This December 6th my wife and I will have been married 7 years. My wife was 25 and I was 22 when we got married in San Diego, CA. At that point, I’d already known people from high school who had been married and divorced. One person I knew said “I got the itch, ya know?”
What is the “itch”?
Statistically, a marriage is more likely to succeed if a couple makes it through the first 7 years. The “itch” as people call it is a desire that some people (men and women) get after 7 years of marriage to find another partner. Typically this is not out of spite for their spouse, but out of a proclaimed “boredom” in marriage. Some researcher’s say that the itch occurs at 2 years, others at 7, 8, 10 or even 12 years. The fact is that this desire comes naturally to some people.
If it’s natural its okay, right?
Of course not! When you’re committed to a marriage, you put such selfish desires away. There are plenty of beautiful fish in the sea, but it doesn’t matter once you’re married. Your marriage is of the utmost importance! You should do everything to safeguard it. You must put off the natural man, and review your life together. Why are you having this itch? Are you “bored”?
So I’ve got the “itch”, what do I do about it?
When Paul Newman was asked why he wasn’t ever unfaithful to his wife of 50 years, Joanne, he replied:
“Why fool around with hamburger when you have steak at home?”
Think back. Remember when you got married? Remember the joy and excitement you felt? Guess what. The newness fades and it becomes part of your mundane daily life. My mom always told me that love is not enough in a marriage, it takes work. Sometimes you have to remember that you have steak at home. Remind yourself of it.
When our 7th year of marriage began, I jokingly suggested to my wife that the way to fend off any potential of the “itch” was to make love everyday for the whole year. She of course laughed, and while that wasn’t exactly what happened, what it did do was open an avenue of communication about our relationship that we hadn’t really been utilizing before that.
We started talking openly about our sexual desires and determined to make sure that we were helping each other be faithful.
Often, the times that are most tempting for people is when they are traveling alone. In my experience there are people who will not even try to be strong and are willing to sacrifice their lifetime of happiness with their spouse for one night of lust.
Don’t do it! Go home to scratch your “itch”. Your home remedy is all you need!
Here’s the practical advice:
- Talk to your wife – if you haven’t already, open up. Communications is one of the biggest downfalls in a marriage. If there is one person in the world you can be open and honest about anything with, it’s your wife. You may have to build up to it. Talk about trust and safety together. Then tell them everything you’re thinking and desiring. I’m not saying you’ll get it all, but you’ll find comfort in being able to talk about sexual desires together. You will find that your wife has desires too.
- When traveling – keep to yourself! I have attended many conferences where normally sane adults seem to go crazy. They drink too much and too often do things they will regret. When you’re traveling, call home as frequently as possible. Carry pictures of your wife with you. Put up a large framed picture in your hotel. Carry a wallet size in the front of your wallet. Put her picture as the wallpaper of your phone. Whatever you have to do to remind yourself that you have steak at home and you are just passing through the burger joint.
- Avoid compromising situations – don’t go out to eat 1-on-1 with someone of the opposite sex. Don’t become emotionally involved with someone of the opposite sex. You have friends, religious leaders, and family that you can turn to if you need to talk to someone else. The key is don’t do things that could even lead to disloyalty.
- If you’ve already messed up – seek help. Talk to your wife. Yes she will be hurt and even angry, but it will be better to confess than to be caught. Seek help from your spiritual leaders and even a marriage counselor. The wound can be healed, but it will take work and time.
Above all else: Love Your Wife