Most relationships begin as "in love" or "in lust". Unless you are particularly superficial, you don't marry a person who is not suited to you in one of these fashions. Either way, lust can lead to love and love can entail lust, but both can be fleeting if not properly tended. You can plant basil all day long, but if you don't tend the garden other stuff will grow up around it and you will lose sight of it and pretty soon you're sprinkling some weed into your sauce and can't figure out why it tastes funky and someone will start to question your cooking skills when lasagna used to be your signature dish! (play with that one Hemingway)
Where was I? Oh, yeah... marriage advice. No matter how you started, things will likely diminish. It happens. Whether it is love or lust, eventually certain things grow comfortable or passe. Once you've seen how a person cleans, attends to personal matters (this includes any shared bathroom time), snores, or does a variety of other real life things... everything will change.
Things change even more once you throw kids into the mix. Whether they are his, hers, or theirs, kids change every dynamic of a relationship. Sadly, what seems to get tossed by the wayside in a lot of relationships is the couple itself. Been there. Done that. Own the house. Hahaha just kidding. I'm paying a mortgage.
A wise woman once told me that your kids are your kids, and they always will be. They will always need you for something. Whether it is help with school work, relationships, or money they will always be there. Those kids will leave you, though. They will get lives of their own, and pretty soon you will be left with the one person who was supposed to be there with you until the end. If you forget to nurture that relationship you will find yourself alone.
As parents we do the best we can. We give when we can. We discipline when needed. We advise, hug, encourage, and try to make them the best adults they can be. During that time, while you're both working at creating fine, upstanding, responsible adults... are you giving the same attention to your partner? The same can be said if you exchange the kids with a career.
The type of attention might be different, but our needs as human beings is not. We crave attention. We want to feel important, loved, vital, and desired. Sure, the kids have interests you want to help them develop, projects they need help with, sporting events they want you to attend, and problems they want help working through. So does your partner.
Here's the long and short of it... Your kids will not remember a single missed regular season game. If from time to time you get a sitter and go out and get to re-know your partner the kids won't be scarred for life. If you take a break from cooking the healthy meal and get take out then send the kids to bed 30 minutes before you are so exhausted you can't talk to your partner... guess what, the kids will survive. They are not as fragile as you might think, and it is important for them to see that you have an interest in each other. Just because they are the center of your universe doesn't mean they can't see you change orbits from time to time. It's good for them.
Aside from the typical date night (where you're so exhausted from the stuff you're focused on all week long) what are your best re-kindling moments? What do you do to remind your partner that they are important to you? Do you have a go-to restaurant, event, or method? How do you make your partner feel like they are still important for something other than a paycheck, to-do lists, cleaning, or child rearing?