couples

'How a single touch brought my husband back to me.'

I’ve been with my husband for almost eight years now.

That’s not an especially long time, but it’s long enough for me to finally understand what people mean when they say ‘seven-year-itch’.

It’s not that I don’t love him to death. I do. Very much. It’s that I’ve learned what the ‘long-term’ component of a long-term relationship looks like.

We’ve been having some problems these past six months. Nothing dramatic; it’s more that it feels like we’re communicating on slightly different wavelengths and things are not quite fitting together as well as they did a few years back.

Alys and her husband. Image supplied.

We've fallen into the terrible habit of forgetting to talk to each other about stuff that isn't the daily logistics of hustling the kids around and staying on top of deathly dull domesticity.

And I've felt like he’s even stopped seeing me. Of course he looks at me, but I'm not sure he sees me.

For several months, I've been silently sheeting the blame for all of this home to him.

Why do I have to ask him to do the washing up? He doesn't have to ask me? Why won’t he come to me for a chat after the kids go to bed? Why won’t he offer me a moment of romance, intimacy, a kiss from nowhere, a surprise to remind me he still wants me? Why won’t he plan the baby sitter and the movie and the dinner arrangements for a date night?

I swing wildly between accepting this as the future of our marriage and seething that I'll be stuck in this until death us do part.

I know that love changes. It moves from the anticipation and excited passion of those first few years to a quiet calm joy in the presence of your partner. It settles down and becomes, not comfortable but comforting. Home will truly be wherever I'm with you.

But love should not be complacent. It might not be exciting, but it shouldn't be boring. It shouldn't be a chore. Not all the time.

I don’t want to feel like I'm being taken for granted. I will always be here, but I don’t want there to be an expectation or an acceptance that I will always be here.

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Alys's husband and kids. Image supplied.

But, in a time where communication takes effort, and you’re barely getting through the monotony of wake, kids, work, kids, sleep day after day, finding the energy to have an honest and positive conversation about how you feel like your marriage is shrivelling up in front of you is, well, hard.

Especially when all you want to do is shout, “it’s all your fault.”

Especially when it’s not all his fault.

I lost my voice this week. I can barely whisper “pass the milk”, let alone shout at my partner to look at me.

I have had to rely entirely on signals, touch and sign language to communicate everything. I have had to employ every resource available to me to get the simplest of messages across, and I've found myself looking deeply at my husband to make sure I'm telling him everything he needs to know.

I'm touching him, guiding him with my hands and my body about every day things.

He’s been so helpful. He’s sent me to bed to rest, taken care of the kids, looked after me. And all the while I have finally been looking at and touching him.

Alys with her baby daughter. Image supplied.

And it hit me.

I haven’t been seeing him. Not until I had to look right at him, deeply and expressively, to communicate with him. I haven’t been touching him, not until I had to stroke his cheek gently to say thank you for some small kindness.

I had forgotten how much his eyes twinkle, how soft his shaven cheek is, how strong his chest is.

I had forgotten how much I love him.

I had forgotten him.

I was as much to blame.

Have you gone through the seven year itch? Let us know your experience in the comments below.

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