Marriage Is No Place for “The Ick”


Photo Caption: Aggressive man clenching fist in anger with crying woman in background. Concept of domestic family violence.

Beware of annoyances that tempt you to think your spouse isn’t the right person for you.

In the past couple of years, there has been a lot of buzz on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram surrounding a phenomenon called “the ick.” It refers to a sudden and dramatic shift in attraction towards a current or potential partner, resulting in a feeling of disgust. Some people believe this change happens instantaneously, triggered by something as simple as chewing loudly, a bad outfit, an unusual sneeze, or a revealed interest that is out of the norm. Those who experience “ick” describe being immediately and irretrievably turned off by their dates.

When someone is dating, sometimes “the ick” can be good and healthy. If there is a real danger, a feeling of repulsion can be a useful defense mechanism to protect us from harm. However, if that feeling becomes a pattern in multiple relationships, something else may be happening internally. It may have very little to do with the other person and be more about a deep response to that person’s habits, actions, or personality quirks.

What happens, then, when “the ick” creeps into a marriage relationship. Maybe you don’t like your spouse’s fashion choices, the way they brush their teeth, or how they clear their throat when they are nervous. Beware of annoyances that tempt you to think your spouse isn’t the right person for you.

Researchers have found that many people have accepted the belief that “destiny” guides their relationships. Surely, God does lead us to certain people before we marry, but marriage is more about fidelity than it is about destiny. If you are already married, then who has God chosen for your spouse? Your spouse! Cultural trends may lead you to believe you have a “soulmate” and your current spouse does not fit that description. The Bible teaches us to stay married if at all possible to our current spouses. Your spouse is your God-given destiny.

And if you are married, stay married. This is the Master’s command, not mine. If a wife should leave her husband, she must either remain single or else come back and make things right with him. And a husband has no right to get rid of his wife (I Corinthians 7:10–11).

That does not mean you won’t have occasional negative feelings about your spouse.

If you find yourself getting “the ick” over your spouse, act quickly. You have the power to change your heart, mind, and attitudes. Here are five ways you can overcome those feelings and return your mind to the place it should be:

  • Focus on the positives.

Create a list of your spouse’s positive qualities and things you appreciate. Redirect your thoughts from negatives to positives.

  • Understand emotional needs.

Learn about each other’s emotional needs and make deliberate efforts to meet them. Show love in ways that your partner recognizes as caring behavior, even if it’s outside your comfort zone.

  • Work on friendship.

Tune in to each other’s feelings and needs, express care, spend quality time together, and have fun to strengthen your friendship.

  • Express affection.

Make a habit of affectionate touch every day. Tender touch is healing and helps fulfill the fundamental human need for connection.

  • Shift your internal dialogue.

When upset with your spouse, change your internal dialogue to emphasize your friendship, fondness, and goodwill. Approach discussions with love and respect.


By implementing these practices, you can get rid of “the ick” and build a more positive and loving relationship with your spouse.

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