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Rekindle Your Romance: 25 Secrets to Help Exhausted Parents

Does the thought of a little romance for Valentine’s Day leave you yawning?

Well, peel away the crust from your sleep-deprived eyes.  I’ll be Cupid for the day. (Without the cloth diaper.)

After 6 weeks of a doctor-induced “no fly zone” across the bed, it can be a challenge to kick-start the intimacy that made your bundle of joy in the first place.

Let’s go through your romance checklist.

  • Have you moved the laundry off of the bed? Check.
  • Have you sipped a caffeine-drink to keep you awake for an extra hour 15 minutes? Check.
  • Have you showered this week?  Check.
  • Has your husband been lying in the bed waiting for the past two hours?  Check.

Music is playing and the chocolate and oysters you ate for supper seem to be doing their job…the mood is set.


Did you hear that?


*slight building wail coming from the room next door*

Groans all around.

Sometimes, when it comes to parenting, the word “sacrifice” feels to flimsy.  Let me throw some water on the altar:  This season will pass. You will yadda yadda yadda again.  (Sooner, rather than later, if you let us help you.)

In the meantime, though, let me offer twenty-five suggestions to keep your marriage strong and healthy during one of the hardest relationship storms you’ll weather:  parenthood.

  1. Mouthwash: buy in bulk.
  2. Practice forgiving the little things…daily.
  3. Husband:  offer to take the night shifts (pumped milk?) on the weekends, so she can get a few extra hours of sleep.
  4. Wife:  Don’t hide in the dark  – this body gave him offspring, be proud of it.
  5. Practice your please and thank you’s with each other.  It shows thoughtfulness and care.
  6. Give 3-minute kisses.  (Remember those? )
  7. Laugh together over the little things.
  8. Wife:  Write him a love note on the mirror in lipstick (or in his lunch!).  (Try one of these free I-Love-You-Because Printables!)
  9. Husband:  Call her during the day just to ask how things are going.
  10. Have your own marriage retreat every year.
  11. Do a scavenger hunt in the house, with something special (you perhaps?) as the prize.
  12. Do some cyberflirting with each other via texts and private social media messages.
  13. Start a friendly competition to see who can “out-surprise” the other with events, notes, and other smile-catching activities.
  14. Wife:  Listen to his day (and don’t offer commentary unless he asks).
  15. Husband:  Listen to her day (and don’t offer commentary unless she asks).
  16. Kill two birds with one stone:  shower together.
  17. Start the Envelope Day tradition.
  18. Have a game night.  Our current favorites are the strategy games Shadows Over Camelot or Pandemic because you actually work together to defeat the game. (Nothing ruins the romance magic more than competition…)
  19. Order a restaurant IN, and pop in a favorite movie for an at-home date night.
  20. So if boardgames aren’t your thing…what about bedgames?
  21. Set aside nights to be the single parent and let the OTHER parent go out for some guy/girl time. (Sometimes absence really can make the heart grow fonder…)
  22. Ditch the hotels and go spend the weekend someplace more memorable.  It doesn’t have to be far from home and you’ll have a three-course gourmet breakfast to linger over!
  23. Swap childcare with another couple and do errands together, sans children.  (Cameron and I do this for Christmas shopping!)
  24. Hit “snooze” and cuddle for a few minutes before it’s time to get up (or a minion wakes you…)
  25. Pray together. There’s something incredibly enriching about having a deep spiritual connection with God together. Christ transforms things I never thought possible, in myself, in my husband, and in our marriage.  (My story.)

A Little Marriage Insurance
Goes a Long Way

There is absolutely no doubt that marriage goes through a “hot spot” in those first few years of parenting.  Suddenly all that time you had to spend on each other gets a lot harder to find.

Make it a priority to remember that your spouse is going to be with you a lot longer than your kids are.  Yes, we love our children.  But eventually they are going to fly the nest.  If everything in life is centered on them, you’ll be surprised to notice that this person you once knew so well is almost a stranger.  (There’s a reason the divorce rate jumps up at 25 years!)

Think of those 25 little suggestions as Marriage Insurance.  By serving each other, surprising one another, enjoying one another, forgiving one another, loving one another…. you will become closer friends and lovers – something that even an empty nest won’t be able to shatter.

Those are my suggestions.  I’d love to hear yours.  What things do you do to keep the love rolling, even bumpily, down the road towards a Golden Anniversary?

Have You Read These Yet?

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13 thoughts on “Rekindle Your Romance: 25 Secrets to Help Exhausted Parents

  1. What a timely article! I’m currently rocking skin-to-skin with my colickly, 3 week old son soaking up all the info on your website. No after how much we talked about baby-proofing our marriage, baby is hard work and a big adjustment for us. These tips are a great reminder that our marriage will bookend each side of the parental experience.

    1. Natosha,

      There’s no way around it, adding another person to your family is a big deal! And yes, it’s a tricky adjustment. Glad this article was a good reminder. You are wise to be thinking about this now!

  2. So true! We make sure to do plenty of sleep-ins and cuddles. Having a sense of humor and not allowing the myopic view of the small bubble we call home invade the bigger picture view of my husbands work responsibilities has made a huge difference on my outlook.

    This too shall pass! Little lady (3.5 months) is sleeping from 9:30p to 6:30a. We squeeze our alone time in during that period. (Thanks to Heather’s sleeping baby advice!!)

    Such wonderful tips on this website! Heather, you’ve been a Godsend!

    1. Thanks, Kimberly! I will make sure that Heather sees your comment! So glad the site has been a help to you! Pass it on! 🙂

    2. Kimberly, I’m so very thankful to hear that it has been encouraging and helpful. Always good to know that we are fulfilling our little mission here in this tiny corner of cyberspace! Parenting is a whole lot more difficult than I ever imagined…the more we can encourage one another, the better! I love your comment about having a sense of humor. So true. A little perspective can make such a huge difference! xo

  3. Wow, Heather! Good timing! Thanks for these suggestions just in time for Valentines Day. Going out to buy mouthwash in bulk… 🙂

  4. Love this ideas! Thank you! Baby #2 is coming soon and we’ve already been thinking about how we want to prioritize our marriage in the midst of having an infant. Will definitely print these out. 🙂

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