Area Woman Ponders Love

From watching television, or hearing other couples who have been married for a long time, it seems that marriage is supposed to be [or, at the very least, usually turns out to be] devoid of love and sex.  And I’m not saying every married couple is like this, but you hear things like “the old ball and chain” or people talking about loss of freedom enough times, or spouses cheating on each other and start to think it’s the norm.

And I realize I’m hardly an expert on marriage–having only been married for two months now.  So maybe someone else out there can explain things to me.  Which is more prevalent: unhappily married couples or happily married couples?

Part of me is a little worried.  Because right now I really love my husband.  I don’t consider him a burden, and I certainly would never be unfaithful to him.  He’s my best friend.  We spend almost all of our free time together and still I miss him when I’m at work.  Will I suddenly wake up one day to find all of this changed?  Or is it a slow progression until you finally reach a point where you are married to someone you despise?  How does that happen?

I have also heard of this thing called a “honeymoon phase”.  We talk about it like we all know what it is, but no one really seems to know.  I even Googled it.   According to what I’ve read, the “honeymoon phase” lasts either: two months, four months, six months, 1 year, 2 years, or forever.  Clearly these people know what they are talking about.

Also there is that itchy Year Seven.  What’s that all about?  Warren and Amber, I am specifically looking at you.  Was your Year Seven particularly itchy?  Perhaps on the dawn of your seventh anniversary you and your spouses woke up questioning everything about your relationship.  I assume that this feeling then evaporated once you hit year eight, likening it to an Eighth Year Baking Soda Bath.

Or perhaps people are full of crap and making poor life choices and then blaming those choices on their spouses or soothing psychobabble catch-phrases (hello, mid-life crisis)?

Do you know?

7 thoughts on “Area Woman Ponders Love

  1. I can hardly be considered an expert at marriage- I've been living with Kevin for 5 years, then married him. We're just past our one year wedding anniversary and this Easter, we will have been together for a full six years.

    In my personal (non-official) opinion, I think there are several factors to issues of marital unhappiness, the Honeymoon Phase, and the Seven Year Itch.

    First, I think some people get married too young and without a clear understand of their partner and what marriage intails. After having gone to Grace College (and this isn't bashing our college specifically) I saw a LOT of young people getting married or getting engaged early. Why? Pressure, hormones, immaturity, and a share "false-front" that everyone seemed to give around those we wished to impress. After keeping up on Facebook with these same people, I saw sadly so many that ended up in divorce. In an atmosphere where we were hardly even allowed in the other genders' dorm rooms and where dating unchapperoned was a big no-no, how were they suppose to get to know one another? I think this issuse is a lot more wide spread than a conservative college, but you get the idea.

    When it comes to the Honeymoon phase, I was told that it was a time where the couple just CANNOT get enough of the other, once they FIRST move in together. I can clearly say that there was a intoxicating novelty to living with Kevin the first, oh, 6 months of it. Then, well, the habits and oddities and such that he had kept inside (and vice versa) came out. Certain things that other people find annoying or over-controling or just downright confusing surface and no one wants to change a long-standing habit, especially if it's a 'family-based' habit.

    For example: Kevin had always felt it just fine to fall asleep in the living room at night if he so chose. His previous gf didn't care, his parents hadn't cared when he was a kid. He wouldn't budge. I, however, being a twin, did not like sleeping alone. I hated it. Plus, it reminded me of my parents never sleeping together, but that was because they had been generally unhappy and I didn't want to be like that. Weren't we dating? Hadn't he just moved in? Why wasn't he jumping at the chance to snuggle with me at night, to have me fall asleep in his arms? Well, lets just say this issue did not get resolved for another 3 years!!! It almost split us up. However, we learned to compromise and we're stronger for it.

