As February comes to a close; a month with a central focus on Valentine’s Day and the theme of love, let us remember that our call to love our husbands expands beyond the socially constructed season. It can be easy, especially in the early days of motherhood to forget that our husband is actually first on our priority list; although our children may demand more of our time, that is not an invitation to neglect our spouse. In the midst of the everchanging, yet ever-present chaos of raising children, it is more important than ever to intentionally cultivate intimacy in your relationship. Parenting is a partnership and a team effort. It works most effectively when both participants are on the same page with clear expectations and goals. The only way to achieve that level of unity is through intimate and intentional communication. It has become normalized in our society to perceive physical touch as the core definition of intimacy, however, the root from which intimacy grows is communication.

Regardless of the gender roles in your family, odds are you each have your own daily burdens, responsibilities, and needs that are unbeknown to the other unless communicated. While I know my husband went to work today, and I have a general idea of what his typical day entails, I don’t know specifically the stresses he faced or challenges with which he was confronted. As a result, I am limited in my ability to best serve his needs, until he has the opportunity to express them. Similarly, he may know I spent the day running errands with the baby; however without communicating, he won’t know that I’ve been touched by tiny hands for 90% of my day, listened to incessant screaming, the accumulated time spent driving, and that ALL I want is 20 minutes to shower without someone watching, talking to, or touching me… Sound relatable?

I think often the call to serve as a wife and the call to nurture as a mother can unintentionally become intertwined; when to do them well, they need to be separated. Our husband is not our extra child, and it would be wrong to view him as such. While it’s justified to feel overstimulated and touched out after a day of nurturing your babes, that is not an invitation to neglect your husband’s physical or emotional desires to be intimate with his wife. Once we correct our perception of everyone “needing” us, which leads to a selfish and begrudging attitude, and embrace the privilege it is to serve those we love, then we can truly enjoy the gift of intimacy in marriage. The once-perceived burden of additional unwarranted physical affection and unfruitful small talk can be transformed into intentional intimacy where we’re able to effectively serve our spouses’ specific needs and be lovingly served in return. So, I encourage you to separate serving your husband from nurturing your children. Intentionally cultivate intimacy through communication with your spouse. Bear each other’s burdens and rejoice in each other’s joy, and ultimately embrace the gift and privilege it is to be united and known in love.