The Seven Year Itch VD Edition: How to save your marriage in five easy-peasy steps!

by Meredith on February 14, 2014

See what I just did there in the title? With the whole “VD” and “Itch” thing?The Seven Year Itch - A Real Life Marriage Series

You don’t know this, but about five months ago, Shaun and I were holed up in a Chicago hotel, trying to decide if we wanted to stay married.

I’ll give you a minute to pick yourself up off the floor.

.

.

.

.

.

.

We both played starring roles in the drama, HOW TO BREAK YOUR MARRIAGE.

At the time, he wanted to be around his friends more than me. And I wanted to throw myself into my work instead of him… It was a recipe for disaster. So while I was busy working my ass off and speaking all over the country, he was busy joining golf leagues and bowling leagues.

We didn’t even care (or have the energy) to fight anymore. We essentially became roommates. Roommates with three children, with whom we alternated duties. We weren’t even hanging out as family all at once.

One day I looked at Shaun, after I realized what we had been doing, and I confessed, “I have been looking for four bedroom houses to rent.”

He didn’t look stunned or sad. He just said, “You can have this one.”

I expected him to say that. But it hurt me so fucking bad. I didn’t expect to feel so broken by his words, and he didn’t expect to feel so broken over mine.

We went right to Hell and back. And I am happy to say, five months later, burning it down to nothing helped us rise like a phoenix from those ashes.

I want to share with you how we did it.

1. GET OUT OF TOWN

The house and the kids are stressful. I was constantly bitching at him that he needed to help me more. He felt like he was helping more.

We took ourselves out of that situation and away from all of those distractions.

We holed ourselves up in a Chicago hotel for the weekend. There was nothing sexy or romantic about this. I think I cried for two days straight, asking him over and over how we got to this point. But deep conversations came from this. Things were said by both of us that needed to be said.

But the main thing that was said was… WE WILL FIGHT FOR THIS MARRIAGE!

2. STOP POINTING FINGERS

It was a very quiet ride to Chicago. When we finally began talking, we both started hurling insults and blaming the other person for not being there.

We realized the insults had to stop. We never say mean things to each other anymore, for the simple sake of not hurting the other person. I tend to cut like a knife with my tongue. It’s my worst character flaw.

We’ve both decided our pride can go by the wayside for the other person’s happiness.

Everyone fucks up. No one is perfect. Not even me (as much as I hate admitting this).

3. PUT EACH OTHER FIRST

This sounds like an easy concept, but it’s really not.

Shaun and I put each other before even our kids now. Before, I was putting the kids and my job before him. Not anymore. Shaun’s first. When we are happy, the children are happy. When our whole family is happy – that’s all that matters in the world.

4. GET YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT

shaunmere

That’s it. He’s my number one priority. Glad I got that straightened out.

5. BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN: AND DON’T BE RATIONAL ABOUT IT

Two days after we came back from Chicago… I quit my job.

I walked out, giving no notice. Everyone was shocked, even me.

I didn’t have another job, and I quit my job. WHO DOES THIS? That’s not sane.

I called my husband that morning, sobbing.

ME: I want to quit my job. Like, now. I have no other job. But I want to leave this instant. I just realized it’s this place. It’s this place that’s destroying us. 

SHAUN: About time. Leave now. Don’t look back. 

But that place was killing me. In Chicago, while I was trying to fix my marriage, I was fielding calls from employees. It never stopped for me. So I quit. I just walked the fuck off the job. My family meant too much to me to stay there for one more second.

I also ditched a lot of bad influence friends in my life. I just got rid of them. No more. They didn’t seem to sync with my priority. We need positive people around us. People who aren’t morally bankrupt.

Going through the burn-it-all-down process made me look like a crazy person. I am sure of it. But when you’re burning things, you’re rebuilding yourself.

I had to mentally get stronger to be better for him. I don’t care what other people think about how I got to this point. I am happy now, and he is happy now. It had to be like this.

Shaun isn’t participating in the golf and bowling leagues anymore. He hasn’t even asked to be in one. He just quit. He doesn’t even want to anymore. He burned some things down because they didn’t sync with his priority.

Do we still see our friends? Absolutely. But we tend to just hang out with each other now, at home, in sweat pants, being best friends and laughing a lot.

Not because we have to…

It’s because we want to.

***

I understand that there is a time and place for divorce, but maybe some of us give up too easily.

On this day of love… if you are staring down the barrel of a divorce… ask yourself if maybe, just maybe, there is just one last ditch effort in both of you.

If there is the slightest chance, I promise you, you will come out on the other end stronger than ever… but first you have to burn that old house to the ground… and rebuild it.

XOXOXO,

Meredith

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawana

And the people said?
Amen.

Reply

Meredith

Amen.

Reply

cas

We had what I call our Armageddon about 3 years ago. It’s been better than ever and what it should have been all along. He has asked me to marry him everyday since then…not that we aren’t already married…but he says that I deserve to marry the man he is now…. Who knows one day I might say yes and this time he might get me in a real wedding gown.

Reply

Meredith

This makes me smile. So three years later, you’re better than ever. Good. I want to be, too.

Reply

Nancy

Then there were tears. All the best to you and Shaun on your reborn marriage.

Reply

Meredith

Thank you!

Reply

Farrar

That was so raw and honest and beautiful! Thank you!

Reply

Meredith

Like ripping off a band-aid. It was oddly therapeutic.

Reply

Amanda

Meredith, I love you so hard for this post. I am so glad that Shaun and you were able to totally rekindle your marriage and I think it’s amazing that you would share this. It’s brave and will help others. Good work.

