By Susie Cortright
No matter who told you the facts of life, I'll bet they left out one: Intimacy becomes more difficult when you become a parent.
Let me rephrase that. It doesn't become more difficult. It takes more time and energy--two resources in short supply when you are juggling kids and careers.
The key experts say, lies in forming and maintaining habits to last you all your days…habits regarding attention, commitment, spontaneity, and communication.
All the demands on our lives can push romance out, and since your spouse is by your side each morning and again at night, it's easy to take him for granted. The relationship goes on the backburner while you worry about paying the bills or getting the kids to soccer practice on time.
The fact is, a good marriage requires an investment of time and energy. There are no shortcuts and there is no way to avoid it. So, the best way to improve your marriage is to get to it. To quote from a wise old country song: "[Love] isn't something that you have, it's something that you do.
Make the choice to treat your husband like a king…the way you treated him before you said "I do." Cultivate those butterflies you used to feel when the phone rang and you hoped it was him.
Make your relationship a priority. If necessary, use your daily calendar to remind yourself. Hold those kisses for five seconds. Use any excuse to touch him. Surprise him now and then with a suggestive note or email.
Greet him at the door with a smile and a kiss. This advice isn't as outdated and "1950s" as it sounds, if you pay attention to your husband not because you have to, but because you want him to know he is an important part of your life and your day.
Get away with your spouse. Most marriage counselors recommend planning a date with your spouse once each week. Send the kids to the neighbor's house. Then, create a mood with dimmed lights and candles (candlelight is so flattering). Put on some soft music and open a bottle of wine.
Or leave the house. Day dates are great, particularly if you have a special evening routine with the kids. It's easier to find a sitter. Meals are less expensive, and you can enjoy more recreational activities than dinner-and-a-movie.
There is an ebb and flow to marriages, experts say. Every marriage must endure days when you wake up next to your spouse and aren't sure you want to be there, so every marriage must also have a commitment that says you are together for life. Period.
Spontaneity is the first thing to fly out the window when you have children, but it's fun to break the routine once in a while. And it will put spark back in your relationship. For new ideas on lovemaking and romancing your spouse, check out the titles at right.
It's no secret that women love to talk. Some marriage counselors even call it foreplay. And open lines of communication are one of the best ways to circumvent marriage problems.
If you're angry, cool off, then talk it out. Make a promise never to lay your head on the pillow while you're angry. You're sleep will suffer, and so will your relationship.
© Susie Michelle Cortright
Susie Cortright is the founder of momscape.com and Momscape's Scrapbooking Playground -
http://www.momscape.com/scrapbooking. Join her scrapbooking club here:
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Read more articles by Susie Michelle Cortright.
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