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The seven-year itch is a term defined as “the inclination to become unfaithful after seven years of marriage”. The term originally came from a 1955 movie called The Seven Year Itch with Marilyn Monroe. In the movie, the male actor is publishing a book that claims after seven years a man in more likely to cheat on his wife and want to leave the marriage. Though quite interesting, this is not the definition I am using when I refer to the seven-year itch.
The definition I am using is “the inclination for the marriage relationship to become unusually tense in the seventh year”. And since hitting the seven year marker I have indeed noticed my marriage relationship has become more tense and I have been wondering why reaching this milestone would cause this?
When my hubby and I got married things were indeed hard for the first year. It was a period of adjustment. We never lived together before marriage and never really lived alone, we were either living with the folks or in the sorority/fraternity house. So in the first year we were setting up house, learning to live together, figuring out how we wanted our family to function, and trying to assert our independence from our parents. Plus we were starting our careers or at least starting the first of many jobs we took right out of college. All of this combined created a very tense first year. Oh and we moved three months into our marriage which really added to the stress. Haha. I forgot about that.
But after that first year we found our groove. We were One as the bible says and we have had a fairly easy ride. Until this year. Now let me state my hubby and I have a great relationship. Nobody wants a divorce. In fact the D word is not allowed in our house. Nobody cheated. Nothing major has occurred. But we have hit some turbulence in our usually peaceful marriage ride.
So what has happened since we hit the seven-year mark that could have caused this tension? Well, we short sold our townhouse, moved, and became renters again. Our wonderful little man started the “terrific” three-year old phase of his life (and anyone with kids knows why “terrific” is in quotes). Our baby is now one year old which means he is learning how to hit, push, throw tantrums, etc, etc, etc. Lastly, hubby’s work situation has been up and down the past year or so with the waves of the economy.
But I don’t think this is just happening to us. I bet this is true for many couples who reach the seventh year of marriage. After being married this long I think a bunch of life decisions and family situations start colliding. We are older, our kids are growing up and entering new phases. Phases we haven’t learned how to parent yet and we are desperately trying to figure them out. Financial situations have changed. Goals and dreams have changed or need to be reevaluated.
How can the seventh year not be rough?
Realizing our situation and all the circumstances involved has helped hubby and I look at this time, though turbulent, as a season that will soon pass. I think as long as we look at our marriage as a journey and not a destination then we know with God’s help we can get through anything. That is true love. And true love prevails no matter how much itching there may be.
I recently received this comment from my son’s soon-to-be preschool teacher. Well, not just his preschool teacher but from a few of the volunteers as well. He was at his new preschool for their summer school program.
“Your son is very active.”
This statement was not given as an answer to a question from me like ” Oh excuse me, but do you think my son is active or not active?” Nope, this statement was given to me either without solicitation or in response to the general question of ” how did he do today?”
“Your son is very active.”
So….what does that mean? Does it mean “he did great today because he played all day and did all the activities we asked him to”? Does it mean “your son is so full of life and happiness”?
Nope, I don’t think that this is what was being implied. The tone was not a positive one. It sounded negative and tired…it sounded very tired.
“Your son is very active.”
Here’s what I think it means…I think it means that my son is full of natural energy and you can’t keep up with him. I think it means he is enthusiastic and full of passion and you have been at this job too long and no longer appreciate when a child has spunk. I think it means you wish my son was a wallflower that just sat quietly and didn’t make sound. I think it means you are trying to classify my son as being hyperactive, having ADD or ADHD when you have only know him for a week!
Have we forgotten that our son’s male ancestors were hunters. Men born to take on danger, find adventure, and to discovery new worlds. God made them to love outdoors, to be full of curiosity, and to be very active.
My son IS very active. But I see that as a good thing. That is how God made him – like his ancestors. He has a lot of energy, he is very social and outgoing, and he isn’t afraid to express his emotions. He is wonderful, loving, and passionate.
Now, I do think I am going to be keeping a very close eye on you Ms. Preschool Teacher and your helpers and how you treat my son. And maybe my comment to you will be:
“You and your school just aren’t active enough for my son.”
For me, grad school was one big Facebook warning label. Professors were constantly passing us articles about young professionals and college presidents alike who had suffered the consequences of an errant Facebook post. In some of these cases, I was appalled by a professional’s lack of judgment; in others, I thought the school was being ridiculous. Either way, the message was clear: watch what you post.
