It is no secret that when you get married certain extra curricular activities that you and your significant other enjoyed together just do not happen as frequently as they used to. When you first start dating all you want to do is play. You play in the car, bedroom, beach, a secret closet. When you are not playing, you are thinking about playing. Intimacy takes priority. It was always amusing to us when we would want to go home instead of staying at the bar with friends - our friends would say, “No, you can’t go home, you can’t go to sleep!” Well, sleeping was not part of the agenda and our late night activity was much more enticing than having another beer.
But alas, you get married and the real world happens. New homes, mortgages, car payments, IRAs, W2s, CDs, 529 plans (the letters and numbers alone are enough to make you pull your hair out), and of course the four letter word W-O-R-K, all this ‘real world’ can be stressful and stress is not sexy. Doing Excel spreadsheets, filling out RFPs, and waiting on faxes is not the most arousing foreplay. How on earth can one think of playing ‘secretary/boss’ when your head is throbbing due to analyzing numbers all day? The mood has to be set and unfortunately many times the mood is set by life’s daily mundane duties. But although less frequent you still find the time for playtime every now and again, and then... (insert loud ‘kaboom’ here) baby happens. Famous film producer and screenwriter noted for When Harry Met Sally and most recently Julie and Julia, Nora Ephron stated, “When you have a baby, you set off an explosion in your marriage, and when the dust settles, your marriage is different from what it was. Not necessarily better, not necessarily worse - just different.” Once baby happens, adult playtime is not the foremost thing on your mind - baby’s feedings, baby’s sleeping, baby’s crying, baby’s cooing take over and rightly so because after all they are the most wonderful little bundles of joy imaginable. I remember looking at my husband and thinking, “who exactly are you and why are you here, because this baby love is where it’s at.” Many moms feel such a love for their child that spousal love just doesn’t seem that important anymore. But it is important and once hormones return to normal on the female barometer you remember “Oh yeah, I do enjoy being a wife and I miss adult playtime.” And believe it or not but it can be even better than it was when you first started dating.
As life happens you have to recognize how valuable couple time is and you have to get creative. You have to communicate which can be challenging. Just maintaining a conversation with children demanding your attention takes much more effort. It used to be that you had all the time in the world to talk and learn about each other’s day, but not with little ones. Taking time to sit on the patio and talk while baby is napping can make you feel much more connected. You have to plan date nights. Why not hire a sitter and rent a hotel room one night or act like you are in high school and make out in the back of your car. With work schedules you can do little things to try to set the stage before you even get home at night. Send a sweet email or have a romantic lunch together. We’ve even tried what the teenagers refer to as ‘sexting’ aka sending sexy text messages, but due to the auto spelling correct on my iphone I end up telling my husband, ‘I want to duck him.’ Remember things you used to enjoy when you were dating - did you have picnics, did you go hiking together, did you listen to local bands and put those activities on your schedule.
And of course with kids in the house you can’t spontaneously chase each other around naked like newlyweds. You’ve got to plan out a weekend from time to time when the children can stay with the grandparents and you can have all the time in the world to stare into each others’ eyes, go out and hit the town, and oh yes, enjoy adult playtime. We did this recently and afterwards everyone would ask “How was your weekend.” I would bat my eyes and politely reply, “Oh, it was so nice.” In reality I wanted to scream from the rooftops, “OMG, it was amazing we did it like 9 times!”