You’ve just had a long, hectic day. You’ve had a full day at work, and when you come home, you’re immediately greeted by household chores, clingy kids, and a stack of bills. There’s dinner to prepare and a report that’s due tomorrow morning.
Then, when you lie down in bed—eager to get much-needed sleep—your husband gives you that look. Oh, no! Something tells you that he’s about to ask for sex, but you’re just not in the mood, and haven’t been in a long time. ‘I’m tired, honey,’ you say, but he gets upset. ‘You’re always tired!’ he complains. What do you do?
1. Talk about both your needs.
All marriage experts agree that communication is the heart and soul of a happy relationship. You may be physically exhausted right now, but it’s important to maintain at least that emotional connection. Explain your feelings (it’s better than rolling over and making him feel ignored and unwanted) and then listen to his.
Talking to each other can also help you find a happy compromise and look for practical and realistic ways to solve the problem. For example, you can set a special day each week when you and your husband can go on a date and set the mood for, uhm, bedtime. Or, if you’re overwhelmed by work and household chores, you can talk about ways to reduce your workload. Maybe you can hire a housekeeper, or your husband can take over dinner and dishes three times a week.
2. Boost your body.
Regular physical activity and exercise can help boost your libido and strengthen your body so you aren’t completely wiped out from work by the end of the day. Exercise also releases endorphins, your body’s happy hormones, and losing those excess pounds can also make you feel better about yourself and the way you look.
‘But I’m too tired and busy to exercise!’ you sigh. Even just 20 minutes of regular exercise a day can already boost your energy levels. It can even be a way of bonding with your husband and kids: go for a walk after dinner, go dancing once a week, take up a sport. You can also get 30-minute exercise DVDs. Try waking up 20 minutes earlier every day–sounds hard, but it’s worth it. You’ll feel an increase in concentration and energy levels and can get more done in less time.
3. Watch what you eat
You don’t need to go on a diet. Just eat a light dinner. Heavy meals can make you feel sluggish, and high-sugar desserts will lead to an energy crash just when you hit the sack. Certain foods have also been known to increase libido—why not include these ingredients in your meal plan? You can end the meal with a glass of wine. It’ll help you relax, and put you in the mellow mood that’s always good for sex.
4. Spend time away from the kids
It’s hard to get into the mood, or even connect as a couple, when every free minute of your day goes to the kids. Maybe you can declare every other Saturday ‘couple time’ and send the kids to the grandparents. Or, hire a babysitter so you and your husband can watch a movie or go out for a night of dancing. If that’s not feasible, look for other pockets of couple time. You can have Sunday breakfast in bed, or meet up for lunch once a week.
Sex is just part of a deeper, intimate relationship. It’s hard to feel physically connected when your conversations revolve around errands or the kids’ soccer games. Set time ‘just to talk.’ It’ll strengthen your marriage and give you much needed stress relief.
5. Celebrate little occasions.
Don’t wait for Valentine’s Day or your wedding anniversary to do something special together. Make little romantic gestures ‘just because.’ Send him flowers just to thank him for being a great dad and husband. Leave naughty love notes in his day planner. These can put the spark back into your marriage (and sex life), and also is a way to tell him again and again how much you love him. Sex isn’t the only way to show affection and appreciation—and sometimes that’s all a couple needs to get through a normal ‘dry spell.’