIDS Magazine-October 2018