How to keep the spark alive – even if you have small kids

I love you but you always put me lastWho was it that once said that having a baby is like chucking a hand grenade into a relationship? Once a baby or babies come long it can be all too easy to let the romance slide as you get caught up with family life and pour all your energies into your children.

Today’s guest blog is from Andrew G Marshall – a marital therapist and author of the new book ‘I love you but you always put me last: How to childproof your marriage’ published by Macmillan, £12.99. He gives some tips on how to keep the spark alive. We also have five copies of his new book to giveaway.


How to keep the spark alive with your partner – even if you have small kids

You got together because you and your partner enjoyed having fun together but after Andrew G Marshallhaving children it’s easy to be overwhelmed with the serious business of bringing them up, running a house and paying the bills. However, you can still be lovers even when you’re parents. So if you want to protect your loving connection or get back the spark, here’s two simple ideas (and five suggestions on how to put them into practice).


Romance helps build sexual energy and the planning involved shows that your partner is on your mind – even when you’re apart. So when one of you decides to initiate lovemaking, romance has already got the engine running rather than trying to start from cold.

Five top tips

  • The power of romance is increased by novelty. So don’t do what you’ve always done but add an element of surprise.
  • Add a new dimension to the ordinary: Take your partner out for breakfast, meet for lunch, leave a chocolate on your partner’s pillow, dress up and look nice even though you’re staying in.
  • Bring back memories: Watch a romantic movie that you both enjoyed when first dating, look at your wedding photos or video together, put on a favourite song and dance in the living room. Go somewhere with special associations.
  • Be sensual: Have a bath together, wash each other’s hair, give each other a massage, build a camp fire and stare into the flames, light a scented candle, read a poem out loud.
  • Give small presents: Buy flowers, novelty gifts (like a cuddly alien toy), a piece of jewellery or music your know your partner will enjoy. Express gratitude for something that could easily be taken for granted.


It gives your partner a bundle of sexual energy and seeing if he or she sends it back – hopefully with interest. It says ‘I’m still attracted to you’, reveals something about your heart, builds romance and boosts your partner’s self-esteem. However, it is important to stress that flirting is playful and fun – rather than a demand for sex.

Five top tips

  • The secret of flirting is to start small. Start at the non-sexual end with a complement hold handsand then move onto something a little more explicit and only later make sexually charged overtures.
  • At a distance: Leave a sweet message somewhere only he or she will find it, send a saucy text, tell your partner what you’re going to do to him or her when he or she gets home
  • Casual touch: Rub your leg against his or leg in a restaurant, gently touch your partner’s face, stroke your partner’s hair.
  • Teasing: Play peek a boo (look from behind the menu in a restaurant and then hide your eyes). Show him that you’re wearing something naughty – like a garter – under your dress. Show her you’ve bought a small present but not let her open it until later. Tickle your partner.
  • Kisses: Give an extra long kiss when your partner comes home, kiss with your eyes open, kiss him or her somewhere unexpected, vary your kisses (try lots of little butterfly kisses on the neck followed by blowing a raspberry on the stomach).


Andrew G Marshall’s new book ‘I love you but you always put me last: How to childproof your marriage’ is published by Macmillan, £12.99. We have five copies to giveaway. To enter simply leave a comment on this blog post and from all comments received by midnight on 31st October we will pick 5 lucky winners. Usual Netmums terms and conditions apply.
Find out more about Andrew G Marshall and his work here


Find out more on how to keep the spark alive over on netmums:

How to keep the spark alive after a new baby

Date night ideas that don’t break the bank

Spice it up with 100 sex positions to try

The Mama Sutra

About The Netmums Blog

The Netmums Blog brings you a behind the scenes look at Netmums, as well as some fabulous guest bloggers and an up to date look at what's new on our Parent Bloggers Network.
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11 Responses to How to keep the spark alive – even if you have small kids

  1. Steph says:

    Some really good ideas here 🙂

  2. Some good ideas, I imagine the book will be even more enlightening. I think that some of these ideas and suggestions could be applied to some of those without children and well, who are bogged down in other stuff whether work or other parts of their life. It can be quite easy to forget about the important person in your life and how special an addition they really are.

  3. Chris says:

    I’m so in need of tips on reigniting the romance and spark, after all my husband & I vowed 11 years ago to be there for each other through good & tough times. Yet, as parents to 4-year old twins, we have both taken each other for granted and allowed our relationship to become one of companionship rather than one of romance and sexual energy – I’m not even sure how we allowed that to happen; I think it’s been tiny steps in the wrong direction, gradually, bit by bit every year. I truly believe he is my soulmate and I could never imagine having anyone else as my husband and partner for life. We both just seriously need to work on prioritising our relationship, as we did in the beginning.

  4. kscott says:

    Oh what utter tosh. I actually thought this article was a joke but no. Wow. Play peekaboo? Blow raspberries on your partners stomach?! What an excellent tip *snort* How about treating your partner as an equal? Be honest, communicate, be kind, be a team, be individuals. That might work. Contrived nonsense won’t. Netmums, you should be ashamed to even allow this as a guests blog!

  5. Kt says:

    Looking forward to reading

  6. Bernadette says:

    Liking these tips so far. I think I’ll buy us a voucher for a champagne breakfast as a surprise. Oh and a chocolate on his pillow – we rarely go to bed at the same time so this is a nice touch. Want to read more – although I’ll make the hubby read it to so I’m not doing all the hard work!!

  7. Kat says:

    Sounds like a good plan. One day the kids will have up and left and I think it’s crucial that you stay connected and nurture your relationship so that you don’t turn into strangers.

  8. Helen Butcher says:

    some really good ideas, as it is really hard to find the time for each other when you have 2 little ones
    . especially if they don’t sleep too well.

  9. Fiona parker says:

    This book seems like a must read, iv got two young ones and they are usually in bed by 7 but its me who is never in the mood, so would love to read this book and get my relationship back on track.

  10. Sue says:

    Got to agree with kscott on this one! If you really tried to do these things it would just feel so contrived, it’s not a natural thing to try & do. Also, trying to go out during the day is only truly possible if both your children are at school & your partner/husband isn’t working!!!!! Weekends are for family time and getting things done. Sorry, but if this book was written by a woman it would be more like… If you want to get laid guys treat your missus with more respect, let her have a lie-in now and again, cook for her & help around the house. For the ‘non-working’ mums (yeah right, like running a house & raising the children isn’t more strenuous than working) when do we get a day off, there are no such things as weekends for us, it is always the same routine day in and day out because that is what life with children, especially young ones, is all about! Either this guy doesn’t have kids or this is his wish list to try and get his partner to have sex with him more often.

  11. Kat says:

    Have any winners been announced for this competition please? Fingers crossed as I need help lol! x

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