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Challenge: Romance After Kids

Sweat It Out (In More Ways Than One)

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Keeping the love alive is never easy, especially when you’ve got one or more crazy loveable kids taking up the majority of your time. While it’s important to put your kids first in most aspects, putting them first all the time is going to create a couple of frazzled parents who end up at each other’s throats.

Taking some time, even just a few minutes a day, to focus on yourself, your husband, and keeping the love alive is a great way to keep that spark alight.

The Couple That Sweats Together

I promise this is going to be mostly safe for work, but getting sweaty with your significant other can be a great way to keep the love alive. And by getting sweaty, I mean going to the gym. Get your mind out of the gutter, or at least save it for later.

The mental health benefits of exercise are well known. Regular exercise increases dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain, and decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol. If you’re exercising by yourself, you can expect to feel these benefits. Working out with your significant other is a great way to enjoy those endorphins and feel-good hormones while spending some time with them. Regular exercise has also proven to help keep sickness at bay – which is a great way to avoid being one of the 20% of people who get the cold or flu every year!

Working out together gives you the joy of sharing an experience, even if you’re on the treadmill while your partner is lifting weights. Studies have found that exercising together helps to improve your happiness with your relationship as well.

Keep It Up During the Winter

Finally, before I get to the rest of the sweaty tips and tricks to keep your relationship alive, it’s a great way to get you through the blues I know we’ve all experienced during the winter months. If you’re not up to braving the cold weather, figure out a series of exercises you and your partner can do at home. Check Pinterest for ideas for work outs involving yoga, body weight and other exercises.

If your kids aren’t school age just yet, try looking into a gym that offers child care. Your little ones will get to enjoy hanging out with other kids their age, and you can enjoy a good work out without having to look over your shoulder or under your feet while you’re working out with your partner.

Of course, beyond exercising, there are other ways to bond with your significant other.

I Hate Ikea

Okay, maybe I don’t really hate it, but there’s definitely a love-hate relationship there. If you’ve ever picked up anything from the furniture giant, then you understand my frustration. Instead of getting mad and pulling a Ryan Reynolds when he assembled that Ikea crib, make your furniture assembly adventure a team effort. Pour a couple of drinks, wait until the kids have gone to bed, and tackle the new bookshelf or desk.

It can be an exercise in frustration, but it can also be a great way to spend some time with your partner. One example that comes to mind is this past Christmas Eve. My husband got a new grill for Christmas, so we tucked the kid in and spent the evening out on the patio assembling the grill. It was a great way to spend some quality time, just the two of us, even if we started putting parts on upside down as the night went on. My husband declared the grill finished half-way through when the beer opener was installed.

And depending on what you’re putting together, you may end up sweating quite a bit. Yes, I’m looking at you, corner desk.

The Family That Slays Together

Video games get a bad rap when it comes to relationships. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard wives complaining about their husband, saying he’d rather spend time on the computer than with them. I was one those complainers, once upon a time, and then I learned that the family who slays together, stays together

Plus, playing video games doesn’t mean you have to be sedentary. Kinect on the Xbox and Move on the PlayStation are both great ways to get up and moving, with games like Just Dance and UFC Trainer. The Wii is basically one big exercise machine, with most of the games requiring you move around to achieve your objectives.

A bit of healthy competition is good for couples. In general, competitive couples are more active, more honest, and more willing to cheer each other on, whether they’re competing together or separately.

For God’s Sake, Don’t Skip Date Night

Your kids are one of the most important parts of your life. I know how easy it is to skip over things like date night when you’ve got field trip fees or sports team memberships to worry about. Let me put this as simply as I can.

For the love of whatever you deem holy, don’t skip date night.

Dating is what helped you nurture that spark of love to begin with, so why should you stop dating just because you’re married? My husband and I have been together for almost 10 years, and we’re always happier when we make sure to take a date night once in a while. Once a week is ideal, but let’s be honest, with our kid at home, it isn’t always practical.

Whether you get sweaty during your date night or not is entirely up to you. Just keep in mind that unless you’re breaking out the Karma Sutra, sex doesn’t burn as many calories as you might think.

Sometimes, getting sweaty or getting your hands dirty are the best way to keep the love alive. It doesn’t require a ton of money or really that much effort. Just take the time to do some things together, just the two of you, and you’ll find that keeping that spark grows easier and easier with each passing year. You fell in love with them for a reason, after all. It’s up to both of you to keep reminding yourselves of that reason, and all the reasons that you’ve made since.

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