There’s no shortage of pointers about how to make sure your marriage doesn’t turn stagnant after kids come along. Communicate often. Prioritize your partner. Make date night a regular occurrence. Don’t neglect sex. While these are all useful, research-backed pieces of advice for making a marriage feel healthy and fresh, they’re also a bit abstract. So, we decided to ask real couples: How do you keep it sexy-ish? That is, what do you and your partner do to stay close, connected, and, well, just into one another? For Saj, 33, who lives in Channel Islands, United Kingdom, who runs an educational tutoring business online and has two kids with his wife, it’s about sticking to a simple Friday night tradition he and his wife started before kids came along.
When my wife and I first got married, we were broke. We didn’t have the money to go out on dates, so instead, we started watching Breaking Bad. That was our first big show. We got to snuggle on the sofa together and share a journey. Ultimately, after we finished Breaking Bad, those Friday night snuggles became a tradition. I’d rush to get home at the end of the week so we could quickly eat and then jump on the sofa.
Movie nights became even more important after we had kids. We knew that becoming new parents could drive a wedge between us. We were juggling work, parenthood, being tight on money. And with kids, being able to go out on dates became even more difficult. But we still wanted a way to spend time with one another, just the two of us. So for the past seven years, my wife and I have rented a movie or boxset on TV every Friday night, once the kids are asleep, without fail. It sounds quaint, but it’s exciting. We’re able to spend time together, share a common interest, but undisturbed.
Even though it’s such a small thing, I can’t explain in words how exciting watching TV shows like Game of Thrones has been for us. It also helps our sexual relationship as well. In general, we make a lot of effort for one another, and that includes the fact that Friday nights are always ours. I think that’s what love is all about, really. Just wanting the best for, and making time for, the other person, no matter what.
Also, having this huge shared interest helps us communicate. We talk to each other, not just about our kids, not just about schedules, but about something totally fun. Something fictional. Just talking about the things that we love to do together improves our communication — including when it comes to sex.
I think all the other things we do beyond movie nights also helps keep the physical side of our relationship exciting. Sometimes, we make the grandparents take the kids for one night. When we’re home alone, without the kids distracting our attention from one another, we can really talk. Just catch up properly without worrying about waking up the kids.
But usually, we don’t need a babysitter, because we put both the kids down for bed at 7:30 p.m. every night. When picking a movie, the rule is we both have to agree. If one of us really doesn’t like a movie, we can veto it and we have to pick something else. Sometimes we have to refer to the “judge” — the IMDB movie database — if we both have different suggestions. The movie with the highest rating wins. And, when we’re watching, we only have one rule: no mobile phones. We keep them on silent, away from us, so there are no distractions.
Snuggled under a blanket on the sofa together creates this level of intimacy. It’s such a nice feeling when you uncover a great TV show and you get to share it. It’s comfortable, but new. We make our own snacks. We don’t have to be at the movies in public. We have each other’s totally private company and comfort.
We find ourselves tagging one another on Facebook posts whenever we see an awesome trailer for a show or movie and it just gives us something to look forward to within our relationship. It’s also just an escape. Every Friday night together, we escape our world of responsibility, parenthood, and work. For those few hours, we just to enjoy a little bit of time together away from it all, in our little bubble, and it reminds of us why we got together in the first place.