10 Ways to Keep Intimacy Alive After Kids

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We are about to have our 7th baby in 8.5 years. We have experienced how busy schedules, hormones, multiple moves, career changes and much more straight up suck the intimacy out of marriage. Thus, we have learned it’s a fight to keep intimacy alive after kids. By no means have we mastered the topic of intimacy and there are times when things are off. No marriage is perfect, but the goal is to grow together over the years and hopefully things get better and better.  I want to encourage you that keeping the love alive in your marriage pays off in so many ways!

1. Your Marriage Comes Before the Kids — I want to start here because this is a mindset. Aim to put your marriage before your kids. Maybe you have seen or heard of empty nesters who look at each other and say “I barely know you after all these years of raising kids.” If we don’t make this a daily mindset, the natural pattern of life will take us there without even realizing it.

2. Look for Practical Ways to Prefer your Spouse — All of our spouses are different. Some prefer a clean house, others prefer heartier food and the differences go on. Don’t stop studying your spouse, but while doing so, consider their preferences and take note to actually do the things they prefer.

3. Adjust Your Expectations — Quite often we have unspoken expectations. We have them of ourselves and of others. I always suggest adjusting our expectations of others first. Adding a baby and having kiddos everywhere can feel like chaos. Add in that we expect our husband to read our mind and it could possibly set everyone up for failure. The entire family is likely going through adjustments, so adjust your expectations when and where needed.

4. Communicate how “intimacy” looks, feels and works in your marriage — Put into words as my husband says “Barney Style” what you need for intimacy to increase. “I would love a back rub, I can’t relax.” “A gift would really encourage me.” “I am really having a rough day and need some quiet time to process it.” Just today, I told my husband “I need you to say, ‘I’m proud of you honey for XYZ…” – NOT “Well, that’s what it was.” A simple response from him sent me one direction while his intentions were completely different. This type of “Barney Style” communication is what works for us and it might not be the exact model for you. However, communication is central to intimacy.

5. Consider that your spouse might need an emotional detox before being intimate — We typically walk into our house or greet our spouses with emotional baggage from the day. The worst is when your spouse walks in and you’re spent, but he’s also spent. Consider that you both might need an emotional detox before you can function well for the rest of the evening. Give space for that or figure out what works best for your spouse when they are at their limit or you’re both at your limit, rather than pushing one another over the edge.

The first 5 are more big picture type tips. The next 5 are a little more practical!

6.  Schedule “Couch Time” — You can call it couch time, table time or anything you want. The concept is that when you see each other at the end of the day, you need time to connect even if the kids are awake, eating or playing. We do this differently in different seasons, but it’s an everyday thing. The kids know that they need to be quiet (if they are in the room) or they can take their play elsewhere. This also helps our kiddos see #1 put into action. We aim to not talk over the kids or process our day in the midst of their noise, and they know their needs will be met once Mommy & Daddy have connected.

7. Plan Date Nights into your weekly, monthly, yearly calendar — NEVER stop dating your spouse. If you are on a budget, there are still countless ways to do date nights. We have seasons of “at home” date nights with take-out. Other times we dress up and dine well, or plan a yearly overnight trip. Nevertheless, our phones go away, we connect and prioritize that time when it’s just us.

8. Flirt During the Day — You know that phrase “sex starts in the kitchen.” Text your spouse, check on them at other times of the day and cultivate a loving conversation more than just before bed.

9. Initiate Sex —  I have been pregnant or nursing for the past 8+ years {so this is honestly a hard one for me}. My husband has learned what “initiation” looks like in different seasons, but it’s also something I have learned is necessary. The idea is that you can initiate and not always expect your spouse to do it. Everyone wants to feel loved and wanted, especially our husbands. Maybe you need to plan sex into your schedule according to when you feel at your peak. Again, figure out what works for you and your spouse, but don’t always place the responsibility of initiation on one person.

10. Pray Together — Last, but certainly not least, take time to pray together. Prayer is a pattern of our life and we do a lot of it with the kids, but we also make sure we are praying with one another. Prayer is powerful. It reveals the depths of our hearts and knits us together spiritually with our spouse. Even when we are hitting our pillows exhausted, a short prayer goes a long way. “And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken” Ecclesiastes 4:12

These 10 tips touch on physical, mental and emotional intimacy, but there are many more wonderful tips of how to keep intimacy alive after kids. Just remember — no marriage is perfect, so don’t compare your spouse! Instead, study them, prefer them and aim to grow in intimacy even in the midst of all that life demands.

With Love,
Johnna
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Johnna King moved to Waco in January of 2017. She met her husband in college and after 9 years in the Marine Corps, they prayed for place to settle down and raise their family. She is the Domestic Engineer of Team King which currently consists of six littles. Her oldest is 8, then 6, 4, 3, 2 & 1. She is due with their 7th in the fall of 2019. Motherhood is one of Johnna's many passions. She equally enjoys growing in obedience to Jesus, homeschooling the kids, running/weight lifting, photography, interior design, holistic living and writing. There is always a half-read book on her nightstand. She runs their family blog www.kingsparenting.com. You can always find Johnna looking for new places to eat, planning a date night or taking another picture.

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