Lots of people talk about the seven year itch. I don’t know if it’s a real thing. What I do know is that our seventh year of marriage was a turning point for H and me. By that time, we had two young children, a mortgage, car payments, jobs, and steadily decreasing supplies of emotional and physical energy. We were fortunate if we made it through the day without completely missing each other. It wasn’t at all how we’d imagined married life.
I remember wondering if this was as good it gets. I’d watch silly television shows, or listen to Christian talk radio and will my husband to change – to be more romantic, or more stylish, or taller, or better at Scrabble. He’d come home from work and my shoulders would sag, looking at him as just another mouth to feed or another person whose mess I’d have to clean up.
Clearly, the thrill was gone.
I wondered if I’d made a mistake. If I married the wrong man. I dreamed of other men I’d known and I imagined perfect marriages with them where I lived in a perfect house and drove a perfect car and ate perfect food and raised perfect children. Surely I had missed the boat, I’d tell myself as I made my real bed in the morning, or scrubbed toothpaste from the tiny sink in my imperfect bathroom. I convinced myself that I had settled when I chose to marry H. Surely I could do better.
All of that wandering off in other directions in my mind made me irritable and distant and distracted. Honestly, I was pretty unattractive.
When H talks about our seventh year of marriage, he says, “I kept wondering, ‘When is the more coming?'” He’d talked with men who’d been married for decades and these men would tell H, “Yep. I love my wife more today than I did when we first met.” H would leave those conversations scratching his head and wondering if there would ever be “more” for us.
Yesterday in church, H shared with our congregation the story of our seventh year of marriage. It was a great example. Even now, with nearly twenty-six years of marriage under our belt, memories of that seventh year of marriage make me smart with embarrassment and I am always shocked when I realize how easy it was to lose my love for H.
The bible says the same thing can happen with my love for God. If I’m not careful, I can convince myself that I can do better. That choosing God is a cop-out. That letting Him take the lead is settling, and that I deserve more. I want to read that part of the bible and shake my finger at the Church of Ephesus, but I’m in the same sinking ship with them, trying to bail myself out with a teaspoon.
When H and I had been married seven years, we took a good look at our marriage and called a marriage counselor. It saved us, and we needed saving. Yesterday in church, I think we all took a good look at our relationship with God and found out we could use a little help. It was one of those moments that can’t be explained with words, because God is so beyond my little words.