    When it comes to the Seven Year Itch, all I have heard is that, at some point, couples get bored with one another. We become predictable. I know what Kevin's going to say before he says it. I know all of his stories by heart. I know all the positions were use in bed. And again, vice versa. Some people might start feeling trapped, or perhaps panicky that this is all they have. It doesn't happen to everyone. One spouse might be completely oblivious and happy with the vanilla sex-life and predictable nature of life. The other might be having secret panic attacks and might see life as a long boring road leading to death with nothing to spice it up along the way. Kevin and I have talked about this issue and he and I are both willing to do what's necessary to make our love-lives spicy and new. Not everyone is willing to talk that openly with their spouse about issues like threesomes/swinging, bar-hopping or concert-going to keep the "dating atmosphere" alive, or even things as simple as scheduled vacations away from the children.

    In any case, this is just my take. I've been living with him as his wife (unofficially and officially) for almost 6 years. There were times we were bored, angry, or confused, but we communicate and we're more committed than ever to stick together, thick or thin, because, as you said about your husband, you're friends. We made vows and promises and we don't intend to break them. But then again, I suppose, time will tell. I can't predict the future. 🙂

    • @Alison, Awesome response, thanks! I think you hit one of the big issues–communication. It doesn't seem like couples are communicating anymore. I'm not sure why that is. It's really important. Also compromise. Sometimes I have a hard time with that. I'm used to it being just me, so folding Mr. W sometimes has to be a conscious choice I make.

      • Yeah, I'm sure there are other reasons, but communication is huge. It's what keeps families, roommates, and friends together, not just marriages. I'm sure you'll be fine! When you love someone enough, compromise for each partner will never be a hardship.

        @Teri,

  2. Well, here's my two cents.

    Love – and I'm speaking about that romantic feeling of "in-loveness" is a feeling that waxes and wanes. Marriage is a bit of a roller coaster or like a long hike. There are hills and valleys. This is something you probably know already, since you and Mr. W have been together for awhile.

    But LOVE – that thing that you got married for, that resolution to be with him forever, no matter what – that's what gets you through the valleys and it's a choice, an active decision. Knowing and reminding yourself that there will be a high, or even a higher plateau, makes it work. Sometimes it's easy to stagnate, but sticking through it and working around the times when you're sad, or mad or just plain bored… those times and that work make the great times all the more awesome.

    And then there are the things, the outside things that go wrong – when we got married the first year was REALLY hard. Miscarriages, sickness, that whole Dr. Evil thing (actually, that was the first two years)… those things happen and they can tear you apart. It's easiest to let them. It took a lot of work and communication to get us through those times. When Tim lost his job and was unemployed for 5 months, that was really hard too. But we came out stronger on the other side.

    We didn't experience much of a "7 year itch". I think that does happen to some couples, but I'm not sure why it's a 7 year thing.

    Lately we're on a high, and it's glorious. It reminds us of being newlyweds
    all over again, but better because we know each other better. It's a gift.

    I guess what I'm mainly saying is this:

    Marriage is HARD. It's a lot of work. It's also amazing and rewarding. I think that the only way to make it work is to be in it forever. Either you're all in or you're out – sticking together no matter what, doing whatever it takes to make it work, saying that divorce is NOT an option.* If it's bad, you work it out. Get books, get counseling, but do it together. You have to have that mindset, or it won't last.

    And sex. Have a lot of sex, schedule time for it if you're both busy. Make sure you're both happy with you're sex life, because I don't think marriages work without plenty of it. Well, at least that has been my experience and the experience of many of my friends.

    So there's my long two cents.

    *The exceptions to this would be adultery/abuse, of course, but hopefully those never come up.

    • @Amber, Awesome thoughts here; I'm glad you responded! And you're right on the money about it being easier to stagnate, and needing to choose to put the effort in to make it work. There have been times when Mr. W and I are arguing and I can clearly see how much easier it would to give up (if the argument has gone on for some time, I even kind of want to). But I can also see where that path would take me, and it's no where that I want to be.

      I've never been great at opening up and talking about my emotions or my thoughts and fears. That's probably been the biggest challenge for me, just communicating everything that needs to be communicated.

What do you think?