Couple smiling in bed//"What Makes a Man Fall and Stay in Love"(Photo: Chris Craymer, Courtesy of Glamour)

A man in love keeps surprisingly good mental records. Sure, he may occasionally forget your anniversary, but he can still conjure up the transcendent feeling of the first kiss, exactly what you wore when he picked you up at the airport after your European backpack odyssey, and the time he finally confessed how little money he earned and you didn't flinch, making him feel like a million bucks (after taxes).

As a man who has been truly, madly, deeply in love with the same woman for longer than I ever would have imagined possible, I can tell you that the feelings a man has for his dream girl change, evolve, spike and deepen — and when it's the real deal, stay fundamentally, well, true. Paul Newman once attributed his marital success with Joanne Woodward to "correct amounts of lust and respect." I got six men to pause and explain how that ratio shifts and recalibrates from the first minute to the fifth anniversary and beyond. But let me go first ...

At one minute: I was sitting on a bench outside the American Museum of Natural History. She was already 15 minutes late for our blind date. Then a girl in blue jeans started jogging up the stairs, full of life and swaying hair. I had never seen anyone so beautiful. I was finished. I have not recovered.

At one year: She was living in Paris — her dream come true — so we were in love long-distance. Her first several months over there had not been as fun or fulfilling as she'd expected; meantime, they'd killed me. She was considering coming home early, but something told me that if she did and we got married, she'd always feel she'd left something unfinished. So though the words felt almost repulsive coming from my mouth, I told her, "You should stay."

At seven years: In the operating room, moments after her C-section, when our newborn was held up, like Simba in The Lion King, I felt humbled. She was the one who had spent nine months carrying him. She was the one — even with her superhuman tolerance for pain — who winced and moaned in agony as the baby stretched her insides like some Incredible Hulk angling for more space. But she couldn't see him because a curtain blocked her view from the chest down. So in awe of my exhausted, glowing wife, I had the honor of describing to her our firstborn son, Sam.

"She Charmed My Niece"
Adam Zimmerman, 27, lobbyist, Washington, D.C., with his girlfriend for 15 months

At one week: We met online through eHarmony.com. We talked and e-mailed for a week before the first date. As I was walking to the restaurant, I saw this girl in tight jeans in front of me. Man, she looked hot from the back. I thought, "Wouldn't it be cool if that was Julia?" And it was.