This Valentine’s Day, focus on your husband or wife and find time to stoke your relationship amidst the chaos of parenthood
Feeling like your love life needs some spark after a kid or two is thrown into the mix? Does your marriage seem more like a roommate arrangement rather than a hot relationship? Well, you’re not alone.
Millions of American couples feel like they are lacking intimacy and heat in the bedroom after they have children. Whether it be fatigue, stress, kids’ and parents’ busy schedules, or another reason, it’s often hard for couples to find enough time for each other.
We reached out to Dr. Pat Allen, marriage and family therapist and director of the Dr. Pat Allen WANT® Training, on how couples can add some spice to their love lives amidst diaper changes and temper tantrums.
Here are some tips from Dr. Allen:
1.) Pet him regularly: Dr. Allen recalls a woman she knows in a retirement community who has been married for 60 years. When asked how she and her husband keep things exciting, she says: “I treat him like a dog” – she puts him on a long leash, feeds him often, and pets him regularly.
2) Make a dream book: Each of you keep a dream book in which you write down your fantasies – large or small. For example, the husband may write about his fantasy of having his wife to show up in his office with a trench coat and chocolate-covered strawberries and a bottle of wine in the middle of the afternoon. “Put these two journals in the same drawer and spy on them,” Dr. Allen says, noting that people often find themselves clumsy in verbally telling their significant other their fantasies. “People love that.”
Related: Dr. Pat Allen: The 3 Types of Dating
3.) Touch, touch, touch. Make “love” at least once a day: Dr. Allen says you should not underestimate the value of touch. “Everything we taste, smell and hear is sexual, but intercourse is special,” she says. “Each day, make love – not necessarily with intercourse.” Even the smallest little action can spark a chemical reaction – kissing, licking, even a hug. “Every day – everything you taste, touch, smell and hear, I can guarantee you, putting a piece of food in your husband or wife’s mouth is going to do something (chemically). Every lingering touch … licking his ear. Every day I want love-making of a small size – at least once a day.”
4.) Make an appointment to make love with your partner: “Even if you have to wake up at 1 in the morning on a Saturday night when the kid is asleep … please, once a week, set aside at least an hour or two. Make an appointment to make love,” Dr. Allen says. Put your bedroom date on your calendar with a heart; “that heart means, ‘meet me in the bathroom – the jacuzzi,’ wherever you want to meet.”
5.) Use water to light the flame, and be silent: “Making love may or may not include intercourse, but what it must include is water – a shower, a bath,” Dr. Allen says. “But the moment you start, you cannot speak – not one more word of language is to be spoken.
“It is a super stupendous experience for people who are so busy raising kids and doing this and doing that – they don’t realize” what they’re missing,” she continues. “Get in the bathtub, take a shower together, dry off each other, massage each other. Make love or don’t make love.”
“You have to use candles instead of light bulbs … you have to use incense instead of diaper pails. You have to make music with no words.”
Related: Why Good Women Stay With Bad Men
6.) Keep a goodie bag nearby: Dr. Allen suggests having a goodie bag in the bedroom or another place in the house – out of reach of the kids, of course – that includes oil, incense, CDs with sensual music, candles, and other items that helps get you and your partner in the mood. And ladies – don’t be afraid to initiate. “He’s a girl, too, and he deserves to be seduced.”
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