5 Ideas for Couples Struggling to Connect After a New Baby

Recently I received an email from a woman that had taken an Awaken Love class. Though she has embraced God’s design for sex, the arrival of another baby has left her struggling to connect with her husband.

I just had a baby about two months ago. During pregnancy and now with an infant and toddler our intimate life has been a struggle. I’m really having a hard time getting in the mood. I have a baby nursing all day long and still have some residual healing that needs to take place post birth. My husband is getting sexually frustrated and I’m sort of at a loss. It feels like I serve the kids all day long and then don’t have it in me to serve him by being there sexually. I feel like my body is just a milk machine. Do you have any advice? Is it okay to be less intimate during this life phase? I just mentally struggle with feeling like I’m ‘faking it’ with him because I do not feel sexual or turned on, no matter how hard I try 🙁 Any advice would be wonderful!

Seasons of life filled with exhaustion present extra challenges. But I am so glad this young mom asked for advice. Instead of letting the lack of sex drive a wedge in her marriage, working together they can embrace the opportunity to redefine intimacy. No easy answers exist for the exhaustion that babies, nursing and raising kids create. So let me just offer a few ideas for couples to ponder and maybe try….

Remove the Pressure

Take the pressure off and try to just connect physically. Tell your husband how hard the thought of sex is, but you know that connecting physically is important. Ask him if once you get the kids down, to crank up the heat, and just get in bed with you with no expectations or pressure. Wives need to relax and warm up to their husband’s touch again. Their husband needs to be touched too, regardless of whether you have sex. I would suggest that you do this at least weekly or a couple of times a week.

Give Your Body Time to Heal

If intercourse is still painful and your body needs time to heal, then take the time and do not force things. The two of you can share manual or oral stimulation together until intercourse can be a positive experience for both of you.

Take Care of Yourself

You need to take care of yourself and your husband needs to help. Even if you are nursing, he can care for the baby and toddler at least for an hour or two. Get out of the house, or take a bath and just relax. The more that your husband cares for the kids by himself, the more he will understand why you are so tired. The more he takes care of you, the more capacity you have to engage with him.

Avoid Lust

Your husband must carefully guard his eyes from lust – especially when you are unavailable. Lust can happen with his eyes, his thoughts, or even through the lyrics of songs. Avoiding lust will help him see you as a person and not just as the sexy wife that he loves to have sex with.

Ways to Release Tension

You could have a conversation about him taking things into his own hands once in a while. Be careful and discerning about whether this is a good idea. But better to talk about it then to just ignore it.

When we had 4 little girls, my husband did not even want me to feel guilty about being unavailable. Once in a while in the shower, he would think about me, and release some tension, so that he could be a gentler, kinder husband. Other men will masturbate next to their wife so that she can share in the experience if she wants to.

Better to be open with your husband, then to ignore the situation. If you decide masturbation is a helpful option, he must think only about you. Ask him to share with you every time so that nothing is hidden. Pray together and ask for discernment on whether masturbation will create intimacy in your marriage or division.

Final Thoughts

Though raising a family can create challenges in marriage, I encourage you to embrace it as an opportunity to create intimacy. Open up your definition of sex and connection. Learn how to talk to each other about hard things. Create a new realization for each other’s strengths and challenges. And learn how to love each other in a new way.

10 Practical Tips to Make Sex a Priority

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.

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A New Mindset to Embrace Sex when Parenting

Raising kids is hard! Even though I am now an empty nester, I remember well the days of changing diapers, wiping spit-up off my clothes and interrupted nights of sleep. With 4 kids under the age of 6, I wish I had known then what I know now about sex. Surviving those years, I often felt isolated, exhausted, and on opposite teams from my husband. Sex always seemed to be the last thing on my “to do” list. I found myself feeling resentful when Jim would gently coax me towards connection. Though I am sure some practical choices might have helped for a while, they would have just acted like a band-aid that eventually falls off. What I really needed was a whole new mindset toward sex.

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Beyond Purity – Living with Sexual Integrity

Our world has drastically changed in the last 30 years. The internet provides endless knowledge, opinions and images – both positive and negative. Definitions for marriage and sexuality continue to morph as culture changes. We live in a fast-paced world constantly bombarded with sexual messages. And most churches have failed to respond to the challenges and real questions that people face.  Rather than focusing on sexual purity we need to strive to equip people to live with sexual integrity, no matter our age or marital status. God creates us as sexual beings from the day we were born until the day we die. Rather than a sprint for purity that we win or lose, we must strive to live with sexual integrity every day of our life.

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Today’s version of Sex Education – Teen Vogue?

Teen Vogues article in July 2018 titled Anal Sex: What You Need to Know – How to do it the RIGHT way created an uproar from both parents and conservatives. People were alarmed about the subject matter and whether Teen Vogue has the right to provide that kind of information.  The article really just resurfaced the timeless issue of sex education. What is the difference between appropriate knowledge to help kids make good choices and information that leads to poor decisions?

Who should educate kids and what if they aren’t?

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PORN – What’s a Parent to Do?

When I was in second grade, my best friend showed me her dad’s giant stash of Playboy magazines neatly stacked on the garage shelf. She gingerly pulled a couple of issues down to sneak into her bedroom for closer examination. We crawled onto her bed, giggling and laughing as we turned each page with Chuck Berry’s  My Ding-A-Ling playing in the background.

Forty years later, after discovering Christian sex blogs that opened my eyes, I went exploring for information about a specific response using my trusted friend GOOGLE. Several videos immediately popped up to answer my questions and offer multiple gateways into the world of porn. Each click enticed me to watch more, until I finally had to slam my laptop shut in a tangle of feelings.

The world has drastically changed in 40 years.

Actually, the world has drastically changed in 10 years.

Porn has changed from sleek posed photos,to live streaming video that changes at the click of a mouse, to a portable screen available every moment of the day. It is a common occurrence for kids to use their phone to view porn on their bus ride home, regardless of whether they attend secular or Christian schools.

Preventing our kids from viewing porn is no longer a realistic goal.

We must seek to minimize the damage resulting from porn exposure.

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Leaving My Daughter a Part of Me

Lately, my oldest daughter has taken to wearing one of my beloved old hoodies. The elbows are bare, the cuffs frayed, and the color completely faded. I replaced it several years ago with something a little more presentable. The sweatshirt has seen my everyday goings on of bible study, picking up groceries, pulling weeds, and snowboarding. It has also seen long walks with friends as we did battle in prayer and held each other’s arms up in ministry. It has caught the tears of women that poured out their anger and hurt over hard marriages. And it has held me as I wrestled with God about my own insecurities of teaching a sex class and stepped into obedience. It is one of those sweatshirts.

I don’t know why she started wearing it. She borrowed it one day when she was cold and took it home with her. Just about every time she comes to visit she has it on. Even though I am a little embarrassed at how tattered and threadbare it looks, it warms my heart to see it on her.

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Tips for conversations with your kids about sex

 

Every kid is different, every family is different, every experience is different and I do not don’t have all the answers,  but below are 10 tips for conversations with your kids about SEX.

If you did not read Mondays post – Conversations with your kids – please read it now. 

Affirm

Start every conversation by affirming them. You could affirm a young child for his natural curiosity. An older child might be affirmed for his honesty in sharing his struggles. Kids even need to be affirmed that God made them sexual beings and that it is a good thing, even when it seems challenging to live in God’s boundaries.

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