As any parent can attest, it’s hard to keep the love alive with kids in the house. Even if you send the kids to bed early and reserve the after-bedtime time for adult business – conversations, intimacy, time to step out of the mommy and daddy roles and back into that of lovers and friends- kids can interrupt the best laid plans. They wake up unexpectedly with a nightmare or having wet the bed or maybe they simply refuse to go to sleep one night. Staying connected as partners can be a challenge, to say the least.
Maintaining that intimacy and having time to be partners, not just parents, is crucial to keeping a relationship going and keeping the people in the relationship happy. According to William Sears, MD, displays of affection between parents are healthy and provide children with a model of what healthy relationships should be. Intimacy does go beyond the bedroom and beyond the physical though and can be incorporated throughout the day. Physical, sexual intimacy can be enhanced by getting imaginative:
• Take things out of the bedroom or at least out of the bed.
• Try a different time of day. Maybe a quickie in the morning or a nooner will work into the busy schedule better.
• Try something new like sexy lingerie (or nothing at all), role playing, a new position, or sexting
• Try some goodies from Fascinations Superstore (a non-seedy adult store with locations around the Valley).
Non-sexual physical intimacy can be increased with hugs and kisses good-bye and hello (we do it with our children, why not our partner?), holding hands, cuddling, or a nice foot rub. Remember, intimacy is achieved emotionally, mentally, and spiritually also. Being able to tell your partner your deepest thoughts without fear of rejection, shame, or embarrassment is a form of intimacy as is simply being able to have a good laugh together. Celebrate the good and support each other through the bad.
Remember to make time for your partner on a regular basis. It might work to pencil in sex but don’t forget making time for the non-sexual as well. Date nights are great, as long as you stick to them and use them to connect with each other and not to just talk about the kids. If you’re able to, take advantage of a relative or your child’s friend’s parents and set up a sleep-over so that you can have the whole night together. Making and taking time for each other shows your children that you are important to each other and demonstrates how to show that you value someone you love.
A strong marriage and partnership between parents can only benefit the children in those relationships. You are your child’s role model for what adult relationships should be. They how they should be treated and how to treat others by watching the way you live. If you find that you need to strengthen your marriage or enhance the levels of intimacy between you and your partner, you can find a local marriage and family therapist through the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.
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