Some class sessions dissolved into heated debates about whether the actions taken in various cases were right or wrong or what should be done about the whole issue. The whole time, all I could think was:
Don’t these people know how to use privacy settings?!
For generations, parents have instilled in their children the importance of watching their words with the ever-popular if-you-don’t-have-anything-nice-to-say-don’t-say-anything-at-all mantra. Logically, this train of thought has now extended into if-you-don’t-have-anything-glowing-to-post-don’t-post-anything-at-all realm of Facebook. With this idea, I disagree wholeheartedly.
This is the problem with being both a writer and a public servant.
My work life dictates that I be “professional” (read: perky and devoid of unpopular opinions), while my journalistic pursuits would falter and collapse if they were not founded on emotion and opinion. When my mother commented “You probably shouldn’t have written that” about one of my Smartly posts, I countered with “But that’s exactly why I write! To share! To entertain! To start debate! If no one ever felt anything when they read my posts, what would be the point?” She gave me that disapproving look that only mothers can and moved on. I felt victorious.
Facebook brings to life all of our long-ranging debates about professionalism. Many people believe that teaching students to be professional means transforming them into robots programmed to follow extensive business etiquette protocols. While it has always been a danger to voice an unpopular opinion in a professional setting, Facebook tacks on the extra danger of that opinion being in writing.
It is true that college students need to be taught a certain level of discretion. It is not wise to post pictures of yourself draped over the toilet post-binge or to share indecent shots of your female friends’ Halloween costumes. It is probably not a good idea to update your status to include profanity about your boss or to Photoshop together cruel images about your coworkers.
But this does not mean that you shouldn’t exist.
Parents, employers, and users alike are now much more aware of the entire Facebook phenomenon than they were when the site began in 2004. They have a much better grasp of social networking opportunities and challenges, and they fear the posts of the younger generation. Each of us young’uns has heard the [MANY] cautionary tales, and we are well aware of what can happen in the wrong situation. On the other hand, we are also well aware of how Facebook has changed the social landscape. Facebook groups offered venues of support following the shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois, when deceased students’ pages became virtual forums of love dedicated to lost lives. Mobile apps have enabled busy young professionals to keep in touch in the spare moments of their days. Fan pages have provided businesses with an easy, cost-effective solution for concerns about regular communication. Walls and photo albums have enabled far-flung family to see pictures of a recent trip or offer well wishes on special occasions. Shy students have been given a portal of self-expression and self-discovery. Facebook has become an integral part of how we communicate; for all its publicized “bad,” Facebook has provided us with a lot of good.
So for me, it is not a matter of quitting Facebook. Instead, it’s a constant system of checks and balances–an assurance that the professional me aligns with the personal one. And perhaps most importantly, it’s keeping abreast of technological changes and learning how to use those privacy settings!
So when a coworker recently to commented “Wow, you’ve got your Facebook profile on super-secret!,” I smiled knowingly. Of course it is. Because I, dear reader, am a Facebook Ninja.
I have to bring my whole damn bathroom with me.
When you go visit a girlfriend they have eight different kinds of lotion: 24-hour hydration, firming lotion, gradual self-tanning lotion, scented lotion, unscented lotion, etc. They have blowdryers and backup blowdryers. And curling irons, straightening irons and body wash with extra loofahs for guests.
Girls have shampoo AND conditioner – not shampoo/condition/bodywash in one. Hairspray and damage-control serum. Girls have different soaps, washes, exfoliators and lotions for face and body.
Boys have … soap.
(image found here)
To read more by V visit her personal blog *uncorked.
She is a dragon that is about to scorch her prey. Her piercing eyes line up the target, deep black smoke clouds billows out of her nostrils, and then in an instant she strikes. Razor sharp teeth, a long whip-lashing tongue, and finally a fiery explosion launches out from her mouth. Red hot flames with bright white sparks consume her victim within seconds.
It’s not only her mouth that unleashes this enormousness fury but she uses her physical strength as well. When attacking. her body grows twice it’s normal size as she rising on her hind legs and spreads her massive wings. Her skin (normally a smooth texture that is peach in the winter and cinnamon in the summer) morphs scaly and green in order to startle and scare her victim.
