The seven year itch is real. At least, it was for Shauna and I. But the word “itch” is an understatement. It implies mere restlessness, not war.
Don’t get me wrong; that’s not how our fairy tale started. I proposed to Shauna at sunset atop a romantic tower, and she said yes—girlish squeals, sparkling diamond, fluttering eyelids and all. Our engagement photo was classic, painted with impossibly grand smiles and twinkling eyes aplenty. Five months later I married my best friend, and she, hers. Did I mention that our wedding day was magical, and our honeymoon, more so? So, so good.
Yeah. But a year or two later, typical newlywed spats had long since pricked the honeymoon balloon, reducing it to the gangly ribbons we could then use to stave the bleeding. Subtle tensions began to build. Over the next few years those tensions grew roots, spreading their greedy fingers to leach fresh soil as time passed. Incessant nagging and ruthless score-keeping were just the tip of the attitudinal iceberg. It wasn’t pretty.
It was her fault, you know. Or that’s what I thought at the time (hint: it wasn’t). I grew up in a “Leave It To Beaver” family, you understand, and brought my impressive pedigree of relational skills to bear on our marital bliss-less-ness. Oddly enough, that didn’t work. At all.
Fast forward another few years. We were mired squarely in the sickening muck of year seven. One day I was sitting in the car, driving who knows where with an angry woman at the wheel (her). Shauna was infuriating me, sending me farther beyond the outer rings of torturous stupidity than any human has ventured since Cain killed Abel. Or at least, that’s how it felt. I felt powerless (partly, I’ll admit, because she was driving. Oooooh!) I clenched my fists and attempted to speak. Nothing more than vacant thought bubbles filled the front seat between us.
Rage surged through me, until I spat out the words any sane person would upchuck in my position:
“I’m going to jump out of this car.”
I mean, I really wanted to. The thought of unlatching the door and leaping my way to a road-rashed, body-casted utopia without Shauna sounded like my only option at that point. Really. I think maybe the only thing that stopped me was her tender rebuttal:
“Be my guest.”
Be my… what? Hey! If she wanted me to, then forget it. I wasn’t going to give her the satisfaction.
So that’s it. I’ve now shared the soaring high point of my marriage story with you. Now you know. But don’t get the wrong idea. I loved Shauna, I really did. The question is, what did love mean to me back then?
Bottom line, it meant duty. It meant commitment, doing husbandly things in the name of Christ—because, darn it, that’s what God would want me to do.
It wasn’t enough.
Coming next: Mirrors don’t lie.
I love it Brad. I’ve so been in the “be my guest” role. 😉
i can’t wait to hear what comes next.
Thanks Sarah. That’s either encouraging or scary. 😉
Oh we’ve been there, precisely at year seven too. I wonder why this happens!?
But I also sense a corner will be turned on your story.
Yeah, I’m hoping folks will read this and see a path out of the mud. Thanks, Mary.
Thank for sharing. Love hear people’s stories and how God works through it all.
I hit my “7 year itch” in year 6. It stemmed from me not understanding who I was, who I had become, who I wanted to be and who God wanted me to be. It didn’t have anything to do with my husband, but he played a big role in how I came out of it. I love my husband so much and am blessed to be his wife. I only hope that I can be as strong for him if/when he goes through something similar. With God, all things are possible.
Thanks for sharing Brad, I look forward to the next post.
I’ve there too. Is there a way to get past that anger? Or is it down hill from there. I can’t wait to read more.
Thanks for sharing your story – I’ll enjoy reading the rest as it unfolds. (Just like the gawkers at a highway wreck, we can’t get enough of the misery of others, can we?) But, I’m hoping that your story will turn out like mine did – despite some rocky years – 7 & 13, actually – we’re happily celebrating number 20 this May…
Congratulations, Artemis, on the BIG 20! Wonderful.
it’s weird seeing it on paper but so true…I did offer him an “out” ha!ha! I am so glad that that was so long ago…seems like a lifetime…thank God:)
thank you for sharing this story, it warms my heart to hear that Shauna is your treasure, she has been and still is a treasure in my heart and I see this in her eyes every time I see her. Thank you again. Mom Warkentin
Mom, thank you so much for posting a response. You and dad gave me the most incredible gift when you walked your daughter down the isle to me. It is an honour to be your son.