“One evening on our way to pick up my daughter from practice, my son made an odd statement. He said, ‘It’s funny to think when I grow up and am a dad, I’ll have to wrap presents at night.’
I gave him a puzzled look in the rear-view mirror. ‘You know, mom. Those times when you and dad go into your bedroom and close the door. Dad says y’all are going to wrap presents.’
At first, I had no idea what he was talking about, because the truth is, I wrap all of the Christmas gifts during the day when the kids are at school. And as far as the gifts from Santa, well, those are never wrapped and they are nicely hidden in the garage. The last thing his dad and I are doing back there is wrapping—oh, wait.
Love is an action, and when it comes to a healthy marriage, action is needed. And, yes, I mean action. It should surprise no one that my sex life with my husband has changed some over the years. We’ve been together for over twenty years, and the hard truth? If we wait for the kids to go to bed, it’s not going to happen. So, we have to get creative.
When we were dating, of course, things were always happening. With all of the excitement and fire of a new relationship, there was little to stand in our way. We had a standing lunch date just about every week. This wasn’t your average lunch date—we both picked up food to-go and met at either his house or mine.
Things were well-maintained for next few years, up until our married life faced the most significant change ever—our first child was born. In those early years of parenthood, it seemed almost impossible to muster up the energy to even take off my clothes at the end of the day. And, to be brutally honest, if I was going to completely disrobe, it would only be to enter a hot, steaming bath. Sad but true.
Nature can be such a paradox. We have to have sex in order to create life, but once we create life, we no longer want to have sex! The one thing we have to do to keep humanity going is the last thing we actually want to do. But a healthy sex life goes hand-in-hand with a healthy marriage. And just like any other part of marriage, this part sometimes takes work.
So, when our daughter was little, I went to my husband with an idea. We had to fully to commit to protecting at least one day a week for sex. In sickness, health, exhaustion, whatever—on that day we were having sex. He agreed and we decided on either Saturday or Sunday.
My vote was for Tuesday, but he didn’t want a weekday, so we are making it work with the 48 hours of each weekend. On the second week of our commitment I was ready to give up. Life is exhausting! Thankfully, my husband urged and urged me. (That was really nice, actually.) ‘Come on, Mel. We made a commitment. Now, take off your clothes.’
We stayed committed to our weekends and then our son was born. It’s strange, as our family expanded, in some ways I was more exhausted, but in some ways I wasn’t. There’s something about the second time around—familiarity and peace of knowing your crying newborn will be okay makes things much more bearable.
But sex still wasn’t at the top of our list. As life continued to change, we remained committed to our marriage and realized our weekend plans probably needed an adjustment.
To our surprise, we realized mornings were best. The day of the week didn’t really matter anymore, but the time did. I was willing to give my all to our family from the time I woke up until about 8:00 p.m. After, I was off the clock—for my kids and my husband.
As time has gone on, mornings still work, but sometimes early afternoons are better. Maybe even an early evening. Time, day, or place no longer matter, as long as we continue to feed the fire of our marriage.
Even after twenty years, when I get a text message asking if I want to go *wrap* gifts, my answer is always yes.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Melanie Forstall of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. You can follow her journey on Instagram here and Facebook here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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