(and also, that partner before kids thing? we do it too, and we get judgment, but you know what. fuck ‘em)

Reply

Meredith

Who can judge you for saying my partner comes first so our home is a happy home?

I’ll tell you who – people who will soon be walking this same path. They just don’t know it yet.

Reply

Joy

I read an article a hundred million years ago that said you have to put each other first. Kids grow up leave home start their own lives. Then it’s just the two of you. Partners forever!

I’m glad you didn’t give up :)

Reply

stephanie

I burned it all down seven months ago, quit my job, dropped some friends, and set my house on fire. Do we still struggle? Yep, I’d be lying if I said we didn’t. But I love him and he loves me. Every day is a day you wake up and decide that your marriage is worth it in the end.

I love that you wrote this and I love that I am not alone. BURN THAT SHIT TO THE GROUND!!!
Thank you!

Reply

Meredith

Waking up happy is priceless.

Burn. That. Shit. Down.

Reply

Rae Ann Bell

Immensely powerful.

Reply

Nuala Reilly

I love this.

Reply

Larissa

thank you so much for sharing. Went through our own armegeddon about 11 years ago. We’ve been married 17 1/1 now. It sucks, but it’s totally worth it when you figure out how to save your marriage.
This is a good reminder for me, though. It is easy to slip back toward the bad stuff. Reminders help to stop the slide backward. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Shaun, Meredith. Muah!

Reply

Meredith

I love hearing this. I love hearing that people who have been married a long time went through this once, too.

Reply

erica

Amazing words and sentiment. Your children are lucky to have you both as parents, and you are obviously blessed to have each other. To MANY happy years together Meredith and Shaun.

Reply

Meredith

Thanks!

Reply

Shanna

Wow, this is awesome… 19 years into this and I need to burn this house down.

Reply

Meredith

Don’t be rational. Be emotional and passionate. Burn it all down. Whatever it takes to get there, you do it!

Reply

steph gas

what an amazing and inspirational post. i think too many people think ‘we can just walk away’ from a marriage. marriage is not all happy endings and shiny appliances. it is hard fucking work. every day you’re married is a day you should be working at it. if you’re not willing to work at it, you’re married to the wrong person. i’m thrilled you and shaun realized that and SERIOUSLY WORKED at it.

Reply

Meredith

I never thought it would be this much work, but hard work reaps great rewards. And he’s worth it.

Reply

Kelly

Great advice for all relationships!

Reply

GypsyRose

I love the saying “May the bridges I burn light my way.” There are times when it is very much needed and could apply here. Whether it is a job, time-suck friends or activities that pull you apart. My problem has always been that I have never learned that it is okay to take care of myself first and then everyone else and I never ask for help. It’s like the announcement on the plane where you are supposed to put your oxygen mask on first before you help someone else. I’d make sure everyone in my family had theirs’ on and I’d pass out. I am still working on it and my husband is my biggest fan, even when he has to remind me. He and I always come before our kids and our children understand that. They know they are loved (hugely) and that we do our very best for them. Thank you, Meredith for sharing your story. You are loved not only by your family and friends, but by your readers.

Reply

Shanna

Meredith,

I can not stop thinking about this post. Thank you for being so raw. I have already started some of these things but I need to put it all out there. The other day at lunch we just sat there nothing to say. I have always put the kids and sometimes friends first. He has his own things he does.. He is the one I want wiping my ass one day when I can’t do it myself or the one I want to share my darkest secrets to. I do not want to lose this. Thank you again!

Reply

Anonymous

Damn. Talk about hitting home. Thank you for being so honest, and even though our relationships are similar and yet so different in their problems it still reminds me that it’s worth fighting for.

Reply

Kristin P

I absolutely LOVE this. We aren’t even at the seven year itch. We’re at a five year itch. :-/ it’s tough.

Reply

Amanda

This is beautiful. Just a sopping mess over here. I’m not married, and have never been married, but I’ve seen so many couples that I care about get to this point, and just walk away. This is such a beautiful testimonial to the fact that sometimes you need to dig deep and go into battle one last time before you say you’ve lost the war.

Reply

Sarah

This is so great!! I am so excited to hear that you guys didn’t give up… divorce is more and more common these days and yes, sometimes it’s best… but hell yeah to putting up a good fight. Your marriage, your kids and your family are so worth it. (plus you guys look really good together) :)

Reply

Dale

Thank you. I needed to hear that.

Reply

Jessica

I like that you’re honest and don’t make relationships and marriage seem like a fairytale. I’m not married but it gives me insight. So what happened at work? I follow your blog and you always mentioned you liked the company you worked for. Did your boss freak when you just quit?

Reply

Despicable Me Minion Rush Hack

What’s Happening i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I have
discovered It absolutely helpful and it has aided me out loads.
I hope to contribute & assist other customers like its helped me.
Good job.

Reply

Cenovia Adelleh

I was with a guy for 3 years, he always told me he loved me and that we wouldn’t break up because if you love someone you make it work. We could never work out a time when we were both free and just a couple days ago he said we should just be friends. I know he dont me love anymore. When we were dating he said to everyone that I was his girlfriend and introduced me, told his friends he really liked me and told me he loved me, I wanted to be with him again but I never knew what to do. I tried for a long time with other spell casters to get him back but dr.marnish was the ONLY spell caster that could do the love spell for me that worked, if you need help call him +15036626930, he will always come to your aid, Obviously dr marnish is the REAL DEAL!
Cenovia Adelleh

Reply

Kathleen

“The barn has burned down. Now I can see the moon.” –Basho

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: