We had kids in our early 20's, at a time when all our friends were unhitched and carefree, going out for Captain Coke cup nights and taking kid-free cruises or trips to Mexico.
While they were deciding which earrings to pair with their sequined tops, we were deciding which generic diapers to buy.
Gone were spontaneous date nights out at our favorite Italian restaurant, Neighbors, and entire weekends spend in bed watching movies and eating nothing but pizza and ice cream.
Every time we left the house after having kids had to be carefully orchestrated. The diaper bag stocked with supplies, snacks, and toys. Nap times and meal times navigated. The car loaded with an apartment's worth of stuff. We'd be exhausted and ready for a nap ourselves by the time we got to our destination.
Gone was spontaneous sex. That, too, had to be carefully arranged and expertly shushed.
As our babies grew into kids and now teenagers, romance came in phases. It went from date nights out while grandparents took on babysitting duty, to movies in while the kids were occupied gaming or having a sleepover at a friend's house, to now.
Now that we have teenagers, date nights are not marked on the calendar 3 weeks out. We have gotten our spontaneity back.
Romance looks like an afternoon on the Harley, my arms cinched around my husband's waist, as we ride to a state park for some hiking.
It looks like a long spring walk at a park nearby, laughing at our two rescue dogs and exploring a riverbank or pond.
It looks like laying intertwined on the couch watching 4 hours of a crime docuseries.
It looks like embracing in between rinsing dishes and loading them in the dishwasher.
It looks like picking out paint colors and spending the day painting a room.
It looks like my husband calling me hot while I fold laundry in my pajamas and messy bun.
It looks like playing Cards Against Humanity with friends and staying up past 10 p.m.
Romance is less flashy after kids, less dressy, less carefree.
It's sweatpants and no makeup instead of cleavage shirts and stilettos.
But I'll take comfort and intimate connection over fancy dinners and 4-inch heels any day.
Romance certainly changes after kids, but by being intentional, you will find a million new ways to connect physically and emotionally with your spouse.
Trust me, your marriage is worth every second of it.
This post originally appeared on the author's FB page, Faith In The Mess - Melissa Neeb, Writer