I know a lot of people fear that sex won’t be as good or as frequent after getting married, especially after kids. It’s true that the sexual relationship that my husband and I enjoyed in the first few years of our marriage was not the same after our first baby arrived. And the first few years after that brought even more change. Sometimes, sex was not a part of our marriage at all, but we fought to keep the spark alive regardless.
Being young is pretty wonderful. Our bodies are strong. Our stamina, endless. And sex is just part of the daily routine. That’s how it was for me and my husband as newlyweds. But then something changed. Our family went from a household of two to a household of three. And that newest little member turned our sex-life upside-down.
I was exhausted for starters. My sweet baby never let me sleep. I honestly don’t know when he slept because I felt like he kept me awake for the first year of his life. So when I finally did get a chance to get some rest, that’s exactly what I planned to do. My husband, however, who usually had more energy than me, wanted to keep up our romantic routine.
That’s when we had to have a little chat. I was worried, honestly. I knew how important sex was to him, and when I explained to him that I simply couldn’t be there for him like I had been, I was worried that he would be hurt and maybe even stop loving me.
“I love you; not your body,” he said. I have probably never loved him more than in that moment.
Well, he was rather fond of my body too, but the point he was trying to get across to me was that he loved me with or without sex. I know those days were tough on him. But he was ever so patient, and made me feel that he wanted me without putting pressure on me to actually have sex.
When I was just too exhausted to have sex, he would cuddle me in bed and tell me how good I looked. Complementing each other was really meaningful to both of us during this time because it was a little reassurance that we were still crazy about each other physically even though we weren’t following up with intimacy every night.
I finally started getting some sleep, and our intimacy began to resume the pre-baby days routine. But something wasn’t right. I was in pain. I wanted so badly to give myself to my husband, so I tried to ignore the discomfort. But he knew there was something wrong too. Again, he was patient as I went to doctor after doctor trying to get an answer.
Nobody could give me a real answer or a solution.
“You’re body has changed.”
“You’re not 21 anymore.”
“Childbirth re-arranges internal organs.”
None of these answers helped me get back to enjoying an intimate relationship with my husband. Still, he was patient. We made an even greater effort to show each other how attracted we were to one another. And strangely enough, even though we weren’t having sex as frequently as we would have liked (sometimes not for weeks at a time), we both felt that our bodies were special to each other.
We tried to think of something new to add to our relationship to make sure our relationship stayed exciting. It was during this time that we started a little tradition called “cocoa and a bagel.” One of us would wake up in the middle of the night and invite the other to the living room for hot cocoa and a bagel. We both knew that also meant a few battle rounds of Guitar Hero. (Obviously, we were getting more sleep at this time).
For about six years, my health challenge continued. In and out of good and bad days, my body took its time healing. I finally began getting some answers, and I dug up the rest on my own. It seemed that the hormonal balance of my body was extremely off, and my babies had kicked some things out of place on their way out of their prenatal campground.
I’m happy to say that those health struggles are now in the past and my body is finally getting back to normal. Those days weren’t fun at all, but I’m really thankful that we experienced them. We saw how love exists in our marriage with and without sex. We learned how beautiful it is to show love to each other with our bodies and also with our words, kind acts, and emotions. Sex is certainly an awesome physical expression of romantic love. But not having sex was a pretty powerful expression of romantic love too.