Sex & Relationships

The once-a-week sex hack that can save your marriage

Do you remember when you first met your partner?

You’d put effort into planning the perfect evening or spend time creating an outfit.

Your stomach would fill with butterflies as you drove to the restaurant, or your heart would skip a beat when their name popped up on your phone. You were infatuated with one another and decided to commit to each other forever.

The months rolled by, and now you’re years deep in a marriage that has lost some of the spark you once shared.

Well, it wasn’t marriage that did it, it’s that you stopped dating!

Kidspot spoke exclusively with Anni’s sexologist, Michaela Southby, and relationship expert, Emma Paul, to find out where that intimacy went and whether you can get it back.

“Marriage is not a spark killer”

Experts remind everyone that just because you are married doesn’t mean you should stop dating. Getty Images

When we asked Michaela about common myths concerning intimacy and marriage, she revealed the most prevalent is that marriage kills the spark. “It isn’t necessarily marriage that kills it,” she told Kidspot. “It’s life.”

When we stop dating one another, we stop carving out time and just get into the motions of life.

“Make time for each other,” Michael recommended.

“Many people will adhere to gym sessions or a sports event but claim they are too tired on date night.

“Make it a goal to prioritise intimacy – try it for a week. Steal kisses, send love notes, wrap around each other while you watch TV. Walk the dog, hold hands, and leave your phones at home. Be mindful of each other.”

She also claimed that many believe intimacy equals sex, “Another myth is that intimacy equals sexual passion, when in fact, it evolves into different forms of connection beyond just physicality.

“Intimacy in marriage can be forged with sharing, curiosity and the all-important forgiveness (let go of the small stuff).”

However, Michaela warned that it needed constant attention: “Intimacy can fade in any relationship unless it is tended to. A deep emotional connection will sustain you through the highs and lows.”

A masterpiece

Long-term partnerships take ongoing care and attention. Getty Images

Think your marriage is beyond the dating stage? Michaela definitely doesn’t think so and told us long-term relationships just need more attentiveness.

She said, “New relationships have been likened to a blank canvas waiting to be painted with intimacy.”

“While long-term partnerships are like a masterpiece that requires ongoing care and attention.”

She went on to explain, “In the beginning, intimacy may be about discovery and excitement, while over time, it’s about deeper connection, shared memories, even vulnerability.”

However, a lifelong commitment doesn’t mean that excitement disappears.

“Moving from honeymoon phase to life partner is different, but in many ways, more exciting,” she said.

The reality of dating with kids

We asked the Kidspot community if they still schedule regular date nights with their long-term partner, and there was a clear distinction between those with kids and those without.

Newly engaged Ellie said, “My partner and I do a weekly ‘admin’ hour, where we schedule everything we need to do for the week, from chores to errands to appointments and, yes, even dates.

“It ensures that we actually go on them! Not out of obligation, though – we want to and like each other a lot! But because if we don’t, life will just get in the way.”

Loved up, Alexia added, “We make a point of going to a new restaurant every week or so. We live in an area where a new restaurant will pop up every month, so it keeps things interesting.”

But those with children found date nights falling down the list of priorities.

Some couples set aside time to communicate and plan their week, scheduling time for themselves as well. Getty Images

Dad of two, John, said, “Did it a lot more often before kids. Now a date night is basically enjoying the time after we’ve put them to bed.”

Piper, a mum of three, echoed this sentiment, “Before kids, we used to do dinner and a movie every Friday night, but now those date nights are few and far between because the cost of babysitting makes a night out twice as expensive.”

Creative date ideas from a sexologist

A sexologist explains that a perfect date night is subjective and based on your needs. Getty Images

Instead of Googling ‘The Perfect Date Night’, Michaela suggested thinking about where your partner is at in life.

“The ideal date night is a misnomer,” Michaela stated.

“Sexy is meeting your partner’s needs, not trying to mould them to fulfil your own. It may be Netflix and chill, it may be a shared bath with wine. It may be pretending to be strangers hooking up at a bar. It must NEVER be stressful.”

Start small

Couples can deepen their connection by simply going on short walks together. Getty Images

Anni relationship expert Emma Paul suggested looking beyond the noise and focusing on your own partnership.

“Your relationship is yours to create,” she stated.

“Removing unnecessary pressure from a relationship having to look a certain way is a great start.”

If a night out for dinner or leaving the kids isn’t an option at the moment, Emma says no problems. Couples can deepen their emotional connection and understanding of each other in as little as five minutes.

“It could look like going for a walk or hike once a week and discussing what went well in your week, what could have gone better and how you would do things differently next time,” she said.

“This could [even] look like a daily ritual of meditating together and sharing what came up for you, limited to 5 minutes each.”

Whatever you and your partner decide, it’s important to remember that your marriage is and always will be the two of you. If you put the work in to tend and nurture it, you won’t be so annoyed when they can’t find the tomato sauce in the fridge next time!