There is quite a learning curve when you get married. Lots to learn, lots to figure out. Sooner or later, kids arrive on the scene and everything changes, so you have to start re-learning how to maintain a healthy marriage in new, wonderful ways.
One of the biggest challenges most couples face (and we’ve gotten this question quite a bit) is how to maintain a healthy sex life after they’ve had kids. In the video above, we discuss exactly that! Below is a very quick summary of what we covered in the video. I definitely encourage you to watch the full video if you can so you don’t miss anything.
How to maintain intimacy after having kids
The biblical model for romance, intimacy, and pursuit that we see in Song of Solomon is extraordinary. The entire book illustrates an ongoing “chase” that happens between lovers that is mutual and full of passion. This verse encapsulates the theme of entire book very well:
“Draw me after you, let us run…”
Song of Solomon 1:4
As we discuss intimacy, it’s important to understand what it means to pursue your spouse and be pursued by them. It’s an ongoing push-and-pull that happens between a husband and a wife that keeps you close and moves you toward one another. As we cover the “methods” below, they’re all in the greater context that sex has in your marriage: to edify, satisfy, and strengthen your relationship. If sex is the ultimate end, it will leave you unsatisfied no matter how hard you try. If it’s a means to the greater end of knowing each other more intimately, you’ll find the act of sex immensely rewarding and worth fighting for.
1: Discuss and agree on frequency and “types” of sex
Sometimes sex is intense and drawn out, other times it’s functional and fast. Both “formats” are acceptable and appropriate. However, if you can both agree on what that means for you, it will help you avoid frustration and potential hurt by defining expectations. We have an entire blog post dedicated to this subject called “The Spectrum of Sex“. Check it out!
Frequency is also good to discuss. How many times per week should you be having sex? What amount keeps you healthy as a couple and emotionally connected to one another? For us, it’s 2-3 times per week. What works for you? The right answer is the one you come up with together. Discuss it openly and work together with your target in mind.
2: Be creative and intentional about “intimacy opportunities”
Get creative and don’t be afraid to plan for intimacy. For us, we try to use nap/sleep times wisely. Also, joint showers are great if the opportunity presents itself. Sometimes we allow our daughter to watch cartoons (no scathing emails about screen time please!) as a special treat so we can… “have some special time”.
Other weeks we have to plan for time together when we know we’ll be alone and not totally exhausted. Saturday mornings are great (kid distraction: cartoons) or afternoons (kid distraction: nap) are usually times we set aside for intimacy. Other times we let grandparents take our daughter out for dinner, etc. so we can have a “stay at home date night”. No one knows your life as well as you, so be creative and find opportunities that work best.
3: Understand the bigger purpose of sex in your marriage
We’ve found that when we keep the purpose of sex in view, it helps us understand why its worth fighting for. Sex is something to be enjoyed along the journey of your marriage, it’s not a worthy end in itself. As we said in the video, the destination is never sex. Sex is a bonus along the way to your final destination: knowing your spouse. That single understanding has helped us a ton by removing some of the pressure we both feel around the topic – especially when we’re struggling to find a healthy balance.
What works for you?
We’re all learning about parenting and marriage as we go. I hope we’ve helped you skip some of the mistakes we’ve made in this area as young parents. Keep pursuing each other!
Have you found any “tricks” for maintaining a healthy sex life after having kids?
Please share in the comments below!