On the Seven Year Slump and the Year of Jubilee
Last year Stephen and I lived what we called “12 Months of Simplicity,” focusing on simplifying our lives in a different way every month. I blogged about it for a while but then Baby Bear came along, and I turned my attention away from writing for many months. Even so, we simplified during 2013. A lot. We had to. 2013 threw a lot at us and we pared down out of necessity. We’re exhausted from all the changes of last year.
One big change was our church move. After 18 years at Bridgeway (and 9 for Stephen), we felt God asking us to do the thing we never, ever expected: find a new home church. It was simultaneously heartbreaking and exhilarating, but we were obedient. We’re now building relationships and settling happily into our new church, appropriately called Jubilee.
The first Sunday of 2014, our Pastor mentioned that historically speaking, this is a Jubilee Year. A year to celebrate, to take back what’s yours, to live in freedom.
In the bible, the Israelites would cancel their debts and free their slaves every seven years. Then, in year 49, a year of Jubilee was declared. After seven cycles of seven years, Jubilee was “a time of freedom and celebration when everyone will receive back their original property, and slaves will return home to their families.” – Leviticus 25:10.
This April, Stephen and I will celebrate our 7th anniversary. After reading a blog post the other day titled “5 Ways to Secure Your Happyish Ever After,” (which was, in my estimation, a somewhat grim depiction of marriage) I couldn’t stop thinking of all the bleak, discouraging things we heard about marriage before we tied the knot. We decided we wouldn’t live under those expectations, and up to now, we’ve kicked ass at this Being Married thing. I often wonder if we’re doing something different than the couples we know whose marriages have failed, or if we’re just really different people. Probably both. But I will say without shame that Stephen and I are really good, and always getting better, at our relationship.
However, one thing has hung over me like a cloud, especially through this last year: The Seven Year Slump (or The Seven Year Itch). People talk about it like it’s inevitable. I’ve read pop psychology papers about how it’s actually physiological. How you’re bound to get bored, settle into parallel lives, simply coexist, build more and more tension, succumb to infidelity, etc., etc. I’ve lived frightened of this idea since we got married almost 7 years ago. Will this fated crisis be the one to do us in?
But like the rest of society’s predictions, we’ve decided that we’re just not going to do the Seven Year Slump. In true Jubilee spirit, we’re going to have a Seven Year Celebration! I’ve always wanted to write about our marriage, but I rarely do. I always thought I didn’t have enough experience to bring to the table (which is silly- we can learn loads from newlyweds). Stephen and I also guard our relationship carefully and I’ve never felt comfortable sharing much of the inner workings with people.
I realize that 7 years may seem like the blink of an eye to some, but I’m tired of waiting. I love being married, I love marriage, and I believe there’s a real need for people who have a positive perspective on it. As I write about the things we’re celebrating, the ground we’re taking, and the freedom we’re increasingly stepping into, I’m going to focus on marriage.
What good – or bad – things have people told you to expect about marriage? Married people, has it come true for you?