Her voice booms and creates an undercurrent of seismic waves that shakes the whole village. The snarling, the screaming, the shirking that ensues as she consumes her victim can be heard miles away, up on the highest mountain.
How will this dragon be defeated?
Surely a brave knight will ride gallantly through the village to the dragon’s keep, slay the dragon, and save the victim. That is how the story always ends….right?
But in truth, the victum doesn’t need saving. The victim takes the attack willingly.
If the dragon was more than thirty six inches tall the victim would strike back with her own fiery flames of fury.
If the dragon was a man, a lover, the victim would never take this type of verbal and physical abuse. The victim would leave the relationship in an instant, with no second thoughts or a glance back.
But the dragon is only thirty six inches tall.
The dragon is not a man.
The dragon is my three year old daughter and I am her mother.
I am the victim.
I am told that this is just what three year olds do. They can’t control their feelings and emotions, so they lash out and throw temper tantrums. And since I am always there, I am the one who takes the abuse.
I know she doesn’t mean it but she hurts me.
She hurts me emotionally, verbally, and sometimes physically.
I know she will, as they say, grow out of this phase. And until then I have to do my best to keep the dragon calm, to keep the dragon under control, and to help the dragon understand that this behavior is not acceptable.
But it’s hard. And it hurts. And I’m tired.
Vegas is unlike any other place in the country. It’s a continuous cascade of colored lights, punishing temperatures, booze, shows, food, and girls. It’s an oasis in an inhospitable desert–a town born from a dream. Being in Vegas is like living in a dream–whether it’s a fantasy or a nightmare is all a matter of perspective.
This town is a neon-studded dreamland of smoke, sounds, and alcohol. Here, it is far easier to find a bar than a water fountain, and margaritas flow by the gallon rather than the ounce. Each hotel whisks visitors to a new country of debauchery and glitz, each larger and more bedazzled than the last.
In this world, there’s no sense of time. The 110-degree daytime temperatures are imperceptible from the 99-degree evenings; the only difference is the absence of that big light in the sky. Days collide and overlap like tectonic plates as visitors ponder the pleasure of a midnight dip or marvel at the impressive eruptions of the world’s most famous fountain.
Tourists stumbling in from redeye flights and weekend escapes maintain an endless stream of caffeine, cocktails, and blackout curtains to overpower their circadian rhythms. Soaring daytime temperatures necessitate midday siestas for anyone wishing to venture down The Strip–the one street in America whose nighttime illumination jauntily competes with that of the day. Even the time zone caters to this routine-less, indulgent lifestyle–the clock reads hours earlier than most of the country.
Inside, it’s midnight 24/7–hotel owners can’t allow high rollers to recognize the time slipping away like desert sand. A single, gluttonous lunch lasts them all day, eliminating the rhythm of regular meals. Seasons are indistinguishable as frigid air conditioning clashes with nature’s oven, and slot machines sound their endless loop of clinks and whistles. Years of cigarette smoke soak into everything, joining a stale blanket that transcends brand recognition and is noticeable only in its consistency. Gamblers are honed into the glowing screens of the slots with such intensity that the ebb and flow of surrounding foot traffic disappears, save the personal service of scantily clad waitresses prepared to cater to every whim.
And among all this, you have to admire Lady Vegas for her unapologetic intensity. In a country of insecurity, Vegas flaunts her good and bad with equal vigor. She is as self-assured as any model, and why shouldn’t she be? She was founded with the money of mobsters and imagined in the minds of dreamers. Nowhere on earth is it easier to lose yourself in fantasy, and she excels at creating it. Men have ruined their lives in her casinos and made it big on her stages, but she watches over all of it with a neon glitter in her knowing eye.
She is the land of opportunity–and the city of ruin.
For instance, she is a total train wreck! And I mean that in the best possible sense of the the phrase. Though in her late forties, she still hasn’t grown up. She parties pretty hard…when she walks in to work with a huge coffee, pancakes, eggs, and bacon for breakfast from the nearby cafe… followed by a huge hamburger and fries for lunch I know that she was out late last night. Those are also the days that she comes in looking the most disheveled. Hair in a messy ponytail (and not fashionably messy), no makeup, and baggy clothes. One day she even had two different shoes on!
Another one of her flaws is she is not very patient and she is quick with her tongue. She will just come right out and call someone an idiot to their face. And if you listen just right you can hear it creeping up in her voice. Her sentences become shorter, her tone becomes nastier, and then she strikes… it’s a verbal slashing.
