Seventh year of marriage is the most challenging for American couples according to new research

It looks like the seven-year itch may be a reality, as a new poll reveals that this is the year that American married couples believe to be the hardest.

The new survey, conducted by market researchers OnePoll and commissioned by Pure Romance, polled 1,000 people across the country who have been married for at least five years with the average respondent having been hitched to their current spouse for 20 years.

The results found that the average honeymoon stage lasts just under nine months (eight months and 26 days to be precise), though one in three Americans say that their honeymoon period lasted more than a year.

Married couples have, on average, around four minor verbal squabbles per month--48 per year, with the most common argument being over finances. Half of the respondents rated money as a top issue, followed by home chores (31 percent), their sex life (16 percent) and the in-laws (13 percent).

Luckily, most don’t let things drag on for too long, with American couples making up after a fight in just a few hours - five on average.

Yet things don’t always go so smoothly. Despite the famous saying ‘don’t go to bed angry,’ a whopping 72 percent admit to doing just that, tucking in for a night’s sleep without having resolved a simmering argument. Not just that, but the average married American has done so at least once per month.

As for getting along between the sheets, 39 percent say sex gets even better the longer the marriage lasts, while 25 percent feel it actually gets worse and 78 percent think it is important that a married couple has similar sex drives in order to last.

While 14 percent would describe their sexual intimacy as ‘non-existent,’ 57 percent say they have a good or excellent sex life.

However, 38 percent also think that they would be happier in their marriage if they introduced a bit of an edge into their bedroom activities whether that be with sex toys, new positions or fantasies. More than half (56 percent) also think that more foreplay and better communication in the bedroom would vastly improve things.

"There are countless ways to keep a marriage in a position to last,” said Patty Brisben, Founder of the Cincinnati-based Pure Romance. “When it comes down to it, being openly communicative about what you want--whether that be in terms of your family, bank account or what you desire in the bedroom, is undeniably important.”

"Communication is key to sustaining all healthy relationships,” continued Brisben. “You should be communicating with your significant other not just about your day to day comings and goings, but your desires in the bedroom. If you are looking for ways to keep the spark alive introducing a bedroom toy or lotion will undoubtedly add excitement.”

But there are also plenty of little things a partner can do to help keep the peace in a marriage, with 49 percent saying a hug and kiss goodnight can make a world of difference. Other small gestures include enjoying meals together, asking about your spouse’s day and taking care of your appearance.

It’s no secret that marriage can be a lot of work, so it isn’t a surprise that 43 percent of respondents thought their marriage was in trouble in the early years. One in five married people admit they have even considered breaking up.

About 12 percent of respondents say that they have at one time or another sought professional help for their marriage, and another 22 percent have considered it at some point.

Of those that did see a professional, the average point in the marriage was, the seventh year.

Brisben added: "Whether you’ve been married for 10 weeks or 10 years, Pure Romance has something for everyone that is guaranteed to stimulate a honeymoon phase that can last forever. The survey shows the majority of couples think foreplay and better communication in the bedroom can improve their sex life, we have found that to be 100 percent true in our decades of business at Pure Romance. In fact, better communication in and out of the bedroom it is a sure fire way to save a marriage. The positive news is every couple has the ability to improve their relationship and sex life. Couples that step outside of box and trying new are usually very pleased with the results.

Top 10 Things That Make a Marriage Strong According to Pure Romance Founder Patty Brisben

  1. Supporting each other through tough times
  2. Knowing when to bite your tongue
  3. Not taking each other for granted
  4. Remembering the little things
  5. Building a home together
  6. Being open when it comes to sex
  7. Being able to confide in them about anything
  8. Agreeing to disagree sometimes
  9. Being in tune with each other
  10. Missing your partner when they are away
Jackie ReauTRENDS