Four ways to stay close, connected and passionately in love throughout your marriage.
Is the shelf life for passion in a marriage only two years?
According to recent research by psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky at UC Riverside, married couples tend to experience something called the "two-year passion bump." Also known as the "honeymoon phase," this is usually a time when attraction peaks. During this time, people in couples can't seem to get enough of each another. But only two years?!
Lyubomirsky's research found that after the passion bump, red-hot love morphs into something a little bit different. It can turn into a deepening sense of affection and compassion but lacks that more primal feeling of sexual attraction and connection.
There is a lot of value in having plenty of love, affection and compassion in your relationship. In fact, without these things, passion cannot thrive. There's no doubt that a healthy sense of passion is also a must. Unfortunately, too many couples have relationship problems because they don't have much passion left.
Resentment can build from dissatisfying or infrequent sex, and boredom can set in; irritation and annoyance crop up easily; connection between the couple can become strained or shallow; one (or both) might look outside of the marriage for passion and intimacy. In other words, when passion dies, the very heart of the relationship dies right along with it.
We don't doubt that the two-year passion bump is the trend for many, many married couples and those who are in long-term love relationships together. But, we believe that passion doesn't have to taper off or die after two years, twelve years or even twenty years. It is possible to keep the passion and spark stoked in your relationship. Here's how:
1. Question your beliefs. Just because it's the trend, doesn't mean it's going to be the reality in your relationship. Many couples go into their relationship or marriage with the expectation that passion will die — it seems inevitable.