When a couple marries, it is easy to find time to be alone together, but when children come into the picture, the ability to find couple time becomes a bit trickier. It is important that parents recognize the value of couple timeand implement ground rules when they begin their family that will allow them to create those intimate moments, so when the children come along, those moments don't disappear. Here are five rules for couples to live by that will allow them to create intimate moments while parenting children.
1. Give children a bedtime routine
This is a valuable rule to live by as a parent. Not only will it allow your child to get a good night sleep, but it will allow parents to enjoy alone time without children vying for their attention. Make childrens' bedtime at least two hours before your own bedtime. This will allow couples two hours each night where they may talk to one another, cuddle, read a book together or do any number of things which bring couples closer together. This allows parents to have valuable time every day for just the two of them.
2. Never let children sleep in your bed
A couple's bed is their own special and very personal space. It is where their most private and intimate moments are shared. If those moments are to continue to happen after children, it is imperative that a couple create opportunities for them to happen. If a child is sleeping in his parents' bed, this will become a habit to the child and intimacy in marriage will be sacrificed. Make it a rule at the very beginning that children never sleep in the parents' bed and it won't become a habit. If it has become a habit in your home, break the child of it now. Start by spending time with your child in his own bed until he is asleep. When he wakes up and comes back into your bed, take him back to his bed each time he attempts to sleep in yours and wait until he is asleep. It may take several nights of doing this, and you may be exhausted, but it will be worth it once the habit is broken. Do not allow yourself to sacrifice intimacy as a couple for the sake of convenience with your child.
3. When together as a family, sit next to your spouse with the children around you, not between you. This is one of the greatest pieces of advice I received before marriage and has been one of the biggest factors on how to create intimacy after children. When a couple sits next to each another, they have the ability to hold hands, lean in to one another, and create intimacy through physical touch. You will be surprised at how many intimate moments this simple rule can create throughout your marriage as you put it into practice. Physical touch is powerful and can bring with it simple reminders of why you got married in the first place.
4. Have a date night once a week
Make sure to promise each other that the dating won't stop after children. It has been said that the couple that plays together stays together, and this is true. A couple needs time alone and away from the children so that their focus can be on each other and not the children. Put money in the budget to hire a babysitter or swap babysitting with other couples. If those are not options, set up a date night once a week where you order take-out and rent a movie while the kids are in bed. Whatever you do, make sure you both know it's a date and treat it as such. When you schedule it in, you will know that, if all else fails, at least one night a week, you have planned for intimacy.
5. Have a meaningful uninterrupted conversation each day
One of the greatest ways for couples to create intimacy is for them to connect both emotionally and spiritually. Having a deep, meaningful conversation each day will allow couples to share feelings, beliefs, and emotions and allow them to connect to one another on more than just a superficial level. Rather than just exchanging facts or a daily log of events, when couples open up their hearts and share what is most precious to them, they are truly sharing themselves. A couple will find themselves more intimately connected as they learn to bare their soul to one another.
Intimacy does not have to be sacrificed when children come into a marriage. It can be found in the little things you do for one another and in the decisions you make before the children even come. Make these rules a part of your life, and even after children, intimacy with your spouse will be a regular part of your married life. Not only will you find joy in your marriage, but you will be setting an example for your children of what a happy marriage should be.