I read quite a few mommy blogs and yesterday, I came across a post that really made me think. A woman was saying that she was recently asked if she loves her husband of 12 years and the question made her think. Ultimately, the conclusion she came up with was that she loved her husband like an old sweater and was no longer, “in love.” A lot of other women chimed in and added phrases like, “indentured servant” and other troubling things.
Within an hour of reading the post, I turned to “the Google.” I asked: How to keep the love alive after children. I read article after article and came up with the following as my “favorites” (obviously, I emailed them to my hubs right away):
- “Sometimes my husband and I take a vacation day during the week and have a date while our daughter’s at daycare. We have a leisurely lunch, then catch a movie. It’s a treat for her to have both Mommy and Daddy pick her up, and we love having the evening together, refreshed after our ‘couple time.’ “
- “Our secret is simple, and we only recently rediscovered it: Going to bed at the same time. It sounds trite, but for nearly six years, my husband stayed up late to catch some quiet time alone. It’s hard to have much of a sex life — or any kind of intimacy — when one partner crawls into bed after the other’s asleep. Going to bed at the same time facilitates ‘pillow talk’ and all that goes with it.”
- “I always make sure to hug my husband when he comes home from work, no matter how busy I am. It takes just two seconds to reconnect with him, and it’s well worth it.”
- “We remind ourselves that in 18 years our daughter will leave us, but that we’re forever. This helps us make decisions to invest in our marriage — date nights at least twice a month, occasional weekends away, prolonged kisses at the door, spontaneous sex during afternoon naps, and loving conversations in front of our toddler (to show her how important we are to each other). My parents did the same, and it gave me a wonderful sense of peace to know that they loved each other so much.”
- “Okay, men, as much as I hate to admit it, sharing responsibilities is the way to keep romance alive. I get up at night to feed the baby (now that she’s not solely nursed anymore). I give her baths. I share the work equally with my wife. One tired parent does nothing for romance — so help your partner with the housework!”
- “I tell my wife that I love her as often as I can. I watch out for knee-jerk responses to irritating things. I remind myself to look at the big picture. I make sure that I cuddle with her at bedtime; sometimes I just cuddle ‘instead’ — it always pays off right then, and later on (wink, wink). And every evening we have a few minutes of ‘Mommy and Daddy talk’ when we get home. The kids have to amuse themselves for a little while, but they’re better served by parents who’ve had a chance to reconnect.”
- Babies often find night time to be the best time to bond with parents, making romance a hit or miss situation, but that is just fine. Baby will make you change your life schedule a million and one times before he grows up and moves out of the house. If you want to get frisky, try the day time hours. Babies are more apt to sleep the majority of the day on a more predictable pattern. So, as soon as that morning or afternoon nap starts, take some time just for Mom and Dad and keep those fires burning.
- Focus on all the reasons you appreciate each other. I won’t pretend that there aren’t hundreds of distractions working against us in the romance department, but we can’t let them completely take over our lives. Today I need to repair the brakes on our van, reorganize the website content for Power of Moms, return our library books, host a play group, and complete dozens of other tasks (just like you . . . I know I’m not alone here), but in the midst of all that, I can think about why I love my husband, and I can let him know I love him. A quick text message saying, “Thanks for buying me flowers this week” or “I think you’re very handsome” can go a long way. One day he wrote love messages all over our bathroom mirror with dry erase markers, and I loved it.
When we both got home from work, my sweet guy and I talked about the different suggestions and our relationship. While we know children and marriage in general put a strain on a relationship, we were both feeling confident in our love and the way we work together. We had to laugh, because my husband pointed out that many marriages blend two independent people with a lot of independent hobbies, etc. Where as my husband and I pretty much do everything together. While I do the bulk of the cooking and he does the hard labor, even those things are things we do together. While I’m cooking, Marky will be washing the dishes or helping to chop vegetables or anything in the kitchen. And while Mark is hacking down trees in the yard, I’m picking up sticks and raking and pretty much doing anything possible to be around him. While this isn’t the answer to everything, we talked about how we want to care for our baby and it really is a similar, tag-team approach.
I know we’ve only been married a year and will face far more difficult challenges than those faced to-date, but even just talking about it with Mark made me feel better. I know that when I’m ready to pull my hair out at 4 am with a crying baby, he’ll be by my side, “tagging in” for duty.
I really love my husband.
A few things to report… 1) my back still hurts… a lot. I need to remember to call the chiropractor. 2) Today I had to say goodbye (for now) to my dearest little friend, Kate, who is moving to Seattle tomorrow. We had a great lunch together – a perfect farewell – but I can’t help but feel very sad for myself as she moves on. We’ve been friends for what feels like forever and I will truly miss her. Thank goodness for FaceTime and a ton of prior commitments this summer (including her wedding) that will bring her back to me at least a few times. Love you, Katiekins. 3) Last night, we were getting ready for bed (at a very slow pace) and while I brushed my teeth, the tiny lady was squiqqling around. She apparently got comfortable, because by the time I got into bed an hour later, she had settled in and seemed to be sleeping. So, imagine her surprise when Marky started to read her bedtime story… at an abnormally loud volume… right up against my belly. Needless to say, she nearly jumped out of my body! That mean dad startled the poor girl! It was pretty silly actually. And one more… 4) Yesterday I was in the car belting out to the new John Legend song… I love it. Anyway, I decided to give the baby boo a little massage as I sang “to her,” so I noticed the right side of my belly looked further out than the left, so that’s where I massaged. Within a minute, she adjusted to put her little butt up against my hand and enjoy a closer massage. That’s my girl 🙂 Oy. I love her. She’s so silly.