Surviving the Seven Year Itch

Seems it doesn’t matter if it’s been two, four, or seven years; more studies are finding that whatever year mile marker you’re in can place their toll on a marriage.

Whatever recent statistic you choose to accept couples tend to head for divorce after certain periods of their married life.  Whether it’s after the two year mark, the four or five year mark, or that infamous 7-year mark – more than double the number are divorced after they meet their relationship peak for whatever their reasons.  This period of time is comically referred to as the “seven-year itch.”  There are Four Phases couples go through in relationships.  There is the Honeymoon Stage, the Conflict Stage, the Stability Stage and the Commitment/Co-Creation Stage.

1.  The Honeymoon Stage is where you feel the most in love.  For most couples, the beginning of a relationship is the easiest.  Some say it’s like a drug addiction.  This is where you feel the most chemistry. You seem to be on the same page about most issues. Getting along is almost effortless. Some couples describe this as a merging of two people.  The Honeymoon phase typically last about eighteen months to 2 years.  Part of the thrill of falling in love is due to the fact that you see only the best in your partner.

2.  The Conflict Stage – As time goes on, each partner realizes that everything really isn’t perfect. This is the Conflict Stage where power struggles emerge.  It is typically around the 3rd or 4th year as each look at their differences and respond to them where they either predict a happy relationship or continuing struggles. This is the stage where most couples break up or survive.

This is where Couples Counseling comes in.  Marital discord peaks around the 4th year and then starts to taper off.  This period of time may be a combination of dwindling sexual chemistry and adjusting to each other’s idiosyncrasies.  The early years of marriage are when you replace the illusions with reality.  The “good behavior” put on at the beginning of the relationship is now normalized by being “just you” which could include being messy, displaying short temper, and not being as romantic as before.

3.  The Stability Stage is when conflict resolution and coping skills are learned and both have clear boundaries about each other.  The relationship is more balanced and both partner’s are usually getting their needs met and are fairly happy.

4.  The Commitment Stage is where the couple chooses each other consciously deciding they want a future together and whether have children by co-creating or blending families from previous relationships and making a stronger commitment for longevity in their union.

So the Seven Year Itch can be easily referred to as the “However Long You’ve Been Married Itch,” as it depends on where in the cycle your relationship falls for problems to occur.  It’s important to have conflict resolution skills and be able to dialogue about an issue and have the effective communication skills to discuss and move forward.  In Marriage Counseling you acquire the necessary tools to listen to each other’s concerns and quickly identify the problems.  Help is given to each partner to understand their mate’s concerns and communicate his/her own.  Couples Counseling is where you go when you’ve tried to make it better by yourself and it isn’t getting better.


If you believe you are in the Conflict Stage of your relationship and need some guidance to get back to the Stability Stage please give me a call at (858) 735-1139 and we can point you back in the right direction to a more fulfilling and happier twosome.

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