It’s rare that a Houston marriage counseling client will come in for relationship help and tell me that they are suffering from the “7-year itch.” After all, that’s just an old wives’ tale that happened to become a Marilyn Monroe movie. There’s nothing behind it, is there?

As it turns out, there just might be. Those who study relationship trends report that there are several common times when a large number of people say that they become less satisfied with their relationship. The first is usually about four years after getting married; the second comes at the eight-year mark.

And, in fact, an inordinately high percent of my clients are people who have been married for eight to 12 years – right after they would have gone through that second dip in satisfaction colorfully termed the “7-year itch.”

Houston Marriage Counseling: What Causes the 7-Year Itch?

I wish I could tell you there’s a simple answer, but the things that make us have that “itch” at seven years are the same things that bother us at other times. We neglect our relationship because it already feels solid. We get distracted by work, friends, and kids. We let simple little frustrations with each other turn into big relationship problems.

What it boils down to is the simple fact that we get in a rut. Usually nothing is specifically bad, but it’s not particularly good, either. It feels like the excitement, romance, and passion are gone, and we’re not quite sure how to get them back. We start to wonder if we’re really in love anymore and if relationships are supposed to be this hard.

Fight the 7-Year Itch in Houston Marriage Counseling

The vast majority of people don’t act on their “itch,” but many do something just as bad – they bury it. Just like any other problem you’re having with your spouse, ignoring it won’t make it go away – it will cause it to fester until something truly bad happens.

What should you do? Talk with your partner about what’s bothering you in your relationship. Work to have more positive interactions with each other (dates, sexy messages, gifts, kissing, touching, talking) and eliminate negative ones. Carve out time – even if it’s just a few minutes a day. Many people discover that the problem wasn’t with their partner, but due to the fact that they weren’t doing anything that people in relationships do.

And if you still find that you’re struggling and need relationship help, seek it out. Talk to a therapist in Houston marriage counseling and make it a priority to work on your partnership.