He Said, She Said: The Truth About Sex After Kids
BY DEBBIE & ANTHONY KING
PHOTO © ORANGELINE / 123RF STOCK PHOTO
Aug 4, 2017
The door shuts behind us. I take in the silence of our muted apartment. A flirty evening breeze swirls through the living room. But for a stray Lego piece under the coffee table, it was a perfectly serene date-night setting. With our daughter off to grandma’s, my husband and I finally had time to reconnect as a couple. I was oh, so thrilled. And oh, so tired.
I wanted to want him that night, but I was just so tired.
Making a conscious effort to unplug from my mental and social feeds, I sank into the sofa with a glass of Gewürztraminer. I scrolled dessert menus and he scrolled through Netflix, until we eventually married our moods. Romantic comedy ensued on the couch and on the screen. Feeling relaxed, I curled my bare legs over his lap and trusted my libido to turn on naturally.
I adore my husband's firm chest and boyish face. I wanted to want him that night, but I was just so tired. Instead of batting my lashes, I found myself succumbing under the weight of my eyes and unsure how I would handle his advances. I'd hate for him to feel rejected. And I'd hate to go through the intimate motions motivated by fear of missed opportunity.
To my relief, there were no advances. I opened my eyes late in the night to find my husband standing over me. He offered his hand in a gentlemanly fashion, and with kindness in his eyes, escorted me to bed so I could sleep.
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The door shuts behind us. It’s Friday night and, finally, my wife and I have the apartment to ourselves. I can actually hear the silence in our usually noisy two-bedroom apartment. The high-pitched peel of laughter, the perpetual shockwaves produced by tiny feet stomping away, the dragging of furniture across the floor; these are the sounds I instantly miss.
Don’t get me wrong: I’ve been looking forward to ‘date night’ with my wife for close to six weeks now. We booked a sleepover with Grandma weeks ago and marked it on the calendar. I’m more than eager for some much needed intimacy with my wife (who just gets hotter every year, by the way), it’s just hard to switch off father-mode for the first few minutes. Some alcohol should fix that, right?
After thirteen years of matrimony, I’ve learned that relationships have a flow and an ebb.
We go through the usual routine: order in, turn on Netflix – something light – and indulge in desserts. We’ve got beer, wine, the entire couch to ourselves and no minors in sight. My wife and I are laughing, exchanging witty comments about the movie, and our chemistry is once again giving off sparks. And then…
I think my wife fell asleep first. I opened my eyes in time to see the film credits scrolling. I only had two bottles of Guinness.... oh yeah, I'm almost 45, and I’m a dad now.
Sleep came in silently, perhaps through a crack in a window, or the keyhole in the door, and as soon as I wasn’t looking, it knocked me out and stole my dignity.
I’m not gonna lie: I didn’t even try to fight it. I rolled over like a puppy and went to bed with my wife. To sleep, I mean. Sweet, restful oblivion in the bed I share with my wife, without my precious daughter wedging herself between us.
Am I disappointed that my wife and I spent date night catching up on sleep? Nah. After thirteen years of matrimony, I’ve learned that relationships have a flow and an ebb. There was a time in our marriage when my wife and I had a lot of freedom and a lot more privacy. But that time has passed. It was fun, but so is getting older, getting wiser and becoming a better human being.
The truth is, we'd love to have more time together, but for now we've learned to make every moment count and that intimacy is more than what happens (or doesn't happen) on date night.
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