The thing we don't talk about

Why don't we talk about sex?

I mean married people, why don't we talk about sex?

Especially sex after children.

I am convinced that we could fill books with horror stories about the times we accidentally walked in on our parents doing it and now we are just waiting for the day it happens to us.  Or all the ways we have to maneuver "quality time" with our spouse while our children watch TV, sleep, play outside, or even while having dinner.  I mean when five minutes presents itself, you just have to take it.

I had a friend tell me one time that her children wanted to know what her and her husband were doing in there for so long.

She told them they were jumping on the bed.

I remember how I felt right after we had each of our three children.  I had someone in my personal space every minute of every day.  I was holding someone, someone was pulling on my leg, someone was breastfeeding, and the worst was following me into the bathroom.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE MY CHILDREN.  I don't wish them away from me, I desire for them to draw close to me.  But I would be lying if I said 5 minutes to myself didn't sound like heaven.  (OK...10 min, maybe more.)  But someone was ALWAYS touching me.  Did I make that clear?

ALWAYS. TOUCHING. ME.  And it would drive me insane.

Then my husband would give me that look, and please forgive me, but really, when he wanted to snuggle close and get "reconnected" it just felt like one more person in my personal space.  And the really sad part is, I really like getting "reconnected".  My husband is the sexiest man I know, and even more, he is immensely generous and good to me.  I love him.

But right after children, it felt like his greatest gift to me was leaving me alone and letting me sleep.

One time in the midst of being busy and having lots of things to do, and lots of lists to keep track of all that I had to do, my husband gently looked at me and said, "How do I get on the To Do list?"

After having children, finding the time to have sex is like a big strategic game of "Chess".  Every move you make effects the next 12 moves of the game.  If I wash the dishes for her and sweep the floor then she will be in a better mood.  If I read to the kids now, they will play nice after, which means I can get dinner done on time, which will put us on schedule for bedtime if I can keep one kid from terrorizing their brother.  If my spouse puts the kids to bed, then I can get supper cleaned up which will help put her in the mood, and then maybe, if there is any shred of energy left after wrestling the kids to sleep, we can have "Marriage counseling".   (That's our code word here.  We figure if an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then time in the bedroom, or closet or bathroom or wherever the kids won't find you, keeps the therapist away.  So far our form of Marriage Counseling is working.)

If you are the parent of small children, you would be lying if this has never happened to you.  Maybe it doesn't happen all the time, but it has happened.  Just own it.

With children around, your youthful body and energy is used on the little people running wild in your home.  You become a machine that cleans and cooks and drives to doctor appointments and school plays and activities.  You are the farmer, financial planner, cook,  counselor, doctor, lawyer, and community activity director.  Even in the midst of simplifying life, children have needs.  Your home has needs.  People need to eat and they need clothes to wear, and they need somewhere to sleep.   They need time to talk with you about issues they are having with friends and school work.  Devotions need prepped, and quality time is a priority for the family.  You give more than 100% each day, and still it's not enough.

But what about the two of you?  The parents who are in charge of it all and struggle to keep their eyes open past 9pm.  I don't know about you, but most of the time I collapse into bed still in my clothes.  I feel guilty and promise to be better about it tomorrow.

How can we find time to reconnect when everything at life is pulling at you and winning.  We give and give and give and after you are covered in food, wearing the same clothes three days in a row, how in the world are you supposed to feel sexy and want to "reconnect"?  Seriously, why can't sweats be a turn on?  Then I am trying to remember that I am a woman first instead of a mom, let alone a wife.

It feels like a cruel joke.

Paul and I have been through many different phases in our marriage where this special time comes easy, and when it's difficult to make it happen.  There are times when the stars align and we find we have energy to invest in this part of our marriage.  Then there are the times when we barricade our door, pretend we don't hear the kids yelling at each other, convinced they will figure it out, and hope against hope we can stay in the mood.

Marriage with young kids is hard.  The demands and questions and decisions you have to make fly at you faster than you can even register what's happening.  You live in a place of being reactive instead of proactive, let alone intentional about "quality reconnect time".

Everything about this subject is tricky.  Even writing about it is tricky.  You have desire meets reality, love vs. responsibility, expectations creating miscommunication.

Paul and I have found that the only way to navigate through these risky waters is to keep talking about it.  We have to keep talking through our mis guided signals.  Our miscommunication.  Our exhaustion. Our need.  Our hurt.  Our desire.

This very specific part of our marriage is a key to its success.  It keeps us connected.  It keeps us attracted and interested in one another.  It keeps our desire and love for one another strong.  But it has also hurt each other.  We have unintentionally wounded each other with our tired rejection, or our words that weren't meant to hurt, but they did.

But to create a thriving marriage, we have to keep talking about it.  Every time our life changes, the rules change, and we have to take the time to talk with one another about how to make time for sex in the new stage of life.

So carry on dear warriors, fighting for your relationship.  Making your marriage a priority.  Connecting and communicating with your partner.  It's more than hard work, it's constant, every changing, reevaluating work.

But it is so worth it.

Even if the only five minutes you can find, finds you in the closet with the door locked.