8 Ways to Add Spark (and Sex!) to Your Marriage After KidsSamantha Ettus
February is the month for romance and the ideal excuse to turn the spotlight on your marriage. Once you implement these 8 steps, your intimacy will be the envy of the playground!
1. Synchronize Your Schedules
Sure it’s tempting to send email late into the night while he falls asleep in front of the TV, but if this sounds familiar, you need to change this pattern. If you crawl into bed at the same time as your spouse each night, sex is an option. If you don’t, it is completely off the table. Your goal is warm bodies cuddling every night.
2. Make Your Husband Your Gay Best Friend
In the best marriages, spouses are best friends. Your husband should have the most intel on your life. Do you have good news? Tell him first. Bad news? Tell him first. Leaning on your husband leads to greater connection and intimacy.
3. Do Bite-sized Check Ins
Over a glass of wine or a cup of tea, make time to have a 20 minute check in each day morning or night. Keep it to 20 minutes or your partner is less likely to want to do it tomorrow. The daily check-in results in intimacy because it literally holds your life together and insures you are on the same path.
4. Have a Weekly Date Night
Set up a weekly sitter so that date night becomes as much a part of your schedule as work or school. And remember that date night is not for problem solving. If you are doing your bite-size dailies, there is no need to use date nights for anything but fun. Trade off the planning responsibilities and enjoy.
5. Create Your Dreamables
Remember when you first met and the two of you giddily talked about your vision for the future? Just as a growing company periodically rethinks their plan, at least once a year you want to dream with your partner. Look 3-5 years ahead, look 10 years ahead. Think about careers, kids, travel, health, and money. Dreaming together is a great reminder that you are a team. Dream achievable – set a vision that you can aim for and get to.
6. Settle on a Sex Quota
Every couple is different and you need to do what works for both of you. Talk to your spouse about how much you each want to be having sex, meet in the middle and aim to achieve it! Getting in touch with each other’s desires will help you meet one another’s needs.
7. Fly Solo
The two of you need to do a couple’s trip without kids at least once a year. Even two days at a local hotel will rejuvenate your marriage. And go guilt-free because taking some time to intensely connect will benefit the whole family upon your return. It is hard to be an unhappy kid with two happy parents.
8. Be United
As parents you are faced with hundreds of decisions on a weekly basis and if you don’t discuss issues as they arise, they can create wedges between you. The more you communicate about your philosophies and styles when the kids are not listening, the better a team you will be when they are. Getting on the same page will erase a lot of the natural tension that comes with parenting. Support one another and your marriage will thrive.
Find inspiration in these happily married parents who recently enjoyed date nights:
Julia Beck and Robert Mazer, Washington DC 1 of 11"We consider date night the most essential element of our relationship. We schedule at least 2-3 a month. We avoid the scene and look for a place where we can indulge in great food, well-selected wines and each other!"
Michelle Villemaire & Jonathan Abrahams, Los Angeles, CA 2 of 11"After the kids have gone to sleep and we are alone together, turning off our phones helps us reconnect. Our days are dramatically different and uninterrupted conversation gives us each a glimpse into the other's world. Thankfully, there's always something to laugh about and that's when I feel most close to him."
Amanda and Jeff Peppercorn, Chapel Hill, NC 3 of 11"We used to go on date night every couple of weeks although we go out much more lately now that our daughter is old enough to watch her younger brothers!"
Annette Jacaruso-Cohen and Perry Cohen, New York, NY 4 of 11"We try to go on a date night every week. Perry loves to go to the movies and I love to dine."
Jordanna Fraiberg and Alex LeVine, Los Angeles, NY 5 of 11"We stay connected by communicating about everything, and by having dinner together almost every night. We make special evenings at home when we can't make it out."
Meredith and Ilan Glenn, Syosset, NY 6 of 11"We stay connected by making sure we spend 20-30 minutes before we fall asleep catching up on the days events. That way we are always on the same page when we go to sleep and start off our day in the morning."
Jill and Derek Amery, West Vancouver BC 7 of 11"We have a 'date' night at least weekly, though it doesn't always mean we go out. Usually on Friday nights we will put the kids to bed and then cook dinner together. We have a romantic table set up in the bedroom and have dinner there. A restaurant without the childcare costs and better wine! We've been doing this since the first one was born 7 years ago."
Mindy and Todd Rodenburg, Denver, Colorado 8 of 11"I surprised my husband with our last date night by writing on the bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker saying I had all the details planned for a surprise night and to be ready."
Barbara and Todd Prinkey, Atlanta GA 9 of 11"We try our damndest to have a once-a-month-kid-free night that will usually include a live band or sporting event of some sort after a dinner out at a place we hope not to find kids! The date nights are reminders of what it was like for us just ten years ago, still in our thirties. Without it, I think we'd both lose our minds."
Pam and Charlie Guyer, Hamilton, MA 10 of 11"We sit with each other for a cup of coffee in the morning or at night and just focus on us, what is going on in our lives and making sure we are on the same page for the family and our busy calendar. We use a lot of humor in almost everything we do."
Erica and Hilly Diamond, Montreal, Quebec, Canada 11 of 11"We keep an open dialogue, and make the time for each other. You get out what you put in, every time, no exceptions. So we make each other a priority, before all else."