24 February 2015

4 Ways to Keep Romance Alive After Becoming Parents

In October of 2012, Michael and I packed our bags, left Maddy with my parents and flew away to Colorado for a week of freedom. Maddy was 15 months old and it was our first time away together since she had been born. We had been on one date night in that whole 15 months and to say that we needed a break would be a huge understatement. 

So off we went. We enjoyed a week of sleeping in, quiet and intimate dinners, time with friends and the care-free life of togetherness - just the two of us. We promised each other that we would make time to get away more often whether that meant more trips, date nights or time away in general and that we wouldn't slip back into our hurried routine of life to only forget about each other and our own personal needs as individuals and as a couple.

It's pretty easy to make promises when you’re fully rested and enjoying vacation as a care-free couple. It's also very easy to put said promises on the back burner when the reality of life comes calling again. The realities of life are also called monotony...and it can slowly kill your marriage or relationship.

Four years after meeting and having a child together, we are still each other's best friend and favorite person most days. We miss each other when we're apart and can't wait to be home with each other and our little Chickie. Usually. However, we also let jobs, piles of laundry, cleaning up messes, household chores, parenting disputes, bills - you know, life - come between us. 

Having said all of this, we still strive to do our best to maintain a hot relationship. I can picture it very clearly in my mind when I think about it. I see him when he gets out of the shower, skin glistening with his hair all wet and I think, "Hmmmm..." I look at him with our daughter; they laugh, they play, they watch movies, and they snuggle together and to me, when I see him with her, there's nothing sexier. 

But then in the midst of my sexy daydreaming, I burn dinner, the cat throws up a hair ball on my foot and Maddy is in the process of toilet papering the house. Michael is taking care of the dog's daily needs while attempting to juggle the needs of his paying job while trying to devote time to us, his school work and his writing commitments. The cats are fighting, Maddy is screeching like a wild hyena for snacks and dinners and most days, we're left to feel like the keepers at the damn zoo. After all of this, the memory of the hot guy in the shower has long since left my mind.

We have lived through every season in our relationship; the cold months filled with contempt and resentment. The lukewarm fall filled with idle days and nights with stagnant affection. The blossoms of spring when everything seems fresh and new again. But by far, our favorite relationship season are the hot, hot summer months.

Marriage and relationships are hard work, bottom line. There's no way possible to kick up your feet and still expect to ride the waves of hot monogamy. Even on the hard days, it takes faithful, committed, selfless habit forming work to spice up our daily routines. The old adage is that it takes 21 days to create a habit. I dare each of you to try the following habits that I work on to have a hotter marriage/relationship.

1 :: Touch every day. Find a way to make the conscience effort to touch his hand, play footsie under the dinner table, rub her back or simply touch each other's arm as you pass in the hallway. A quick smack on the butt on the way out the door is also pretty fun too.

2 :: Find a way to make little things big. Michael is great about bringing me little gifts "Just because." He's also very thoughtful about sending me sweet little text messages during the day to ask how my day is going or to say he's thinking of me. He also surprises me at work to take me to lunch. For me, these small actions let me know he's thinking of me when we're not together. Making these small connections is a big way to say "I love you" while stoking the flames of love.

3 :: Be quick to forgive. It's inevitable - disagreements and arguments are going to happen even between the strongest, most committed couples. When your spouse makes the effort to apologize, be quick to forgive. I firmly believe that it takes a lot of character and strength to admit when we're wrong, especially in relationships. If your partner is willing to admit when they've made a mistake, be willing to accept the apology and move on. Wouldn't you want the same consideration if the roles were reversed?

4 :: Take the time to complement each other. When we're dating, we go out of our way to make the other person we love feel special with our words. Why should this stop once we're in a committed relationship? It may sound silly but 1,000 people can complement me on a new outfit or hairstyle but none of those compliments mean as much as his. Your influence over your spouse is powerful - use it for their betterment and to bless them. 

So there's my list. Even I have to admit that I have to remind myself to keep these things in mind on a daily basis but when I do and put them into action, our relationship is better for it. 

We're by no means the perfect couple. We have our good days and our bad ones but we never give up and I think that's the key. When we work to keep our partners feeling loved and special, that makes for a hot marriage/relationship after becoming parents.

What are some of your tips for keeping the fires burning?

Special thanks to Stephanie over at Wife Mommy Me for hosting today's link-up, Mom Talk Tuesdays. This link-up is a wonderful way for moms from all different walks of life to come together to talk honestly about the challenges we face as parents while sharing positive solutions and offering advice. If you want or need support in a judgment free zone with several different topics, I urge you to join in on the conversations, friendships and camaraderie happening through this link-up and share your story! 

Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup

Courtney is a published author, mom, taco enthusiast, and a Star Wars and Tennessee Volunteers fanatic. She's never met a piece of sushi she didn’t like and enjoys an amazing glass of wine and a great cut of meat. You can read more of her wine-induced, sleep-deprived adventures on The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy.


  1. Laura Powell-CorbettFebruary 24, 2015 at 9:18 AM

    It's definitely easy to fall into a rut when you do the same things every day and night with a 2year old in tow!! Great tips xx

  2. Such good tips. I agree it can be easy to just fall into the same old routine. Touching everyday is huge!

  3. These are awesome tips! It's so easy to fall into a routine and let other things get in the way of your relationship. Something that I tend to forget is that marriage is actually work. You can't let it fall by the wayside and still expect it to be great.

  4. I love this! These are some great tips.

  5. I love these! Especially #1. It's the most fun too! My husband is a fan of writing little notes on toilet paper (more romantic than it sounds) to remind me of something or to tell me he loves me. I save all of them in a box with other little mementos. Who knew a box full of toilet paper would be the most romantic thing I own?

  6. We've started taking turns surprising each other with date nights. One person plans the whole night, and the other gets to be surprised. It's fun to try to one-up each other, plus who doesn't love surprises (especially after so many years of marriage!)

  7. complements and hand holding are a must!

  8. great list! I agree, we need to work on more date nights too.