So yesterday was our eight year wedding anniversary. We survived the “seven year itch”. This is a term used by psychologists and portrayed in the 1955 romantic comedy, “The Seven Year Itch”, featuring Marilyn Monroe and Richard Sherman. The movie contains one of the most iconic images of the 20th century – Monroe standing on a subway grate as her white dress is blown by a passing train. The phrase, refers to a declining interest in a monogamous relationship after seven years of marriage.
As I think back over the past eight years, I believe it is choices that have led us to where we are today. My marriage is by no means perfect (especially whilst Dylan is studying his MBA aka “the divorce coarse”) but one thing I do know is that being in love with my man is a daily decision. Perhaps you are a newly wed, or you are going onto seven years of marriage, maybe you are divorced or aren’t yet married at all? Wherever you find yourself on your journey toward love, my hope is that these words might inspire you to keep going, to hold on, to choose love, to choose life…together.
1. My mind- a war zone of fantasy
The power of the mind is immeasurable. It’s like a war zone. Unless you are armed and ready for the thoughts that come to ambush you, you will more than likely be defeated. The result is dwindling pleasure and mutual fulfilment within marriage or worst case scenario, divorce .
Many of us have had past romances. Relationships with people whether long term or short, have a lasting impact on us whether we like it or not. We cannot help but carry pieces of our past into the future- call it what you will but this is “baggage”. My constant challenge to myself is to choose life in the area of my thoughts, to choose to let go of the past especially in those moments when marriage is tough and “the love flame” is more a soldering wick than a burning flame. When “thoughts of doubt”, or “wondering thoughts” regarding past relationships or even people that showed an interest come to plague- take these thoughts captive and destroy them immediately.
I choose to stare decieving thoughts in the face and then smash them down! They must GO because if I indulge them I will go on a destructive journey toward brokenness in my marriage.
I believe that an adulterous affair started with a mere thought that became a fantasy, that then progressed into an “itch” and then an action. The result: utter brokenness.
2. “Love is not a feeling it’s an act of your will, it’s devotion not emotion”- MIC (a popular Christian rap band in the 90’s)
Love is a choice. I believe that the term “soul mate” is a false reality. There is not only one person one can fall in love with. We choose love. Love is a verb, it’s patient, its kind, love chooses not to be envious, it chooses not to boast, love chooses not to be proud or rude or to become easily angered. Love does not enjoy lies but searches for truth and meaning, for purpose. Love always trusts, always hopes, it chooses to persevere against all odds. Love chooses not to fail but to win (my version of 1 Corinthians 13). Yes, of coarse we fail to match up to these love qualities on a regular basis but when we slip up, love chooses to fail forward, to dust oneself off and try again.
3. Be grateful- it’s all about perspective.
I think we often get caught up with ourselves. Entangled in self pity and constrained by habits of comparing ourselves with others. My very wise sister in law once said these words, “COMPARE AND DIE”. This is a statement I have always held onto. Comparisons kill us on the inside. I know that I battle to be truly grateful for what I have when I compare my possessions and my husbands qualities and actions with the possessions and husband’s of others.
We are all filled with flaws and so I believe that in marriage we need to choose not to look at eachothers others faults but to rather focus on the good.
“All beautiful you are my darling, there is no flaw in you” needs to be the anthem of our hearts- even though our partner farts in bed sometimes and in seasons of stress may fail to pay us the attention we so long for. It’s all about choice.
4. Love and Respect
The bible speaks about how wives are to respect their husbands and husbands are to love their wives. See it as a circle of “what goes around comes around”. If a wife affirms and respects her husband (even in moments when he is undeserving of it) he will automatically respond with love and she will then give more respect. Men and woman have been wired this way and believe me, I have tried this, it works well! When we as woman nag and complain, bicker and shout- the love tanks we so desperately long for our men to fill will remain empty.
5. Forgive and Forget
Growing up my mom would always say “un-forgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”. We have to choose to forgive ourselves and to forgive others. Sometimes we have every right to be bitter but “bitter waters defile many”. Streams of bitterness will flow from the depths of your heart and muddy the pools of the lives that are closest to you -i.e. your husband, your children and the lives that they will one day impact.
I hope that my thoughts will ring true to you and in some way or form help with you never succumb to any “itching”.
Here are a few pics from our wedding day eight years ago. It was a very happy day, a day filled with promise and purpose.