To avoid giving your spouse "leftover love," you need to schedule time for sex. It's "the best way to ensure intimacy," says Dr. Ellen, who adds that such planning can actually create anticipation. And don't say that you can't find the time. That's a poor excuse for sacrificing your most important relationship. Dr. Ellen says you need to do three times as much to keep your mate as you did to win your mate. Couples should spend one weeknight alone together and one weekend every three months without the kids.
Don't Let Obstacles Get in Your Way
To have a healthy love life after children, it's important to make your relationship with your spouse your top priority. Here are some of the most common obstacles to avoid:
- You can't find a baby sitter. Many couples use this excuse because they feel guilty leaving their kids after working all day. Tell your kids that you need one night a week for grown-up time. Let them help pick a sitter they like and schedule him or her every week for six months. The kids will start to look forward to your night out, too.
- You don't have money for a sitter. Many couples can't afford a sitter every week. Arrange a baby-sitting swap with a neighbor or friend. Or establish a "do not disturb" rule one night a week. Set your children up with a movie, sleeping bags, popcorn and breakfast items for the morning.
- You're too tired to go out. Do it anyway. Going out will decrease your stress. You'll feel energized and relaxed when you return.
- You don't feel romantic. It's common when juggling work and children to feel this way. Start sending positive messages to yourself about your sexuality. Some affirmations that can help are: "I love my body," "I love being touched and touching," "I love sex." If you really can't get in the mood, try sleeping in each other's arms or have your partner give you a massage and see what happens next.
- There's not enough time. Make the time. Wake up early or stay up later. Divide household responsibilities with your partner so you can have some time together. Make the children's dinner and feed them in a separate room while you have a romantic dinner with your spouse.