There are two things that can beat a marriage to a pulp:
Since you know exactly what I’m talking about, let’s just call out the highlights.
With the baby – Utter exhaustion, running on empty, and zero self care are not food for romance. Neither is the “Who Sleeps More” debate. I wrote about that here.
Beyond that, eroticism is in the diaper bin. Why? Because you are constantly touching, kissing, petting, and practically making out with someone other than your partner – namely, your baby.
And then there’s Covid – Add social distancing to already extreme baby isolation.
Why is isolation a marriage killer? Because in order to feel sexy and desirable we need to be in touch with the best parts of ourselves. And we do that by looking into the mirrors around us. Not actual mirrors, but human ones.
The people we choose to have around help us understand who we are and who we want to become. When we only have our partner around as we did during the last two years, it’s like wearing the same outfit for weeks. Eventually you don’t even glance in the mirror to see how it looks anymore.
Once we stop seeing ourselves through the eyes of others we stop feeling special. Sexy, interesting, and so does our partner. It’s a feedback loop.
These last two years have been challenging for my marriage. My husband is the best teammate I could imagine and I didn’t want to be stuck in a pandemic with anyone else, but I often felt like romance was a distant memory.
I got into bed at night hoping we didn’t have to confront the decision of whether we go hunting for our attraction. What if we didn’t find it?
Have you felt that way this year? I got many comments and DMs on my Instagram page this week when I posted this so if you do, know that you’re not alone. And I’m right there with you.
So today I’d like to share the 3 things we’ve found to be helpful in rekindling our joint Menorah, or lighting up that inner Christmas tree.
CAVEAT – you may not be ready for this. You may still be swimming in nipple butter and butt paste and and can’t even fathom reconnecting right now with your partner.
If that’s the case, that’s ok!! It can take a loooooooooong time before you can even imagine putting your hand on your partner’s thigh while you watch Netflix.
But in case you’re ready and just need a little push, here goes.
3 Ways My Husband and I Revive the Romance
1. We go away without the kids.
This works like magic. We’ve been in such bad places over the years that I haven’t even wanted to spend time alone with my husband. But a weekend without the kids ALWAYS works. It helps us reset and remember what we like about each other. It takes time so I think two nights is the minimum.
Obviously to make it happen you need cooperative grandparents or a great nanny. I know those are a luxury and luckily, here in Israel, we finally have the grandparents with us.
Keep in mind – you might feel bad about leaving the kids for a weekend. But this could literally save your marriage as it has mine. That’s much more important for your kids than missing you for a couple days.
2. We go do something we’re each good at.
Esther Perel is the guru on maintaining erotisicm in monogamy. Her shtick is that in order for there to be attraction there needs to be DISTANCE. Not physical distance, but emotional distance. She says that the only way to see our partner (and ourselves) with perspective and added mystery is when we see them in their element.
Think back to when you were first dating your partner. What were they doing that made you feel a jolt of attraction? Were they in nature? Dancing? Singing? Bowling? Cooking? Skiing? I bet it was when they were doing something they’re good at. And at that moment you saw them in their confidence and vitality. And they, in turn, saw it in your eyes and felt it too. The Mirror.
My husband becomes alive and confident when he is in nature climbing up a mountain. In those moments I can see the animal in him and it undoes the boring familiarity of “who’s picking up the kids” a bit.
This past weekend we went away and made sure to take a couple hikes through canyons. Once again, I saw him in his element.
So if you’re looking to dig yourself out of Desire Diaper Doom, go do that thing you’re good at and love and let your partner witness it, and vice versa. Let yourself be taken away in order to bring you back together.
3. We bring more people around us.
We tend to be with our partners when we’re our most tired and sloppy. We save our energy for the rest of the world and our partner gets the unbuttoned catatonic couch version of us. That’s good for refueling but not great for romance.
It’s cold and it’s Omicron but if you can manage to be with people who make you feel more YOU do it as much as possible. Especially those people who remind you of your humor, talents, interests, etc. We need other mirrors besides our partner to remind us who we are.
This past year I desperately felt the lack of having people around us. We were traveling the US and weren’t really coming into contact with anyone else. The phone calls were important but they weren’t quite enough. I needed to meet with friends and new people in order to remind myself who I was. Now we are able to do that a lot more and it makes a big difference in my feeling of identity.
So dear Tunester, what have you done that helps you rekindle the romance with your partner? We’d love to hear. Please COMMENT below.
Do you have a friend who feels like nothing can melt the glacier between them and their partner? Send them this post and tell them they should sign up for more weekly ways to make life with babies a bit easier and more fun.
Yes! Please send me the Tuesday Tune-In!