Most couples go through periods of time when intimacy is a little (or a lot) lacking and there is some disconnect between partners. Life has a really annoying and sometimes devastating way of getting in the way and that can be really compounded by having a baby. When you add a new little one into the mix of jobs, errands, to-do lists and bills; it can shock even the strongest relationships.
Not many people want to feel disconnected from their partners, but they also don’t really know how to fix it. You may feel like you are just in a funk or the two of you are slaves to your routine. Whether you just want to spice things up a little, or you don’t even know where you left the spices, there are some really easy things you can do to make your partner a priority again.
The first step is deciding to be purposeful about dating your partner again. Earlier this year, Plum Organics launched their #doyourPARTner campaign, encouraging parents everywhere to put down their phones and do their partners, because one of the best ways to help the entire family win is to focus on your relationship. What better time than the start of Spring to make your relationship a priority again and rekindle your spark?
Date Night Revamped
Plan at least one date night a week. There are date night ideas all over the internet and there are even date night box subscriptions, where all of the planning is done for you and you get a box once a month in the mail full of treats, activities and ways to work on different parts of your relationship. It doesn’t have to be a night out with a babysitter every time, it just has to be a night you devote to each other. You can plan a movie night on the couch or your favorite dinner to cook together after the kids are in bed. Maybe a game night or a fun project you do together. Put it on the calendar, make no excuses and plan to look your best. If you’re going out, get ready separately so when you see each other and it’s time to go, it feels like your early days of dating again. Make it a reason to get excited to see each other.
Touch Your Partner
This might sound like common sense, but sometimes when we’re up to our elbows in dirty dishes, diapers and clingy toddlers the last thing we want is to be touched by someone else. When you’re caring for a new baby or breastfeeding around the clock, it’s easy to be touched-out and to just want a little time when you don’t have to share your body with anyone. I know how hard it can be to give even a little bit more, but it can help so much to hug your partner or greet them with a quick kiss before you both unload your day on each other. Hold hands in the car, rub their shoulders at the end of the day, or cuddle on the couch while you watch TV in much-needed silence.
Taking it a step farther, you might have to schedule sex, despite how unsexy that sounds. If you are newly postpartum and just got the go-ahead at your 6 week appointment to have sex again, it can be really intimidating. It might take some time for the two of you to navigate hormonal changes, healing, finding time and rediscovering each other. Sometimes you have to learn to enjoy the quickie, let Grandma take the baby overnight so you can relax and take things slow, or find all of the places that aren’t your bed to #doyourpartner. Communicate, stick to what you’re comfortable with and psyche yourself up if you need to. Don’t forget to have fun and that it’s not a bad idea to do the deed before you fill up on that steak dinner and dessert for your first big date night after having a baby.
Give Them Your Undivided Attention
It can be easy to check-out during car rides, while you’re waiting for your food at a restaurant or before bed. When we get those free moments, we tend to scroll through social media on our phones, watch the TV behind our partners or crush some candy while we talk, but it’s not good for your relationship. If your partner wants to talk or you’ve agreed to spend some quality time together, unplug and give them your undivided attention. You can carve out separate time for mindless scrolling or game-watching, because that’s part of self-care for a lot of us, but when you’re focusing on your partner, tune in completely to them. Reconnecting can be as easy as a conversation in the car on the way to the grocery store if you’re purposeful about it.
Try New Things Together
You don’t have to take up any crazy hobbies, but doing simple thinks like trying the new sushi place in town together or making a new recipe for the first time. You can open a new type of wine for dinner or try your hand at fancy espresso at home. This is an easy way to add a little spontaneity and adventure to your relationship and give you new things to talk about together. It’s all about bringing newness back and finding ways to connect with one another.
Write Each Other Love Notes
I am a card person. I love picking up cards when I’m out that make me think of my husband and I love receiving them. It’s important to let our partners know when we’re thinking of them and that we appreciate them. We need to hear it, whether it’s in a card or the post-it left on the fridge when they leave for a business trip. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-timed text message or even some delayed gratification with a little “sexting” when you’re apart.
It’s normal for intimacy and relationship satisfaction to ebb and flow over time and sometimes an ebb lasts longer than we’d like, so talk about it with your partner and commit to date each other again. It’s ok to start with baby steps as you find your new normal with each other, just take the first one today. Agree to bring the focus back to where it belongs and you’ll build a stronger foundation for your entire family.
What is your favorite way to date your partner again?