With all the demands of modern life, sometimes couples just don’t have the time or energy to spend intimate moments together. With jobs, errands to do, maybe kids, a household to run, and outside commitments, sometimes there just isn’t much left over for your partner.
But that’s a problem. Your partner shouldn’t be getting only the time that’s left over. All those other demands may feel more pressing, but in the long run, your significant other is more important. He or she is the one you want to be with for the long haul. If you don’t pay attention to your relationship, you can’t be sure it’ll always be there for you.
When the kids are grown and gone, you want to still like each other. You want to still know your partner—not just who he/she was when you got together all those years ago, but who he/she has become as life unfolds.
If you stop making each other a priority, there’s a risk that one or both of you will get lonely—and that makes you vulnerable to attention from an outside person. That’s how affairs often happen. Affairs are sometimes about sex, but mostly they’re about wanting to feel special again, like you matter to someone. People seek intimacy and connection, one way or another.
Rather than risk growing apart and someone being tempted to cheat (with all the pain and disruption that causes), pay attention to your partner now. Schedule that date night—even if it’s an in-home date night after the kids are in bed. Turn off your devices, stop checking social media, and pay attention to the one you love. (It’s amazing how much time our devices suck up; don’t let an iPhone run your marriage.)
And get sex back into your lives. Sex is wonderful “glue” for couples. It’s fun, pleasurable, relaxing, connecting. It gets you in touch with each other—literally and deeply. It strengthens the bond between you so you’re better able to withstand the stresses of life. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to keep your sex life alive.
Now, to clarify: I don’t mean that one partner can insist that the other have sex when he/she is too tired. That is completely un-sexy and un-loving. It’s also unhelpful when one person regularly refuses to have sex. You made a commitment to each other, and sex was part of that; it’s not fair to unilaterally stop intimacy.
Instead, work together to make time and emotional energy for sex that’s good for both of you. What can you take off your calendar? How can you help your partner make time? Are there chores you could divide differently (or pay someone to do) so you can both head for the bedroom before you’re exhausted? If you usually say No, can you try saying Maybe and then explore what it takes to get to Yes? What does each of you need in order to stop worrying about to-do lists and relax into your body? What helps each of you anticipate a romantic evening and get those juices flowing? (For instance: affectionate touch during the evening? suggestive texts during the day? a warm bath or silky lingerie?)
As important as other things in your life may be, your couple relationship is worth investing in. Especially, pay attention to sex and other kinds of intimate connection that will keep you happily stuck on each other for the long haul.