While there are children in the home, we often throw our marriage to the background. Our daily schedules revolve around feedings, changing, bedtime, bath time, homework, youth sports, and the list goes on. It’s inevitable. Just when you think the kids are asleep and you make a move with your spouse, the baby starts crying or your other child ends up standing at the foot of your bed.
Passion wanes. Time for adventure disappears. It is, however, possible to capture time with your spouse before passion fades. Here are a few ideas:
1. Establish a schedule.
Schedules are important for kids and their development. It also helps spouses to create time for each other. This could be as simple as scheduling a weekly dinner, lunch date, coffee break, or a regular sexual encounter together. Scheduling this does not lessen the passion and heat despite the lack of spontaneity. You can be spontaneous during the encounter. Scheduling time together creates room for anticipation.
2. Utilize babysitters or family members.
There are many very capable teenagers in your community interested in earning a little bit of money while you take your spouse out for the evening. The beauty of this option is the kids get someone new to play and interact with, while you get a break together. Be sure to plan your evening out to ensure you don’t return home until after the kids are in bed and asleep. That way, if the date has gone well, there will be the possibility of an uninterrupted nightcap.
To create a better flow toward the end of the date, look for a babysitter who either drives or can get to and from your home easily. An even better option is to utilize family members that live nearby. It’s amazing to me the number of couples I’ve met who haven’t had their kids stay overnight with family members or friends. Not only do you and your spouse benefit from this time, your kids do as well. They experience an expanded range of people who love and care for them. This can set a foundation for greater self-confidence and growth as they develop. It also begins to create a village mindset in the raising of your children. The best thing about the family option is the likelihood that the kids will be out of the house the whole night.
3. Use secret signals or code words.
It’s often difficult to have conversations that may lead to deeper, more intimate connections when you’re interrupted every five minutes by one kid tattling on the other or needing something from you. You can overcome these interruptions by creating another language or codes to use with each other. Use language or codes based on whatever you would be saying to each other if given the opportunity. If this type of language isn’t part of your normal dialogue, then create it together.
Your code could be as simple as lighting a candle that is centrally located in the home as a signal one spouse is interested in an encounter. Whether the encounter is sexual or emotional is up to you. It could be as complex as learning a second language. How great of a motivation would it be if you were trying to woo your spouse in another language? If your kids begin to understand the language, they would only discover more about the love and desire you have for your spouse. There are far worse things they probably already know about you.
4. Be a lover to your kid’s other parent.
As your kids grow older, there’s nothing wrong with informing them of your plans to be alone with your spouse. You don’t have to give details, but claim the time you want to spend with your spouse and let the kids know they aren’t invited to join or interrupt. When your spouse and the marriage are a priority, the kids benefit. In fact, research now shows that when the marriage is the focus rather than the kids, it’s better for the family. I have always believed that the best thing you can do for your kids is to love your spouse. Hold hands, talk, hug, kiss, sit by each other, and cuddle in front of your kids. They may be jealous that they aren’t getting the attention, but in time, they’ll be glad you paved the way for their future relationships.
Kids in the home can present obstacles to passion and adventure in marriage, but they aren’t the only reason passion wanes. By overcoming the hurdles that kids place on our schedules and a marriage, you will see what else may be going on in the marriage. Children can provide a buffer for a stale marriage. If that’s the case, you’ll need to work harder to individually and relationally address the other concerns. Marriage is work, but the things in life that require work tend to be worth it.
For more resources and information, visit MarriageFullyAlive.com.