Even when you have a great mindset, making sex a priority when you are raising kids can be challenging. Exhaustion, busyness and feeling over touched can all play a role. Living in survival mode with little time to talk or play leaves our reserves depleted and disconnection can feel hard to overcome. Breaking the cycle and making sex a priority often requires some very intentional choices.
#1 Take Care of Yourself
Just like the airplane emergency instructions, put on your own oxygen mask first and then you can help others. If you constantly serve others, you may have nothing left to give your husband.
For me, taking care of myself meant throwing the kids in a stroller or on their bikes and winding down from the day as I my husband and I talked. I had sacred afternoon nap times when I went to the wood shop to build something and recharge. Jim also sent me out once a week to play in a community band while he watched the kids. Probably the most important thing I did to take care of myself was to teach my kids how to sleep. Getting a full night sleep on a regular basis will not only make you happier but will make your kids happier.
#2 Don’t’ Wait for Your Drive
Realize that women’s sex drives don’t work like a man. Your body may never scream, “I need sex”, or at least rarely. That does not mean that sex is not important for you and for your marriage.
Keep an open mind and ask your husband to help you get on board. Allow yourself to day dream about sex to stoke the fire. Accept his touches and caresses even when sex is not the first thing on your mind. He just wants to feel close to you.
#3 Open Up Your Definition of Sex
The other day I was talking to a young mom of 3 kids. Her husband hoped they could have sex several times a week, and she could not imagine it. So, I suggested, “What if you and your husband had an agreement that 4 nights a week the two of you would go to bed as soon as the kids were in bed. Two of those nights you would just lay in bed, and get naked, and talk, give back rubs, or whatever you wanted. The other two nights you would agree to try get yourself on board to enjoy sex with your husband. All of a sudden, her eyes lit up! “That sounds great”, she said. Even though it required more nights, redefining sex took off the pressure and helped her to look forward to their time connecting.
#4 Break Your Patterns of Avoiding Touch
When I had young kids, I used to avoid my husband’s touch for fear of leading him on. My trying to be considerate actually had several negative impacts. First, neither one of us received the non-sexual touch that helped us stay connected. Second, my husband began to expect sex when I did let him touch me. Which in turn led me to resent him for always expecting sex after cuddling.
Break the cycle. Take ownership for the pattern you have established and ask him to start fresh. Tell him how important it is for the two of you to cuddle, hold hands, and lay skin to skin. But explain that cuddling may not always lead to sex. Maybe your husband craves sex simply because it is the only time he gets touched?
#5 Find a Transition Zone
Most women need some kind of transition zone from their busy day to being able to enter into lovemaking. Some women need to talk through their day, others want a time of silence. A nice walk can help women transition or maybe a soak in the tub. Every woman is different and you need to figure out what works for you. Ask your husband to help provide what you need and make him feel like your hero
#6 Create Shared Initiation
As important as how often you have sex, is whether your husband feels wanted. When you initiate sex and plan something fun for the two of you, he will feel like a million bucks. Sometimes quality it more important than quantity.
To create new patterns set up a plan. For instance, you could agree that between Sunday and Wednesday you will initiate at least once each week, and Thursday to Saturday he gets to plan something. Do your best to get on board as your share initiation
#7 Plan in House Dates
When kids are little, one of the best things we can do is plan in house dates. Rather going out to a movie or dinner and coming home tired, put the kids to bed and stay in. Plan a nice candle light meal, or just spread out a blanket in front of the fireplace. Make a pact to go to be early and exchange back rubs. Dance in the privacy of your bedroom. Explore the guest bedroom or the basement and make some memories
#8 Don’t Always Have Sex at 11 pm
The most common time couples have sex is 11 pm and it is probably the worst time, especially for parents of young kids. Get creative when you have sex. Take advantage of nap time. For older kids, establish a sacred Sunday afternoon mom and dad time when you go up stairs and lock the door for 2 hours. Meet during the day when the kids are in school. Make out in the shower, or try early morning sex. Or just go to bed as soon as the kids are tucked in.
#9 Marital Aids for Quickies
We all have seasons when we feel exhausted with little time for connecting. Often couples end up resorting to quickies just for him, because they simply prefer sleep to taking the time for sex. Consider creating quickies that will work for both of you by using a vibrator or marital aid for a quicker response for the wife. Christian online resources like Married Dance or Covenant Spice provide ways to research options in a safe way.
#10 Get Out for Over-Nighters
One thing that I wish my husband and I had taken more seriously was investing in yearly over-nighters together. Getting away as a couple would have helped me remember the importance of putting my marriage first and maintaining intimacy. Ask grandparents to help, find a college kid home on break that needs to make a few bucks, or set up an exchange with another family. Go crazy and get away, even if it is just for one night a year.
The season of raising kids tugs and pulls you many directions. The best thing that you can do for your kids is to invest in an intimate marriage. Making sex a priority in the midst of the chaos of kids might be just what you need to help each other survive. Let God unite you through sex as you navigate some very busy years, and extend grace to yourself. This too shall pass.
How do you prioritize intimacy in your marriage?