Here’s the conversation we often avoid unless we’re a few glasses of wine in on a girl’s night out: intimacy in marriage while you’re raising kids. Before you run away from the topic, I promise, there’s room for you here regardless of your opinion and experience.
As always, I’m coming at this from walking this out in my own life. These are my opinions and if they don’t fall in line with what you think or believe, that’s totally fine! I still love you, think you’re great humans, and believe in your marriage. I want you to have an amazing thriving marriage regardless of if these ideas fit with your marriage.
But, like with anything to do with marriage, I think facing the hard topics produces the healthiest relationships. And for those of you who are parents, having that conversation is even MORE important because, let’s face it, you do NOT have time to waste on unsaid expectations!
While Brian and I have our fair share of struggles, the intimacy category hasn’t been one of them. This isn’t because we have it all together, but it’s because early on we made some commitments to each other that have enabled us to be healthy in this category.
So instead of having this conversation with your best girlfriends, here are a few topics I encourage you to have with your spouse.
- Keep your bed your bed. If you don’t have kids, this may sound obvious. But for parents, especially parents of young kids, keeping the bed JUST for you and your spouse can be a challenge. Maybe you started off co-sleeping when they were snuggly newborns, or maybe you were tired of getting up 43 times to help a restless kiddo so you just let them sleep in your bed. This is 100% a personal choice, but for us, it’s been REALLY helpful to create a distinction between our space as husband and wife and our space as mom and dad.
- Keep dating your spouse. I know you’ve heard this 1,000 times but it’s because it’s TRUE. Keeping intimacy alive means spending time with your spouse when you can actually look each other in the eye without having to multitask. And let’s be real, you need to remember that you are a fun person, that your spouse is a fun person, and that you enjoy being together outside of parenting together. I know it’s hard with COVID. I feel it. And I know it’s hard when you’re on a tighter budget. The cost of baby-sitters, a restaurant, etc., can leave you feeling like it’s too much. It’s NOT! Get creative. Set aside a little date night night (check out some of these ideas!) for when the kids go down. Hire a baby-sitter and go for a long walk or drive to the ocean.
Parenting and taking care of your marriage is hard work. There’s a reason marriages fall apart at a record pace. But shying away from these topics with the person we need to be honest with the most is NOT the way to solve those issues.
My hope is that these conversations that have been helpful to us will spark a healthy dialogue with you and your partner. I hope you remember why you’re committed to this thing called marriage, and excited about how you can grow, even when life is hard.