Is the 7 year itch real?By Reginald Jordan

A recent article from Jennifer Nagy of the Huffington Post reviewed three separate studies on divorce and when it occurs.  Is the seven-year itch a myth and do the studies debunk it altogether?

A 1999 study undertaken by Dr. Larry A. Kurdek, a psychology professor from Wright State University demonstrated the validity of both a four and seven-year itch. The study showed that “couples often began their unions with high levels of marital quality, but that it appeared to decrease twice: once rather steeply over the first four years and again after about seven”. His study also showed that couples with children experienced a more rapid decline in the quality of their marriage.

In 2010, another study was conducted by the Grant Thorton accountancy group and utilized information from a survey of 90 law firms and concluded that marriages are most likely to fail after about twelve years.

A more recent study was done in 2012 by parenting website Netmums. The study showed that couples with young children are “four and a half times more likely to split after three years than the traditional seven years”. Of the 1,500 respondents, 42 percent said that having a child had driven them apart.  Siobhan Freegard, founder of Netmums stated that women may be reacting to their ticking biological clocks and rushing into marriages and children, rather than spending more time dating and getting to know their spouses to be.

From these three studies it is easy to conclude that the seven-year itch falls in the same category of raising umbrellas in the house, breaking mirrors, and walking under ladders.  It is nothing more than just something made up to induce fear.  Instead of the focus being placed on some stupid marital number the real focus should be placed on preserving the marriage relationship no matter the year.

It can be seen that there is no hex hovering over marriages that doom couples at the seven year mark.  You can be doomed at year 12, year 7, year 4, or day 72 if you don’t work to strengthen your marriage.  Two of the three studies mentioned children as a common denominator.  A marriage can become difficult when trying to juggle children.  The key is to keep the children in the right place which is second to the marriage, because after they leave the house you will be left with your spouse.  If the last eighteen years of your marriage has been putting the children over your marriage, once they leave the marriage will struggle and sadly this causes some to itch at 25 years.

Here is some itch relief. Whenever you allow something to settle in your marriage and take the place of the relationship your marriage will be in trouble whether it is hanging out with friends, addictions, pride, or even children.  Remember to keep your marriage in the highest position to keep the itch away.

Reginald Jordan, LMSW

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