Preventing the '7-year Itch:' simple steps couples can take

The "7-year itch" represents the length of time it takes for some couples to experience a lack of desire and interest in their marriage. Although not exclusive to marriage, the 7-year itch is most often discussed with respect to married couples.

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Largely a product of growing apart, couples stop putting effort into their relationship as they prioritize kids, work, or hobbies over each other. To preserve a strong and vibrant marriage, couples must love their relationship more than themselves, but this itch leads them to become more focused on their individual needs rather than serving each other. Over time, they begin to believe they deserve better or more from a mate. 

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As couples become more distant, communication breaks down, and they begin to feel like strangers. Therefore, preventing the 7-year itch requires greater communication. I have several suggestions to help you reconnect and notice your partner again.  

  1. Address the problem and commit to prioritizing one another. Is the household under financial stress? Have you recently had a new baby or a sick child? Does your partner not stick up for you with the in-laws? Discuss the issues underlying your lack of desire and interest in marriage and commit to re-prioritizing each other. Start a bucket list of activities or destinations you’d like to explore together and cross one off each year.
  2. Show appreciation and gratitude every day. Don’t allow your partner to feel used by taking them for granted or treating them like an object. This can lead a partner to let themselves go and shy away from intimacy. Replace your regular date night with a planned surprise night and take turns surprising each other every week.
  3. Keep things exciting. The 7-year itch is often a cry for novelty. Plan to participate in a new adventure together once a month. Watch an unconventional movie, explore unfamiliar cities nearby, or head out on a safari – any unique activity that works for your budget and relationship.
  4. Focus on intimacy. Intimacy is important in any romantic relationship, but it’s especially crucial to make time for it in marriage. Physical intimacy acts as the glue for a healthy marriage while emotional intimacy serves as its cement. Share your fears and hopes with each other and think outside the box to increase physical affection with each other. Create your own romantic gestures, and linger in bed talking before the kids get up. This is your marriage - get physical with it.
  5. Support each other. Life is difficult, so it’s important to have a partner who shares your ups and downs. Someone who lifts you emotionally when you’re feeling defeated and celebrates with you when you are on top of the world is an incredible perk in marriage. Begin a "no complain challenge" and replace criticism with humor. Laugh at yourself or the situation but avoid blaming each other.


The 7-year itch also reminds us that, like all relationships, marriage requires nurturing and attention. You must be willing to negotiate and grow to remain invested. Keeping the spark alive prevents you from falling into the boredom trap. The happiest married couples offer simple advice: Place the needs of the relationship ahead of your own.