All Touched Out: The Crossroads of Parenting & Marriage

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Growing up I knew that understanding the love languages was something that could play into a happy or not-as-happy marriage. I knew going into my own marriage that it was important to own how I felt and what made me feel loved. However, I never knew that some of the very aspects of marriage that could make me feel like the most important person in the world to my husband could make my skin crawl after I had kids. Pregnancy and children are definitely a series of trials a tribulations, making it a very difficult season for many. This definitely is the cross roads that I stand in the middle of on a daily basis. The one where I am completely touched out, but have a husband that wants me. One that wants to connect with me, love me, and dare I say it? Have sex with me.

Trying to connect in our marriage even when I am all touched out and when kids make it hard to be intimate and invest in our marriage | ALLterNATIVElearning for OKC Moms Blog

So I admitted it… on the internet. My husband craves me and some days I just really want to curl up into a ball on an isolated island and have nothing to do with anyone or anything. How can the love that we fostered and the love that (ahem…) created our children now be so difficult and sometimes even so off-putting?

24 hours a day I am at the mercy of my child. I am service to her whether I feel good or not and I have to be there for her because her very existence depends on me. And then in walks in my husband after a long day’s work. He walks in the door with his stresses, his needs, and his expectations. Too many days it’s hard to not feel like the whole world is going to crumble and fall because I have just spent my entire day investing in my child and now I not only need to cook dinner, clean the house, and get the laundry done to fulfill him, but I also need to be his companion.

If we are meant to pro-create, then why is pregnancy and motherhood so difficult and why can I not seem to be the woman my husband truly needs on a daily basis? I wish there was an easy answer, but there are no easy answers in motherhood or in marriage. There is no “catch-all” plan to solve the problems that arise. Two years of this and we still have arguments and surely with more kids, it will just be an on-going problem to resolve. So what have we done in the meantime to ease the woes of the physical touch cross-roads?

Plan Regular Date Nights

We decided that even if it was expensive, it was worth the investment into our marriage to go on a date night without kids 2-4 times a month. It would be a time to rejuvenate and a time to reconnect. The anticipation of time alone together in itself was something that helped me ease up and open up with my husband.

Never Blame the Child(ren)

Missing out on an opportunity for intimacy is never a child’s fault. While there is definitely a time and space that marriage and parenting occupy at the same time, feeling guilt and then assigning blame to the child is never going to solve the problem. Talking it out will solve the problem. By having agreements in place to know that when a child is occupied with a toy or TV for 5-10 minutes, then “XYZ is our course of action” is a game plan to have in place that can save a lot of heart ache with all parties involved.

Openly Communicate

First realize that this is a heated topic, but one that ultimately will lead to contentment in your marriage. You have to realize that you both want each other even if on different levels at different times. It’s about communicating the new needs you have that make you feel loved. And even though it’s hard, it’s about communicating what makes you feel unloved. Whereas physical touch used to be one of my love languages, now I have found that words of affirmation and quality time mean most to me. (For more on finding out your love languages to better discuss, read about the 5 love languages here.

In the end, no marriage is perfect and we are all learning how to better love and serve our spouses all while daily venturing into uncharted territory as parents. So I encourage you to not discouraged. There is nothing wrong with you as a mother or as a spouse because you are all touched out.

In what ways have you worked through marital struggles early in parenthood?

8 COMMENTS

  1. My husabnd and I defnately have struggled with this after our first child was born. There were times of hurt feelings and big blow ups, but we also have turned those fights into frank conversations with more grace and understanding for each other and how the days and weeks drain us. Grace is a BIG ASSET to any relationship, I believe. The more I understand how much I need grace the more gracious I am. My husband and I are like ships passing in the night a lot of times but we usually spend the time in the evenings after kiddos are asleep to talk, cuddle, etc and make it quality time. I have removed my desire and expectation to be everybodys everything and have resolved to root myself in Christ, his love and grace for me and teach my children to do the same. And I am to be a reminder to my husband that while I am his number one girl, I should not be his number one nor his source of life- Jesus should be. We get our life and breath and energy and strength, endurance, joy and live from Him to spill out onto others (namely those we are responsible for carig for in this life).

    • Absolutely! Grace is so important in any relationship and rooting ourselves spiritually is vital to who we are. In the end, what we discovered for ourselves is that my husband still needs me and that if our intentions are God>Spouse>Children, we have to leave room for each other and always before our children even when it’s hard.

      In the end, finding a common connection with your spouse and an understanding where you can meet each other there is what’s most important. I know what my husband needs and what he values and he knows mines. We are both striving towards bettering each other in that process!

  2. Oh Kara! Thank you so much for writing this. I feel like I’m so stretched thin these days and that the last person I take care of is my husband. I have been holding onto a lot of guilt that I can’t be the wife he needs. Our relationship is still great, but I just worry that I’m not enough, you know? I really appreciate your honesty about this.

    • You are so welcome Amanda. It’s really a tough spot to be in because I think it is ingrained in us to feel like we are not enough when we are juggling so many things and little people all at once.

  3. This is a great post! On baby (alright he’s a toddler) number two and we’re at four years of not sleeping through the night and counting. I used to be so picky about everything being just right to have sex. We don’t have that luxury anymore and that’s hard for me to let go. Maybe I haven’t showered in 3 days, the Hubs doesn’t care.
    I find it’s such a battle in my mind to stay focused. And that’s one of the ways I can show my husband love, by being consumed with just him.
    I love what your other commentor Cara said about our source of joy and ultimate fulfillment must be Christ. Nothing else will satisfy.

    • Turning our minds off as moms I think can be really difficult so being consumed in just our husbands can be quite a chore sometimes. I struggle with that, but definitely have started to realize how much he just wants to be with me regardless of my horrible day and potentially horrible breath 😉

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