The honeymoon stage in a marriage starts as soon as the wedding ends. It normally soars during the honeymoon, when a couple has the time and desire to completely focus on one another and block out the rest of the world.
Togetherness, love, and affection, along with frequent sex, are the hallmarks of the honeymoon stage. It's also a time when most couples are at their physical peak and look their best.
Nothing and no one is more interesting to the new couple than each other, and they may prefer a honeymoon getaway where they can enjoy themselves in privacy and without any interruptions.
During the honeymoon stage, friends and family may start to feel somewhat neglected as the couple's intimacy excludes them. It's perfectly normal behavior.
It's Not All About Sex
The honeymoon stage is a period of discovery, when you learn new things about your partner every day, for better or worse. Normally, you feel simply intoxicated when you're in the company of your lover. Yet there may be a jolting moment, when it hits you profoundly: This is the person I have vowed to spend the rest of my life with. Your spouse has flaws, you realize. As do you! Accepting that is all part of adjusting to your new life together.
This phase is also when you begin to make major decisions that you may not have discussed prior to the wedding.
It's also a time when you begin to forge habits and introduce rituals that will define your marriage for years to come.
How Long Does the Honeymoon Stage Last?
Typically, the honeymoon stage of a relationship lasts for at least a year. According to an article in The New York Times:
"American and European researchers tracked 1,761 people who got married and stayed married over the course of 15 years. The findings were clear: newlyweds enjoy a big happiness boost that lasts, on average, for just two years. Then the special joy wears off and they are back where they started, at least in terms of happiness."
Then other concerns such as work, family issues, financial pressures, and health may begin to pressure one member of the couple to adjust his or her focus from the new spouse to elsewhere. Often the couple is able to bounce back and reinvigorate their intoxication with one another.
For some couples, the honeymoon stage stretches three to five years and sometimes longer. In most cases, the honeymoon stage comes to a gradual halt and is replaced by deepening love and domesticity.
The arrival of the first child, and the needs and demands of that new life, always signals the end to this stage in a couple's relationship.
Keep the Flame Alive
Once you reach the point in your relationship where you feel your passion waning, there are things you can do to keep the spark going:
- Say "I love you" every day.
- Send a sweet text to let your partner know you're thinking of him or her.
- Pursue a new hobby or sport together.
- Take a different kind of honeymoon.
- Sign up for dance lessons — and go!
- Have date nights and game nights.
- Send him or her flowers... just because.
- Spend time apart; absence does make the heart grow fonder!
- Vow to explore a different part of town once a month.
- Schedule a romantic weekend getaway or longer if you can steal the time.
Can a Honeymoon Last Forever?
While some couples claim to be on a perpetual honeymoon, it's unrealistic to expect that to happen. The good news, though, is that it can return if you can wait until the kids are out of the house in 20 years or so — and then you may just find all the love and laughter, sex and sunniness return to your life.