But the quick summary goes something like this. In most cases, intimacy between marriage partners takes a big hit after kids enter the picture. Several reasons for this (from the woman's point of view) include:
1. I'm. So. Tired. Been up most of the night dealing with hungry/fussy baby. For 2 months in a row.
2. I feel fat. Case closed.
3. All day long I've been dealing with all the household chores and then with all the baby peeing and pooping and spitting up and I didn't even have time to wash the vomit out of my hair... not feeling so sexy.
4. A woman's biological need at this time is NOT to procreate again. In fact, her biological need is to make sure that this one baby can survive on its own before she puts herself in a position where she might end up having to care for another one.
Men, on the other hand, don't experience this biological shift, they don't think we're fat, and they don't understand how tired we are. Why can't things just be normal like they used to be? What about his needs? (By the way, this is where men get the upper hand on Keeping Score.)
Which leads us to another point... What about his needs? There's a helpless baby in the other room and you better bet that when it cries, it doesn't matter how tired we mommies are, we'll find a way to muster the energy to attend to its needs. Babies need us. Grown men can take care of themselves, can't they?
Turns out, not if you want a happy marriage.
Don't ignore this part, ladies. Besides making everyone happy, you just might find that a little skip in his step will lead him to taking the garbage out and fixing the broken light and maybe, just maybe, helping you fold a load of laundry. Don't doubt your ability to become the wife he sees as a goddess...
A few years ago, I saw an episode of Oprah where the guest was a woman who wrote a somewhat controversial book* on putting her relationship with her husband above her relationship with her kids... She made it clear that she loved her kids dearly, but that she loved her husband more, and that her relationship with him came first. Her thought was that by showing her kids a healthy, strong, loving relationship between parents, she was teaching them a valuable life lesson while at the same time allowing them to feel secure that their parents were one strong unit. Made total sense to me, but I swear, this woman got boo'd by the audience of moms repeatedly. Like she was a bad mom for not putting her children first... So I'm not sure where the balance is, but I don't think that kids benefit when their parents aren't in a loving relationship with each other, so whatever priorities we need to set to make that happen are going to be key.
Finally, don't forget the Small Gestures of Intimacy like holding hands, hugging, and kissing that can be left by the wayside when we're swamped with other priorities. You don't want to wake up one day and realize that you've been "running a small nursery with someone you used to date"...
*If anyone knows what book I'm talking about, please let me know. I saw the Oprah episode years ago when the thought of having kids wasn't even on my radar so I never did really look into finding the book. But I'd love to read it now..