Nursing Voices

Friday, September 21, 2007

Revisiting the Seven-Year Itch.

Maxine and Gabriele Pauli, a Bavarian politician, have something in common. Maxine is a skeptical fan of marriage, and Pauli, who is a leading voice in Bavaria's Christian Social Union, believes that the basic approach to marriage is wrong. The twice-divorced official is suggesting that marriages expire after seven years.

I’ve seen a lot of people involved in messed up marriages throughout my years as a psychiatric nurse, and I think that Pauli is on to something. Interestingly enough, many marriages start floundering after seven years. This phenomena is called the seven-year itch. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a husband or a wife tell me that their spouse takes them for granted, and that the spark in their relationship is gone. These people stop growing and get bored with life, and with each other. The grass starts looking greener, and sexier, on the other side of the fence, and people start going outside of their marriage to find new companionship. Maybe the seven-year itch wouldn't be such a problem if people knew that their marriages were coming up for renewal.

Personally, I’m a huge fan of matrimony, but since everything else has an expiration date, why not establish time limited marriages. Of course, there is a downside to everything that holds promise. I predict that there would be a sharp drop in sales of antidepressants and benzodiazepines, which would not make drug companies and their stockholders very happy, and I predict that divorce attorneys would have to find a new way to turn a buck. On the upside, I could use my psychiatric nursing skills as a springboard to a new career as a marriage broker.

Nurses can always find work.


Blogger Gerbil said...

The real question is whether you could get a backdated authorization if you wait too long to renew your expired marriage.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said...

A good 'Maxine' there about marriage.

11:19 AM  
Blogger make mine trauma said...

I'm a fan of marriage terms! I think it should be up for renewal every three years, not seven! You could renegotiate your contract which would give the obsolete divorce lawyers something to do.


1:05 PM  
Blogger jessica said...

I've heard this idea suggested before, and I remain dubious. It seems like a new way for men to get out of paying alimony.

I suspect that if this change in marriage were to be affected, children in particular and possibly the family as a whole would suffer.

If marriages had to be renewed every couple of years, a woman would have to be absolutely insane to give up her full-time career job in favor of a less demanding job or no job at all (as many women currently do) so that she could focus on raising her children. There would be the very real chance that after a couple of years her husband would decide he didn't want to remain married, and he'd be free to leave and there wouldn't even be the hope he'd have to pay spousal support. She'd end up with no financial support and outdate job skills. So, like I say, given those circumstances a woman would have to be an idiot to give up her career, but then, of course, any children she might have would end up not getting the degree of attention and emotional intimacy children need to grow up healthy.

Also, I suspect women would end up suffering from this sort of marriage set up. Once women get up around 35 they aren't going to have as many relationship options and men will have. Men, on the other hand, remain desirable as mates for a longer period of time. I think you'd see depression and anxiety among the female population of the country increase.

Those are the initial objections I have after a few moments of thought. I'm not saying that marriage as it is now is not without its fault, but what you propose seems pretty radical and I am unconvinced it would end up being better than marriage as it is now.

7:03 PM  
Blogger Nurse Practitioners Save Lives said...

I have been through the seven year itch two times. Once I was married for 11 years, about 5 years too long. Married way too young and immaturely.
The second marriage is at the almost 12 year mark without the itch syndrome. It helps if you do it for the right reasons.

8:43 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Some suggest your marriage certificate should be renewed at the same time you renew your drivers licence.

9:56 PM  
Blogger Angry Nurse said...

I loved seeing this story.

I’ve been called crazy for years because I've been suggesting that the basic premise of marriage is flawed and that a "contract" form of marriage should be considered as a viable alternative for those who are interested..

Perhaps this politician won’t be dismissed and belittled for suggesting it, but I won’t hold my breath.

3:04 AM  
Blogger NocturnalRN said...

I just think this is a wierd idea. I am also not married so that may have something to do with it.

9:42 PM  

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