The short answer to your question is by keeping your marriage alive and fresh. Of course, there’s a much more multifaceted response, but this is essentially the key.
Marriage often begins at the apex of two or three years of dating/courtship/engagement, to the point that you think you don’t want to live without each other. This process usually initiates a “high” experienced by individuals when neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin (naturally produced by the human body) get dumped into the limbic system of the brain when you see or meet someone you find attractive. This chemical process makes people feel warm, fuzzy, and emotionally close to each other.
As with other chemical highs, this natural high created by the body that makes people feel in love eventually comes down to more normal levels, leading to lower levels of excitement about the other person. This often happens when people are dating and getting to know each other. If they discover a bad habit in the individual of interest, their levels of attraction may diminish quite rapidly; they may lose interest and even terminate the relationship if the offending habit becomes a deal breaker.
To be sure, individuals whose relationships sustain a healthy level of attraction often get married. They enter this new and permanent level of relationship with a high degree of commitment. But once married, partners become accustomed to each other, begin to develop routines, and lose the level of intense attraction they once had for their marriage partner, since many more flaws tend to surface in the process of living close to each other.
Keeping up the Honeymoon
During the honeymoon period, which extends into early marriage, lovemaking tends to be intense and pleasurable, and the partners seem not to be able to get enough of each other. They often spend their days away from each other, daydreaming about being together again at the end of the day. This is the stage you are identifying as having a sex life that is alive.
As long as marriage partners keep finding things to do together that keep them interested in each other as they did before marriage, their lovemaking will remain vibrant and fresh.
The Bible says: “Love is patient and kind” (1 Cor. 13:4, ESV).* Loving partners who develop the habit of treating their spouses kindly and with patience will sustain a vibrant and happy relationship. Married couples who are happy with each other are more likely to look forward to spending time together, because they have fostered a fondness for each other.
This is why we often say to couples when presenting seminars or in counseling settings: “Find out what your spouse likes, and do it.” The other half of that statement is: “Find out what your spouse doesn’t like, and quit doing it.”
Put these skills into practice as you ask God for help to keep growing in your marriage, and your life will be filled with wonderful experiences with your spouse.
Willie Oliver, PhD, CFLE, an ordained minister, pastoral counselor, and family sociologist, is director for the Department of Family Ministries of the Seventh-day Adventist world headquarters.
Elaine Oliver, PhDc, LCPC, CFLE a licensed clinical professional counselor, educational psychologist and certified family life educator, is associate director for the Department of Family Ministries at the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.