What is the idea of rediscovering intimacy after having children? Companionship is the first hallmark of a marital union. When two become husband and wife, the target is to love and grow together despite having children, unexpected situations, economic stagnation, or whatever. This is what an ideal marriage should be.
Unfortunately, marriage in this part of the world is characterized by childbearing, affluence, and other such factors as dictated by cultural norms and traditions or by the individuals involved in the union.
Many marriages struggle after the kids come in. According to bbc.com, what psychologists call protective factors of marriage such as communication and intimacy decline when a baby is born. At the beginning of the marriage, intimacy can be high, dynamic, and constructive and couples produce as many babies as possible in those years. But as years turn by, it takes extra effort and adaptability to keep the intimacy the couples once shared.
BBC also reported a 2021 study conducted at the University of Born revealed that, on average, relationship satisfaction fluctuates over time – and declines during the first 10 years of being together. Studies also attest that parenthood can pose challenges for marriages.
How then can couples navigate these issues? What can be done to keep romance and intimacy burning even after having children? These are some of the challenges we will examine as we explore the topic: 7 Tips to Rediscovery Intimacy after Having Children in Nigeria.
What is Intimacy in a Relationship?
According to marriage.com, the concept of intimacy involves a mutually consensual relationship where two individuals reciprocate intimate moments and feelings of trust, and emotional and physical closeness towards each other.
It is a deep emotional connection and a sense of closeness between two individuals. It’s not just about physical closeness but also about sharing one’s thoughts, feelings, and desires with a partner in a way that fosters trust, vulnerability, and understanding.
Intimacy is at different levels. Couples can share in one category and not share in another. For instance, partners may cuddle, and enjoy sexual activity and physical affection but don’t engage in deep conversations, or share ideas and other intellectual pursuits. In such a situation, the couple enjoys physical intimacy but not intellectual intimacy.
What is the Role of Intimacy in a Relationship?
If it is called a romantic relationship, intimacy must be involved. If not, what is the essence of the relationship in the first place? When intimacy is dwindling between partners, it is a danger sign, they need to rekindle and spark up the fire once gained.
Intimacy in a relationship does the following:
- Strengthens Bond: It forms the foundation of emotional and physical connection, making the relationship more resilient and fulfilling. Partners bond deeper and feel closer to each other.
- Enhances Communication: Intimacy fosters open and honest communication, allowing partners to express their needs, desires, and concerns.
- Builds Trust: Intimacy enables partners to share vulnerabilities and personal details, creating trust and a sense of security within the relationship.
- Spices up the Relationship: Physical intimacy can bring excitement and passion to the relationship, keeping it vibrant satisfying, and fulfilling.
- Conflict Resolution: Partners who share a deep sense of intimacy will likely understand each other’s perspectives and work together. This aids in resolving conflicts as they easily forgive themselves and move the relationship forward.
Who Determines Intimacy in a Relationship?
No particular person determines the level of intimacy in the relationship. Although, it can be attributed to the woman, who has the means of sustaining romance, and bringing the atmosphere of love and happiness in the home. Research reveals intimacy in a relationship is a mutual and collaborative effort. Both partners contribute to determining the level and type of intimacy in the relationship. It’s not solely the responsibility of one person. Experts say both partners should feel comfortable expressing their needs and boundaries to ensure that intimacy is consensual and fulfilling.
7 Tips for Rediscovery Intimacy After Having Children
1. Make Out Time for Each Other
Rediscovering intimacy after having children begins with making time for each other. Schedule regular alone time or date nights without the children. It can be anything as simple as a dinner in the home after the kids are asleep or a planned weekend getaway. Prioritizing time for each other shows your commitment to maintaining your connection.
2. Communicate Often and Stay Open
Effective communication is key to understanding each other’s needs and desires. The more partners communicate, the better they discuss feelings, concerns, burdens, anxieties, and deep family matters. Stay active and open during conversations, pay attention, ask questions for clarification, and be honest with responses without judgment.
3. Experiment New Things Together
Introduce excitement and novelty into your relationship by trying new activities together. Explore common interests, take up a new hobby, or engage in adventurous experiences. Sharing and exploring things together create memorable moments and can help you bond in new ways. In trying new ways of doing things couples can rediscover their intimacy after having children.
4. Allow Romantic Gestures
Small, thoughtful acts can reignite the romantic spark. Surprise your partner with love notes, kisses, gifts, or gestures that remind them of your affection. Plan a warm shower together, breakfast in bed, surprise date night and other in-house romantic gestures can go a long way in showing your love and appreciation.
5. Set Realistic Expectations
Understand that intimacy after having children will change. It’s essential to adjust your expectations and not compare your current situation to the past. Intimacy can be just as meaningful, but it may require more creativity and flexibility. Focus on emotional connection and affection, and remember that intimacy isn’t solely about sexual activity.
6. Prioritize Self-Care
Couples should address personal physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Self-care is not delegated. It means individual care of one’s life. No matter how intimate you are with your partner, there is still room for personal space. Proper self-care contributes to a healthy relationship. When both partners are in a good place individually, it’s easier to come together as a couple.
7. Seek Support
If you’re finding it challenging to rebuild intimacy, consider seeking professional help. A trusted couples’ therapist can provide a safe and structured environment to address any underlying issues and offer guidance on rekindling intimacy. Therapy can provide tools and strategies to navigate the challenges of post-children intimacy.
These tips emphasize that rediscovering intimacy is a journey that requires effort, patience, and a willingness to adapt to the changes that come with parenthood. The fact that couples have children shouldn’t stop their intimacy and romance. In Nigeria, 43% of girls marry before their 18th birthday, and the males too are getting married at a young age. It is very common now to have young grandparents between ages 40 – 50. This is more reason to maintain intimacy in relationships. By incorporating these strategies, you can strengthen your bond and keep the flame of love alive in your relationship.