How To Make The 'Honeymoon Phase' Last Forever, According To Research

Here's how to never leave the best phase of a relationship.

happy couple kissing DGLimages | Shutterstock

Is the shelf life for passion in marriage only two years?

According to 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 other. 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 attraction and connection.


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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 intimacy, and boredom can set in; irritation and annoyance crop up easily; the 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 to make the honeymoon phase last forever, according to research:

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.


Maybe you've seen the spark go out in the relationships of others. You've read headlines and studies that tell you that it's just not possible to feel as excited and fresh in your relationship as when you first got together.

So, you've resigned yourself to the belief that this will happen to you and your partner too. Passion will peak and eventually decline and you'll have to learn to be okay with that.

We can't know what will be true in your relationship, but we do know that you can have a passion that continues to grow over the years. The two-year bump trend can be busted. Even if you don't fully believe us when you have a thought that passion will inevitably die, stop and ask yourself the question: "Can I really know if that will be true for me?"

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2. Remove passion blockers

A really great way to keep passion alive is to figure out what's standing in the way of it. What are the habits that both you and your spouse have that squash love and stamp out fiery connection?

The passion blocker in your relationship might be the way you pick and nag at each other. It could be how busy you two are and how little time you take to be together. Or, it might be something else.

Without blaming, take an honest look at the usual ways you and your partner interact with one another and notice what specifically seems to dampen the passion. Your next step is to stop doing those things if you want to learn how to make the honeymoon phase last! Start out with your own behavior and create agreements with your partner to also work together on this.

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3. Invite more passion

As you start to clear away the blocks, consciously invite in more passion. This can begin with you. Has your approach to life become somewhat mundane and routine? Do you tend to stick with the way you've "always done things" instead of experimenting with something new?

You don't have to throw out everything you like and are comfortable with but do open the door and step outside your norm. Get in touch with what piques your interest and what gets you charged up. It can be simple or more radical. This might involve taking some risks at work, trying out a new hobby or activity, reading a different genre of book, or listening to music you've never listened to before.

The point here is to keep your own experience of life invigorating and feeling fresh. Know that you can't easily bring more passion into your relationship with your partner if you're not also opening up to passion individually.

Make a conscious decision to interact with your partner in passion-promoting ways. This doesn't always have to mean physical passion, but it's wonderful when it does. You can share a passion for renovating your bathroom together or volunteering in your community together. This kind of passion can positively affect passion in the bedroom too!


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4. When passion strikes, make the most of it

When you and your spouse do share a passionate moment, recognize that and savor it. In a long-term relationship, you most likely aren't going to spend all day long in bed together or feel red-hot attraction toward one another every second of every day. That's okay. Just because you don't feel passion for one another each and every moment, doesn't mean that passion is dying.

Acknowledge the passion you two share. You might feel the passion as you two kiss. You might feel the passion when you hold hands and walk through the park together. You might feel passion when you think about a kind word or compliment your partner said to you that morning before work. 


Shine a light on those moments of passion and really make the most of them. Let your partner know how great it felt when you two shared (or are sharing) that kiss or walk in the park. This will help ensure that more and more passionate moments happen!

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Susie and Otto Collins are relationship coaches and authors who help couples communicate, connect, and create the relationship they desire.