When you’re lying in bed after getting up to feed the baby or tuck your toddler back in for what seems like the hundredth time, you may wonder what happened to the sexual spark in your marriage – and worry that it might never come back.
Even though kids don’t know what sex is, they’re often like little vampires, bleeding the life out of our bedroom activities. Isn’t it funny to think they can be so skilled at blocking the very act that brought them here?
Couples therapists say that married and committed partners have to be thoughtful and diligent in protecting their intimate lives from the demands of a busy family life. Here are a few basic suggestions that work well for many couples.
HIRE A RELIABLE BABYSITTER
Get over your fear of leaving your children for a few hours. Seek out responsible student babysitters who will keep your children safe and entertained for a small fee. Enlist friends, siblings and grandparents who will happily do the same, often in exchange for reciprocal favors. It’s the key to having a real grownup date – which, by the way, can take place wherever you want, even at home. Getting the kids out of the house with a safe caregiver and having an hour or more to invest in your relationship is priceless.
Consider drawing on fond memories of single life to create a real getaway. There’s something romantic and downright sexy about having a sitter come to the house and going to a hotel. Who said date night had to be dinner and a movie?
ADOPT A “BACK TO BED” POLICY
At various times, it will be comfy and convenient for kids to sleep with you. Sickness is a common reason to bring children into your bed for a few nights. But take care that this arrangement doesn’t become permanent. Parents need their own intimate space – and remember, this doesn’t mean they don’t love their children. It’s an acknowledgement of the importance of the marriage relationship at the center of your family.
Here’s a compromise you can try with little ones who are moving through a transition or need more reassurance. Allow them to fall asleep in your bed, but remind them as they’re drifting off that one of you will carry them to their own beds when it’s time for everyone to go to sleep.
GET IN BED EARLY WHENEVER YOU CAN
Bedtime might be the only time of day when you have a few minutes to yourselves. Once your kids are tucked in, avoid the temptation to scramble around the house cleaning up and tackling chores left undone during the day. Set a time limit – and when it comes, honor your need to head into the quiet. Going to bed on time opens a window of opportunity to stay open for romance.
EVERY NOW AND THEN, TALK ABOUT SOMETHING BESIDES THE KIDS
Marriage counselors remind their clients that sex isn’t just about opportunity. It’s also about staying connected with one other. If you’re feeling too distant, when the chance for intimacy arises, you may have no idea how to bridge the gap. Constant focus on your children’s needs may weaken the bond between you. First and foremost, remember that you love each other — and that’s why you want to have sex in the first place.
WORRIED ABOUT KIDS AND YOUR MARRIAGE? JANAE MUNDAY CAN HELP
Janae Munday, LCSW, a skilled marriage counselor in the Phoenix, Arizona area, has years of experience in helping married and committed couples create the relationships they really want. If balancing the needs of family, career and intimacy has become too much for both of you, give Janae a call now.