Seven Ways to Spice Up Your Marriage
Let’s be real. Having kids can sometimes be a form of birth control in and of itself.
Between the busyness of caring for littles and caring for ourselves and whatever else takes up priority in our lives, it’s easy for husbands and wives to find themselves in what people commonly refer to as “a rut.” Meaning, sexy time just ain’t happening.
Oh yeah, I guess I should probably mention this post is not PG-rated and contains way more information about my sex life than you probably would ever want to know.
My husband Grant and I are familiar with this feeling of being in a so-called "rut”, particularly after the birth of our first daughter basically erased my libido and brought my sex drive to an unforeseen all-time low. Fun stuff, right?
But rest assured, we did finally make our way out of this sort of no-man’s land (is it crude to say that “no man’s land” would’ve been a great name for my lady parts back then?) and if you’re curious to know more about that process, I actually wrote a post on this titled How We Got Our Sex Life Back After Kids, which I suppose is a more serious, but also less comical version of what I’m attempting to write now.
Even after we recovered our sex life, however, keeping our marriage romantic and sexy has continued to be a challenge and something that we are constantly having to work on. It really can be tough to connect on a deeper, more intimate level in this season of parenthood, especially when everyday life seems so repetitive and mundane.
This is why when I was setting my goals and making declarations for the year 2019, I made sure that one of the first ones on my list was that I want our marriage to be sexier and richer than ever. And by ever, I mean EVER. I want this year of our marriage to be so spicy and sexy that it knocks every other year before this out of the park! And something like this is definitely not achieved overnight.
So over the course of the past few months, we’ve been incorporating new things (and also continuing to incorporate some not-so-new but still very effective things) into our marriage that are designed to spice things back up. Are they foolproof? No. Do they work for everyone? Probably not. But because these things do work well for us, I hope to encourage other husbands and wives to at least try a few ideas or even to come up with their own!
So, without further adieu, here is my list of seven ways to spice up your marriage.
Seven Ways to Spice Up Your Marriage
1. Mix up date night.
Please hear me out. I’m definitely not opposed to dinner and a movie and I also have complete sympathy and understanding for those of you who don’t regularly go out on dates because that was Grant and I for a VERY long time. But this is my stance on date nights, born out of our own struggle and realization: dating your spouse does make a difference in your marriage, as does the quality of your dates. And if you’re at all like us, then you’ve maybe discovered by now that dinner and a movie just does not cut it.
For starters, dinner and a movie is just not cost-effective. It’s not even all that conducive to building great connection! You can sit on your butt at home and watch a movie from Redbox for a tenth of the price, and isn’t checking out in front of a TV or show what so many of us are trying to ESCAPE from anyway?
For the first year of our eldest child’s life, anytime we went out on a date (which I am not ashamed to say was very rare), we went out for dinner and a movie, and EVERY SINGLE TIME I came home and thought to myself, “yeah, that was nice, but we could’ve done without it.” You guys. That should not be the first thought that comes to mind after coming home from a date. A way better thing to be thinking is, “Wow, what a breath of fresh air! I can finally see my husband the way that I did back when we used to make out for hours in the car. This is my best friend and the best partner I could ever have, and I want to spend fifty more years having this much fun with him.” See the difference?
If you’re wondering if it is even possible to get to this point, I challenge you to try mixing up your date nights. Stop with the dinner and movie, or at least switch it up on occasion. There are way better uses of your money and time. Go on dates that feel like an adventure. Go on dates that make you feel young and alive. Go on dates that remind you of what a great team you guys are.
So far we’ve gone on a lot of fun dates in 2019 and not a single one was dinner and a movie. Each and every one has been a completely different experience. Escape room. Bowling. Drinks with friends. Seeing a comedian live. Getting tattoos (this happened while we were on our first weekend getaway without the kids, which was definitely one of the best weekends of my life).
We are not rich by any means, and to be honest, some of these dates ended up costing WAY more than what was budgeted or expected. But I’m more than okay with taking $50 out of our savings account from time to time if it means we have more fun and feel more connected than we have in YEARS. It is absolutely worth the investment.
