A classic scenario from my early days of parenthood: hubby walks in the door and kisses me. I highly anticipated his greeting kiss in our engagement and early marriage, but now I’m unpleasantly surprised to feel total aversion. After baby’s bedtime, sitting on the sofa with his arm around me feels like a chore (forget about sex!). My ideal Christmas present would be a private island where no one would touch me for the rest of my life. Needless to say, it was a difficult time for both of us. Meeting our sexual needs would take a different kind of effort than ever before.
1. Speak his secondary love language.
Remember The Five Love Languages book? Acts of service, quality time, gifts, words of affirmation, and physical touch are the ways in which we receive and give love. Each person has primary and secondary love languages—and I bet physical touch is important to every man. Communicate about how you both best like to express and receive love besides physical touch. My preferred form of expressing love is cooking a hearty meal. However, hubby would rather receive quality time with me. Consequently, I cook simple meals instead so I can prioritize giving him attention to help him feel loved.
2. Initiate physical touch.
My aversion to being touched is a result of my being touched all day by my kids: begging to be picked up, crawling on top of me, and hanging off of me without my having control. Sometimes, I ask my husband to relax while I initiate touching—which is more enjoyable (and I hear he doesn’t mind one bit!).
3. Have some “team spirit.”
As he steps up to the front door my husband says to himself, “Showtime!” He understands I need distance after a long day of serving the kids. He plays with them and does bedtime snuggles, which helps fulfill his need for physical affection. Plus, it allows me to put the house in order and take care of dinner while listening to a podcast. In my current reality, that’s a treat. When the kids go to bed, I feel ready to share physical affection with him again.
Consider outsourcing childcare and scheduling alone time. If you’re blessed with helpful parents or in-laws, arrange for a babysitter and take a weekend getaway as a couple. I consider paying another mom to babysit my children two mornings a week a worthy investment and it’s a game-changer in helping me feel energized to give myself to my husband.
4. Communicate generously.
Feelings and fears need to be expressed, explored, and understood. When my husband told me that a lack of physical affection made him feel rejected, I strove to listen, see his heart, and enter into his reality. When I told him how it feels to be needed constantly, he did the same for me. We talked through the issue many times and each time we had to overlook the present frustration and stretch our hearts. Sometimes we wondered, “How aren’t we past this yet?” Over time, building and strengthening communication skills blessed our marriage.
5. Sometimes, just do it.
Sometimes, you just won’t feel physical desire for weeks or months, especially in the first year of a baby’s life (I know I didn’t!). It’s a shock at first, but it’s totally normal to feel zero sparks when you have time alone. Prayerfully discern if it’s time to go above and beyond to be intimate on occasion, even if you’re not feeling it. Sometimes desire will grow as you go. In any case, your husband will appreciate your heroic generosity.
When you’re done being touched, what helps you make time (and find energy) for your husband?