We’re breaking down the recipe for a happy marriage with marriage advice from a nationwide study funded by Pure Romance!

Let’s be honest: the good things in life don’t usually come easy. They take work and time to develop … and your relationship is no exception to this rule.

You’ve probably heard of a theory about the decline in marital happiness after just under a decade: the infamous seven-year itch. We wanted to find out if the seven-year itch in relationships and marriages is fact or fiction; and if it was a fact, what could be done to scratch the itch!

So, Pure Romance commissioned the market research company, OnePoll, to conduct a survey polling 1,000 people across the United States who have been married for at least five years (the average respondent was married to their current spouse for 20 years) and find out about the state of their married life. Not only did polling reveal that most American couples believed the seventh year of marriage was the hardest, but they also shared some tidbits about their sex life that peaked our interest.

“I Don’t Know What We’re Yelling About”

With the average “honeymoon stage” lasting just under nine months (eight months and 26 days, to be exact) and because arguing and fighting contribute to a decline in happiness, let’s talk about what our survey-takers said about confrontations with spouses:

  • Married couples average four minor fights per month, with the most-reported issues being:
    • Money-related issues (50%)
    • Home chores (31%)
    • Sex life (16%)
    • In-laws (13%)
  • The majority of couples make up in an average of five hours

Let’s Talk About Sex

Okay, so the fights are small ones that don’t last longer than The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. So what else could be behind the seven-year itch?! Because our passion is, well, passion, we were interested in what our surveyed couples had to say about their sex lives. A sexually-fulfilling relationship can be a key instrument in keeping a marriage strong, while a stagnant or invisible sex life can actually hurt it over time. When it comes to our couples:

  • 39% say sex gets better the longer the marriage lasts
  • 25% say it actually gets worse
  • 57% say they have an excellent sex life
  • 78% think it is important a married couple has similar sex drives
  • 14% describe their sex life as unfortunately non-existent

Not too bad as far as sexual satisfaction goes. It could be better though – and here’s what our couples thought would really turn up the heat on their sex life.

  • 38% of respondents say they would be happier in their marriage if they introduced an edge into their bedroom activities (sex toys, new positions, or fantasies, to name a few)
  • 56% think more foreplay and communication in the bedroom would vastly improve things

Now For The Million Dollar Question…

How do you actually improve your sex life? Several studies over the years have shown added excitement can improve the overall experience for both parties. Adding a bedroom toy to the mix is one sure-fire way to keep the spark alive. Another key factor is open communication. Pure Romance Founder and Chairwoman Patty Brisben says, “Communication is key to sustaining all healthy relationships. You should be communicating with your significant other not just about your day-to-day comings and goings, but your desires in the bedroom.” Expressing what you’d like to try with a partner, what you want them to do to or with you, and what you like and don’t like in bed is an easier-said-than-done (but necessary and effective!) way to up your sexual satisfaction and improve the quality of your down-and-dirty deeds!

The Bottom Line

The results of our seven-year itch survey revealed a lot about marriage and where the bumps in the road are most likely to happen. But more than that, the survey gives us insight into what we can do to ensure marital bliss never fades – from exploring our sexual desires to simply talking it out. If we can use the research to defy the odds and live “happily ever after” (whatever your “happy” is!), then we can proclaim a huge victory for marriage!