Date nights are not a must. They do not make or break a marriage. But they definitely can make a world of difference when they’re done right.
2. Get some music going.
You want to turn an everyday mundane event into something sexy? Get some music going.
Robin Thicke, Johnnyswim, Justin Timberlake, or what have you. It doesn’t matter what gets your hips moving. Just start making use of every opportunity to get them there.
I had no idea how much fun cooking with Grant could be (especially because he’s such a measurement snob and control freak in the ktichen) until we got an Amazon Echo for Christmas. Now it’s like we’re all up on each other while dicing vegetables, hoping the neighbors aren’t watching from over the fence.
And cooking isn’t the only event we infuse with spice through music. Car rides are especially fun (but maybe not the most safe, depending on your level of “handsy”). Showers for two are SUPER exciting when you’ve got some sexy playlist going. Basically anytime and anywhere you two are doing life together — with discretion, of course.
Here’s what’s so awesome about all of this. The more you play your favorite “mood music” for each other, the better you are able to understand and connect with one another. Because maybe your husband doesn’t know how that one Ellie Goulding song always gets you going (not speaking from personal example or anything… ahem), but when you play it for him and you let him see how your body responds to it, it’s like he’s learning something new about you. He’s getting insight into the sort of adventure or romance you’re craving and this enables him to match your passion (or, if he’s a jerk, just make fun of you for your choice in music. Hey, I warned you that these ideas aren’t exactly foolproof!)
I’m not going to go into full detail about Grant and I’s choice in music, but I will say that while 50 Shades of Grey may be super questionable, at least the soundtrack is on point. Moving on…
3. Spice up yourself.
Now before you roll your eyes, at least try to be honest with yourself and admit that there is some truth in the idea that dressing yourself up in something sexy brings out more sexiness in your marriage. And look, I’m not talking corset and stockings (unless that’s your thing, in which case, mad props to you). I’m just saying that there are many different fun and flirty ways for us to flaunt our womanhood that don’t just appeal to our husbands, but also bring out some inner confidence. And this could be anything from wearing a sheer Victoria’s Secret babydoll dress to having nothing but a T-shirt on (because maybe, in the words of Jessica Simpson, you’ve “never felt so beautiful”).
I got my haircut last week and I’ll confess that it’s driving me NUTS how frequently Grant has tried to come onto me. I mean, I knew I looked good with forehead bangs, but sheesh!
The thing to remember is that spicing yourself up doesn’t have to mean changing the woman you are or even changing your whole wardrobe! It could be as simple as finding one or two new shirts that make YOU feel sexy and beautiful or putting on some lipstick because it makes you feel a little more bold. Maybe for you, it means buying a sexier nursing bra or switching things up by wearing a bralette (this one for curvy, plus size women is my FAVE and so worth the investment if you’re like me and basically wear one everyday). Maybe, just maybe — and please, please, please don’t punch me in the face for saying this — it means finally starting that diet or workout regimen you swore you would try forever ago.
So far this year I’ve lost 20 pounds, and not one bit of my decision had to do with trying to attract my husband. It had everything to do with wanting to love myself better and feel more like myself. And it actually worked. All of a sudden, I was feeling sexier and more excited about intimacy, and this enriched my marriage in ways I hadn’t anticipated.
So what makes you love yourself better? What makes you feel most like yourself? Find those things, make room for them in your marriage, and then see what kind of ripple effect they just might have.
4. New positions, new locations.
I mean, do I really have to explain?
The other day I was perusing the Kama Sutra section of a bookstore while my kids were sitting on the floor flipping through a Moana book nearby. Great parenting, I know. But I’m not going to lie. These books were fascinating. Up until an older gentlemen started walking over and I just about hiked my kids up under my arms and hightailed out of there. instead of leaving, though, I stopped myself. Because really? Truthfully? What could be more completely normal than this? A mom of two, still adjusting to motherhood and her new body and all the other changes that come with it, struggling to find more ways to spice things up in the bedroom. Are you right there with me, too, my friends?
