“So, is there sex after kids?” we asked some friends. Ruth was close to giving birth to our firstborn, and this was an important question. We had heard the horror stories about romance after kids. We needed answers. Or at least I (Patrick) needed answers.
How could the very thing that brought these kids into the world be lost once they arrived? I wondered. It was understandable from a physical perspective to need some recovery time after child- birth. But the stories of no sex for an extended time—stories of tired moms, diminished sex drives, limited privacy, and loss of spontaneity in the bedroom—that got my attention. As a man, husband, and father, I was concerned.
I (Ruth) wasn’t that worried about it. I was having my first child, and all I could think about was caring for him. Of course I’ll still spend plenty of time with my husband in the bedroom, I thought. What’s the big deal? I let it pass as a fleeting thought, convinced that everything would remain the same.
Boy, was I wrong! I was in no way prepared for how my body felt physically and how I felt emotionally after giving birth.
The answer to the question we posed to our friends, of course, is, “yes.” There is sex after kids. But if you are like most couples, romance in general is different after kids enter the picture. The early years of marriage with kids were tough.
As a guy, I (Patrick) wasn’t overly sensitive to the fact that a seven-pound human being had passed out of Ruth’s body. Lacking wisdom and full of selfishness, I was oblivious to even the physical changes caused by having kids.
For me (Ruth), sex and romance became more of an after- thought. It wasn’t that I didn’t love and want to be with my husband; I was just exhausted. With the constant pull and tug of parenting, sex at the end of the day sometimes seemed too much. I wasn’t always sensitive to my husband’s need.
We both lacked wisdom. Nothing had changed for me (Patrick). Everything had changed for me (Ruth). We had to learn to reengage and cultivate a healthy life of romance.
Having a healthy sex life takes plenty of exploring, which is where the fun comes in. Many couples, especially with kids in the house, settle into an unhealthy rut in their romance. Sex is always done at the same time, in the same place, in the same way. The very act that is meant to bring incredible pleasure and intimacy can become about as interesting as brushing your teeth (that may be a little bit of an exaggeration). But be aware that, as with any new experience, there is a learning curve.
We don’t enter marriage and the bedroom having it all figured out. We had to learn how to drive a car. It will take time to figure out sex. So don’t be afraid to talk to each other. There is no shame in working together to communicate about what works and what feels good. A couple’s knowledge of each other should extend into the bedroom. Learning what pleases each other takes time, humility, and communication.
The point is, we should guard against letting boredom settle into our bedroom. Get creative. Read a book together. Try out new positions. Schedule a different time of day. Switch rooms. Do something different to spice things up!
Patrick and Ruth Schwenk
For Better or For Kids is packed full of our personal stories of marriage and parenting over the last 18 years. With practical help and biblical wisdom, we hope to enable you to have a loving and intimate marriage regardless of the season of life you find yourself in. Grab your copy today at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christianbook or anywhere books are sold.