The seven year itch?

marilyn monroeThe point in your marriage where you feel enough is enough. You suddenly have ‘irreconcilable differences’.

The term became famous after this TCM movie starring Marilyn Monroe. I haven’t watched it yet, but perhaps I should. Something about a faithful man suddenly being tempted to stray. I think it was the dress.

There’s an itch at four years too. In Hollywood it comes at 11 months mostly, or at 24 hours in Vegas, when the booze wears off.

Oyunga Pala once said “How can you claim to love one person for life, when you could love millions of other people if you met them?” He was arguing against the soul-mate theory. I hate to agree with him, but I see his point.

Nobody really understands what love is. We try to define it, to prove it, but we don’t really know it. We all know when we’re in love, but let’s face it, it’s way too easy to fall in love, and it feels great. Some people are addicted to it. And you can fall in love with anyone if you just look at them long enough. Pay enough attention to their good points and anyone becomes attractive. Just ask Shrek!

There are millions of potential lovers out there, people who will wind you the right way, people you have everything in common with, people you click with. And you can meet them in the strangest places – and when you least expect it, or need it. Love has the strangest timing.

But it’s just as easy to fall out of love. That’s why falling in a love and staying in love are two different things. Falling in love is infatuation – heart pounding, palms sweating, body parts dancing, when you smile each time you hear their name.

Staying in love is the solid, mature, boring bit of it. The one that holds your hand when you’re sick and cleans up after you at 80 without being paid.

The falling bit is pure chemistry, just hormones and chemicals. That’s why it’s called ‘falling’. You have no control over it. A clever biologist could isolate the hormones, mix them in a test-tube and fake love. So yes, love potions do work – if you believe witchdoctors are really bio-chemists.

But the chemicals fade, and the love dies. You have to choose to stay with a person you no longer ‘love’. You have to consciously find other non-chemical reasons to maintain your attachment, and your affection.

The love for your children or siblings isn’t chemical. It comes from bonding, a sense of belonging. And it’s usually eternal. So why should your spouse be any different? You learn to love your family for life, you can decide and learn to love your partner for life too.

You can fall in love with lots of people. Everyone you meet (and a lot of people you don’t meet) is a potential love-connection. You don’t choose to fall in love, but you decide what to do about it. You can be tempted to cheat, to be incestuous  – but you don’t have to do it. That’s a choice, a conscious decision. No excuses.

Fidelity is a choice, not a feeling, and marriage is for life. Even God only gives one parachute – adultery. So the next time you think “I don’t love you anymore,” call your mum, your brother, your sister, your granddad, your favourite cousin and focus on that smile they give you. Think hard before you break somebody’s heart.

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Crystal Ading' is a professional author, editor, rock lover and mother. Her work is available through

  • Mchawanga

    So true, n kinda justifies poligamy which we threw out of the window without evn thinking. I bet so many marriages wdnt break if the intense wooing(lobbying) continued after marriage. n thats where the compe from another mama would help. The man wud have to prove he loves his multiple wives n the women have to keep impressing the man. Win-Win situation if u ask me.

  • Jenny

    Mcha i do not support polygamy, but if this is what will save the divine institution called marriage, maybe we should go back to the drawing board.

  • kainvestor

    “Fidelity is a choice, not a feeling, and marriage is for life.” – Glad to read this…how come no one told me this before? :-)

  • Lawrence

    Crystal, if you ever decide to collect signatures in favor of Polygamy, look me up. Great, sincere article. And that’s rare.

  • Crystal

    Just wondering when [and how] polygamy snuck into this discussion … **cheeky grin** I’m for one-woman-one-man myself :-)

  • Crystal

    Oh I’m not big on polygamy. I don’t share well…

  • Crystal

    They never tell you the good stuff :D just the bad.

  • Crystal

    I don’t think it would work now. In the old days we accepted polygamy because it was all there was. Today, we have too many options to easily settle for that.

  • Crystal

    Maybe for the guys. No so much for the women. But if you’re willing to stretch that grace to polyandry …

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