This is not something to be ashamed of. It’s admirable, really! It says, “I’m open to the possibility that my husband and I haven’t had our best sex yet and I’m willing to go out and find it.”
Ya’ll, I am sometimes THE laziest in the bedroom. At the end of the day, I am just beat and the last thing on my mind is getting it on. But let me tell you, I have an entire ARSENAL of the best lazy positions for having sex, all of which entail little to no effort on my part and are as relaxing as laying at the spa.
Looking for another sex hack? Take the action into the shower. You don’t have to undress more than once because you already were going to shower anyway. Plus, easy clean-up. I’m not even embarrassed to admit that we do this frequently and almost always while I have my shower cap on (my husband obviously adores me).
So with all of that being said, I want to encourage you to not be afraid to explore different sex positions or locations. All it might take is just a few awkward initial conversations or moments for you to find your new favorite ones.
5. New… well, for lack of better word… toys.
I did mention this post isn’t PG-rated, right?
When Grant and I recorded a podcast episode together last year on the topic of sex, I didn’t just allude to it. I straight up acknowledged it. Our sex life improved IMMENSELY when a dear friend of mine introduced the idea of using toys in the bedroom to me and I finally moved past my embarrassment to try it. Notice how I explicitly say that a FRIEND was the one who recommended it to me — because never in a million years did I think that toys were for us up until that point. And man, was I wrong!
That’s all I’m going to say on this topic.
Basically, please don’t discount it.
6. Just lay together.
I don’t care how cheesy it sounds. There is so much value to be found in moments where you and your spouse are just laying together in bed, touching however feels most comfortable (but really, is there ANY form of cuddling that actually feels totally comfortable?), breathing in sync (or slightly out of sync, which may or may not confuse you and makes you almost forget how to breathe), and sharing what’s on your mind.
Most nights, it’s like Grant and I can’t scramble downstairs to the couch fast enough. As soon as we say goodnight to the kids and close their bedroom doors, the first thing we’re thinking is, “Finally! Time to binge-watch our show.” But there are some nights we don’t rush — usually because one of us is so tired that we just collapse onto the bed and the other ends up joining. And when this happens, it’s like we’re taking a moment to slow down and just BE with each other. One of us usually says something along the lines of “wow, what a day,” and then we both sigh as we look at each other, and THIS is where some of our best conversations begin. Because for just ten or twenty minutes, we’re alone and we’re listening. No distractions. No kids. No noise. No chores. No TV. Just he and I and whatever’s weighing on our hearts that we finally get the opportunity to acknowledge and say out loud.
If you don’t already do this, I want to encourage you to try it. Pick one night a week where you just spend fifteen minutes laying together after the kids go down. Hold hands. Intertwine legs. Let out the sighs from a hard day’s work and then allow yourself to just… be. And to feel. And to share honestly and vulnerably.
Is this sexy? Maybe not. But is it crucial if you want to have a marriage that’s sexier and richer than ever? You bet.
7. Plan on it.
I really do believe that having conversations with your spouse about your hopes and expectations regarding sex should be a regular, if not weekly, practice, in your marriage, even if just to be sure you’re still on the same page. This includes coming up with some sort of game plan on the frequency and timing of sex. Because if we’re being honest, sometimes intentions don’t turn into actions until they’re actually talked about, decided on, and written down on paper.
Because I feel so strongly about this, I’ve actually created a FREE printable worksheet for husbands and wives to fill out on a weekly basis that encourages healthy conversation and intentional planning revolving around sex and intimacy.
Let me tell you: Grant and I have used this worksheet over and over again and it definitely helps in the whole “turning intention into action” department. Each week that we’ve filled this out, we both feel like we have a better understanding of what the other wants and it also gives us excitement for what’s coming!
I hope these questions are as helpful to your marriage as they have been to ours and that they get you one step closer to having a sexier, spicier marriage.