I can’t continue with the ‘The Secrets to Staying in Love’ series without stressing the importance of physical intimacy. According to Dr. Phil, sexual relationship accounts for 10% of a good marriage but 90% of a bad one. Sex can be of enormous symbolic importance: it can be the greatest single factor of disappointment in a relationship.

Psychotherapist Esther Perel who is fluent in nine languages, has traveled around the globe to ask people this simple question, “When are you most drawn to your partner?”

The same answers kept on coming back: 1) When she is away; when I am looking forward to our reunion. 2) When I see him on stage; when he is in his element; when she is doing something she is passionate about. 3) When I am surprised; when we laugh together.

The common themes behind these answers are that lovers desire to get back in touch with their imaginations with their partners. Even though we long for closeness, admiring our partners from a comfortable distance makes them more illusive and mystic. Humans also crave novelty. We try everything in our power to get rid of boredom that is like watered-down pain.

Marriage used to be an economic institution, with the main objective for two people to become partners for life in order to have and raise children. Men typically were the breadwinners and women the nurturers. The 21st century marriages are characterized by companionship. Now we want security, dependability and permanence but at the same time we also desire adventure, novelty and mystery. We want our spouse to be our best friend and passionate lover in addition to being our domestic partner. Perel points out that at the heart of sustaining desire in a committed relationship is the reconciliation of the two seeming contracting fundamental human needs.

Your styles of loving and being loved as adults have their origins in early childhood. Sex life follows the three love styles (secure, avoidant, anxious) as well. Sex isn’t something to do, but some place to be.

Humans typically want something even more when they can’t have it. So can we sustain the desire for something we already have? The answer is ‘yes’. Anthropologist Helen Fisher studies gender differences and the evolution of human emotions. She and her colleagues put 37 people who were madly in love or just had been dumped or claimed that they were still in love after 10 to 25 years of marriage under the functional MRI brain scanners. They identified the brain regions associated with intense romantic love, with calculating gains and losses and with deep attachment to another individual. It turned out that the people who self-reported being in love in a long-term relationship didn’t lie. The brain areas associated with intense romantic love still became active after 25 years of marriage.

The secrets to staying in love lie in your willingness to work hard for your relationship and your love and commitment towards each other. A sense of humor can be the best way to release the tension and steam. When we cherish one another’s dreams, we feel seen, accepted, valued and motivated. Keep dating and stay intimately connected physically and emotionally. Love and admire your imperfect man and he will be drawn to become your partner for life, your lover, best friend as well as someone who can also be adventurous, funny and who will continue to make you laugh and be the biggest cheerleader of your aspirations.