So often as couples with kids we hear the general wisdom that we have to have "date nights" to keep our marriages exciting, to protect against the inevitable marital strain of constant child care and sleeplessness. To this advice I respond, how bout once the kids are in bed you stay in and connect on a depper level? Run a bath, pop the cork on your favorite bottle, sit and eat dinner together, be together, sharing about your day?
These days what couples occupy themselves with once the work day and kid day are done is getting on their lap tops or sitting in front of the television and chugging away with endless screen time.
What if one or two nights a week, you discipline yourselves to not turn on any screens - not even Game of Thrones or House of Cards! - and instead (once the drought is under control :-) ) run a bath or just sit on the couch, facing one another, spending some good time making eye contact, making out, and talking about what is really going on for each other.
Remember the good ole days when just sitting together and making out was nearly magical? How long does it take to start making out and just enjoying that? Somebody's gotta get the ball rolling, how bout trying it tonight?
And then it doesn't have to turn into some giant dramatic night of fancy sex, either. If it does, congratulations - cha ching! But if that's not in the cards, how bout just sitting together and taking turns really sharing how you've been feeling, what's been on your mind... and not about the kids! In your own lives, in your own work, with your own friends, in your own creative spaces. Just taking some time to go there and really share something deeper with each other.
The best, longest lasting, happiest marriages have intimacy in tact - and surprisingly, that is not exclusively about sex. It's about emotional closeness and TAKING THE TIME to actually connect, share, know each other deeply, and be there for each other in a connected way.
So the next time you're feeling a bit frustrated by the state of your marriage and the impact kids have had on it, try simplifying by staying in, connecting, talking and see how much better you feel!