But these aren’t the worst of her flaws. Her main flaw is that she does not see herself for who she truly is.
She has no idea how she acts or looks when she comes to work hung over. She has no idea how she comes off to people when she is in her stressed out, mean state. She doesn’t understand why people feel she is hard to work with. Literally no idea.
One afternoon she and I were having a private conversation about something unimportant and she asked me why people don’t seem to respond to her well. And I told her. Because we have a good relationship and because I know she loves me I told her. I told her it’s because she can be mean to them, that she verbally slashes them, and that she can be very impatient. And do you know what happened next…she looked away from her computer and stared at me with these huge puppy dog eyes and said “what?” She honestly couldn’t believe what I had just said. I could see it in her eyes…I had just hurt her feelings and she was truly sad.
That was the moment. The moment I realized she didn’t see herself for who she truly was and how her actions affect people. She has never grown up past that childhood stage when you don’t understand how your words or actions have consequences.
After looking into her eyes I immediately back tracked saying things like “it’s OK you were frustrated” or “it’s OK because they were wrong”. I couldn’t stand seeing her so upset. But that moment has always stuck with me. I now constantly check myself to make sure I am seeing myself for who I really am. Evaluating my words and actions against what I say I believe or who I say I am.
I once read a story in college about a woman who thought every advertisement she saw was true. This product really would make her happy, this hair dye would really turn her otherwise black hair into a soft shade of auburn. And when she tried the hair dye all she could see was the beautiful auburn colored hair on the picture; not what it really looked like on her head.
The story was so sad because the woman was completely blind to her true self, her true life, her true hair color. Just like my boss is totally blind to how she acts and affects people when she is hung over or in her stressed out, mean state. I never want to make this mistake. I never want to be blind to my true self. Never. Never. Never. Even if I don’t like what I see, I want to see it. Because that is the only way I can make change and improve myself.
I might have thought it was a practical joke, except we’re not exactly big on those around here.
You see, they’re doing major construction on our building, a process that currently involves swinging large steel beams around on a crane. As you can imagine, there have been some welfare concerns involved with this process, which was best described in a recent e-mail from one of our higher-ups:
To avoid the risk of some tragic impaling as steel flies through the air outside of my office window, I have moved to the safety of ____ until the “all clear” is sounded. My phone extension remains the same. All others on the Wall of Death will be moved to the outer reception areas of their offices.
Or at least this was the original story—until Hard Hat Man made my office look like an episode of CSI. They had previously told us we would be able to go in and out of our offices freely as long as there was no steel presently in the air, but now the story was quite the opposite—I had 15 minutes. We were like hurricane evacuees.
What do you save from your office in 15 minutes? Other than piles of the work-related stuff I needed for my actual job, I frantically grabbed up only the most essential personal items—chocolate wafers, a nail kit, and caramel coffee syrup. A girl’s gotta live.
My supervisor declared that she wanted me nowhere near the potential construction hazards—leading me to imagine some serious action-movie sequences in my head—so we began seeking out other options.
So there I was: a homeless, cardboard-box kitten in the rain.
The first possibility was in the midst of a frantic office, taking over various cubicles as their permanent occupants took staggered vacation days.
This porridge seemed a bit too chaotic.
Next was a secluded closet that may once have resembled an office, but which had since been overgrown with unwanted supplies, billions of nondescript shirts, and piles of too-important-to-toss-yes-useless-to-everyone paperwork that had stubbornly persevered through the annals of time. At the end of the world, there will be cockroaches and this paperwork. Most importantly, there was no sign of the computer terminals or desk that may once have resided here.
This porridge was too desperate.
Another option was the office of a part-timer who spends her summers out of state. This office was in the opposite corner of the building, near the end of an almost-deserted hallway. It’s always uncomfortable occupying someone else’s space, and this office in particular is located across the hallway from a notorious creeper.
This porridge too closely resembled a horror movie.
Luckily, in a last-ditch effort to find a home, I called the one person who may have had space available and was afforded a comfortable workspace—with a window, to boot! To IT’s credit, I had my computer and phone set up within the half-hour, and I was ready to go (minus my professional life being piled haphazardly on carts). Nonetheless, I have a new [temporary] home.
It may not be my office, but my coffee syrup and I can be comfortable here for a while.