Remember when you first started dating your husband? Once upon a time, you couldn’t keep your mind off him. You wanted to be with him every minute. Your heart told you he was “the one”—so you started planning a wedding, your Dad walked you down the aisle, and you all lived happily ever after. The end.
That’s where movies would tell us the story wraps up, but we know it’s just the beginning. Because after the honeymoon you discovered he leaves his socks crumpled on the floor, or he insists on watching the football game when you’ve been waiting months for the Masterpiece premiere.
It seems to be a fact of life: When you live with someone, you will get annoyed by that someone.
And then babies enter the picture, and all bets are off. Now we’re bogged down by sleep training, potty charts, tripping over toys and arguing about whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher. And that old spark? Forget about it. You’ve had kids climbing over you all day. The last thing you want is one more person grabbing for your private parts, especially when you’re half dead exhausted.
At some point in every marriage-with-kids, a woman may realize her relationship with her husband now looks a lot different from what she imagined on her wedding day. But it doesn’t have to.
Marriage can be fun and exciting again. It can be a comfort and a safe haven even as it’s sometimes a source of stress. I’m not talking about fairy tale romance—I’m talking about a healthy, give-and-take, imperfect relationship that honors your husband, your children, yourself, and most importantly, God.
How do we reclaim it?
1. Focus on friendship
Repeat after me: I like my husband. He is my friend, not my enemy. How easily do we forget? Husbands and wives are not adversaries; they’re on the same team. Think back to the early days of your relationship, before family responsibilities claimed your time and energy. What did you enjoy doing together? Find an activity the two of you can share—and do it. Quality “friend” time builds up your relationship, and your kids will be greatly encouraged to see the two of you laughing and playing together.
2. Plan for romance
Spontaneity isn’t easy with kids on our heels. In order to keep the romance alive, a little planning might be in order. Yes, babysitters cost money, and yes, you might be too tired for dinner and a movie at the end of a long child-rearing day. But consider creative, inexpensive date ideas as an alternative to traditional date night in order to keep your romantic connection alive through the child-rearing years. You can find a list of good ones here.
3. Make time for you-know-what
God created sex for a reason. Let’s trust that He knows what He’s doing. Physical intimacy begets emotional intimacy, which is necessary for open communication and goodwill toward your spouse. Think back to the days before you were married when you just couldn’t wait to get to do it. Those crazy kids are still in there somewhere, buried beneath the piles of grocery bags and soccer shoes. Invite them to reconnect on a regular basis, and they’ll be better equipped to face this crazy world of family life like the power team they were always meant to be.
“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Mark 10:9)