Passion Comes From the Boring
Life is busy. Balancing our work and personal lives make it busier. And, when we have kids, life gets busiest. That is why studies cite millions of parents saying they have no time for each other let alone themselves.
So when parents have to be at work by 9:00 AM, have piles of unfolded laundry, and children who wake them up at night, how are they supposed to find the time and desire to be intimate with one another?
It's a common misconception that romance creates desire. We think that romance and passion is something lucky couples share and this is what makes tired parents want to have sex. So if we are not feeling particularly passionate or sexual, we feel that we are in quite the quandary. The truth is chocolate and flowers do go a long way, but not when there is spit-up in our hair and two hours of sleep the night prior.
The secret to accessing sexuality in parenthood lies in the phrase "love your friend like yourself." Commentaries suggest that for us to love others, we must first love ourselves. Utilizing this principle further, when we find the time to first take care of ourselves we can then access the love we have for our partners.
The way we do this is by scheduling time. I often advise couples to plan a week or even a month in advance how they will schedule time for themselves and then for one another.
Scheduling time for ourselves involves creating time and space in our day so that we take care of our needs. It is crucial that we make sure to cover such basics as eating, drinking, moving, and napping. We oftentimes need to be creative as to how we can care for our needs.
Many people have shared with me such ideas as hiring a babysitter so that they can nap, arranging with a friend to switch off watching one another's children so they have some me time, taking a ten minute walk outside, reminding themselves to breathe throughout the day, slowing down the pace at which they do housework and listening to calming music, putting on a pretty dress or a spritz of cologne just to feel freshened-up, getting up a half hour early before their children so they can eat breakfast and have alone time.
When we feel we have our needs taken care of, even minimally, and they are given importance in our schedules, we can begin to think of being more with our partners not as overworked, utterly exhausted parents but as two lovers coming together to enjoy each other's company.
Scheduling time with each other, particularly scheduling sex, may be the boring thing to do but it is the number one surest way tired and busy parents can guarantee they will have the time and ability for connection.
The formula is simple: create the space first, then create the passion.
Talk to your partner in the beginning of each month and coordinate when you can make a "play date." Plan the time leading up to these play dates wisely so that you have the time to take good care of yourself and can fully enjoy the company of your spouse. Much like when you dated, create anticipation (an important component of the sexual process) by allotting time to get ready for your date with your partner.
Plan the romance and passion. You can discuss with your partner what would be most connective for each of you and plan accordingly. Because you took care of yourself and created this space together, you now have the time set aside to be spontaneous, fun, and romantic.
At the end of the day, especially for parents, planning creates the passion.