I always dreamed of having a family. It was one of my hopes for the future when Dennis and I were engaged and newly married. And of course, my dreams were only about good, peaceful, happy times with children who loved and obeyed their parents. I was unprepared for the perpetual demands parenting would require of me. From 2 a.m. feedings, potty training, ear infections, nightmares, and coloring on the walls to braces, birthday parties, and driving lessons for teens, mothering is a full-time, 24/7 job with few vacations and a delayed payment plan.

The problem mothers face is that, after a long day at this 24/7 job, we often feel stressed, exhausted, and simply not in the mood for romance. With so many modern conveniences that are supposed to save us time and make life more comfortable, how can we be so busy, so stressed, so fractured?

“I am so tired”
For most women, the pace of life presents the biggest deterrent to marital romance. Couples simply don’t have energy for intimacy. Sandra, a listener to FamilyLife Today programme, understands that a hurried life has drained the romance from her marriage.

She writes: My husband and I continue to have problems in one main area of our marriage. You guessed it: sex. We have three preschoolers, and I am mentally and physically exhausted at bedtime. My husband thinks we are having problems in our marriage because we only have intercourse once a week or so. I try to explain about stress, exhaustion, etc., but all he sees is that I don’t desire him.

Fatigue and stress are natural results of parenting children. Moms experience normal everyday fatigue from just executing the duties of the household. Kids naturally fight and compete, complain and whine, spill milk and “forget” to do chores. They present challenges day after day for years and years. It’s a draining job. Exhausted mothers don’t make great lovers. Felicia, who took a FamilyLife online survey, confessed, “Getting sleep is almost always more important than sex to me.”

Dennis often said he’d be a wealthy man if he had a dollar for every time he heard me say, “I am so tired.” And he’s right. I said it a lot because I felt depleted and bone weary during most of our parenting years.

At the end of the day, all I wanted to do was fall into bed. Being intimate with my husband was not my greatest “felt” need. Frankly I craved sleep, not robust romance. The temptation was to believe that my needs were more important than Dennis’s — that my husband’s needs and the needs of our marriage could wait.

I also wanted to believe that tomorrow would be different or somehow better. I remember thinking, I won’t be this tired tomorrow night. It’s just because of all that happened today. I’m so tired that I’ll sleep great tonight and will feel refreshed tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll feel more like focusing on Dennis and our marriage. I didn’t want to neglect our romance. But my feelings overwhelmed me and threatened to rule my choices.

Choosing priorities
Because I had already decided in the early years of our marriage to keep Dennis as top priority (after God), I refused to let the tenacious thief of fatigue win in our relationship. Many nights, Dennis graciously gave me a kiss and a hug, prayed with me, and said good night.

On other nights, recognizing that my husband was carrying a lot of stress from work, or just knowing that we needed to reconnect in our marriage, I chose to deny the fatigue, set aside the stress, and give myself to him so that we might enjoy each other.

Charles E. Hummel wrote a wonderful little booklet called Tyranny of the Urgent. His simple message was this: Don’t let the tyranny of the urgent tasks of life rob you of what is really important. The most important relationship in a family, the marriage relationship, is the easiest to ignore in the urgent demands of sick kids, diapers, ballgames, job deadlines, and a host of other daily life demands.

The tyranny of the urgent occurs when you plan a date with your husband, but your boss informs you there’s a project that must be done that evening, so you cancel your date. It occurs when a friend, a neighbor, or your sister calls at the last minute needing you to drop everything to watch a sick child so she can attend an important event because the sitter fell through. In turn, you give up the important time you were going to spend studying your Bible.

The reasons for the urgent winning over the important always sounds pressing. And on some occasions you have no choice. But there are just as many times when you could have said, “No, I’m sorry, but I can’t,” to rescuing your friend or to letting your boss control your life.

Tips to rein in busyness
Here are some practical tips for reining in a busy lifestyle:

First, “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Start by stopping. Begin by listening. Take time to stop and pray and listen to God. And then spend time thinking and evaluating. Plan a date or two with your husband just to reevaluate your schedules, your romance, and your marriage.

Second, decide what you value. God has made it abundantly clear in His Word what He values. Make a priority list by yourself and with your husband. What will you fight for, and what will both of you fight for? My friend Linda Dillow developed a list of “resolves” and reads them at least once a year.

These would be good for every wife to adopt as her own:

* I resolve to keep my husband my second priority after God.

* I resolve to not settle for mediocrity in my marriage.

* I resolve to look at life through [my husband’s] eyes.

* I resolve to grow as a sensuous lover.
* I resolve to give rather than receive.
* I resolve to be faithful to my marriage vows, not only in word, but also in intent.

Third, set important guidelines for yourselves and your family. One of the hard choices Dennis and I made was to limit our children’s involvement in sports to one per child. Not one sport each season, but one all year. That sounds terribly confining and restrictive by today’s standards of eclectic choices and the accompanying pressure to achieve scholarship-level ability. But with six children we chose to value family time, family dinners, and evenings at home over a life of fast food on the run and evenings spent in the car. As poet Dorothy Parker said, “The best way to keep children home is to make the home a pleasant atmosphere — and let the air out of the tires.”

I must add that we relaxed these standards when our kids reached sixteen and could drive themselves to some practices and games. But before they were in high school, we made sure we were the primary influencers in their lives. It was a value-driven decision.

Fourth, honestly evaluate your “need” for all the extra things in life. I know from my experience and my love for beautiful things how easy it is to be busy with fixing my house, getting things for my kids, finding the best bargain. It’s not wrong unless it leaves me stressed, exhausted, and unable to engage with my husband. It’s a question of the important versus the urgent.

Stress and exhaustion in parenting are normal. While you can’t eliminate them, they can be managed by evaluating your level of busyness and your lifestyle choices.

Simplifying life is the best way to reduce these robbers of romance.


39 Responses to "ROMANCE In A Busy MARRIAGE"

  1. Genuine   January 25, 2012 at 8:18 am

    ok this sounds good for my wife who is always in the spare bedroom with her pregnant young sister after her working hours with a storry that she gives thorough care to the pregnant sister as if i impregnanted her.why do women pretend other people’s problems are best handled by them and complain of pressure lateron?

  2. kalala   January 25, 2012 at 8:23 am


  3. Munalian   January 25, 2012 at 8:28 am

    While the content of this (long) article is relevant to many people,are Western “self-help” books and “studies” the only sources for Tumfweko editor??

    Why not quote/enquire from Zambian couples about their experiences since they share similar socio-economic conditions as most (if not all) bloggers here on Tumfweko???

  4. Uncle Shibukombe   January 25, 2012 at 8:38 am

    To whoever thot of bringing this story en lesson to the public thumbs up,our women are too busy to priotise wat is most important,especially to married women even wen u suggest to them to say lets send the kids to their grandmothers they cant see it to say u re trying to create some room for quality time to yourselves,hence the continous cheating in marriages coz yo woman is ever busy for u when u re fully functioning,u end up gettin relief from other women who will embrace u like u re their second God.Once more with this modernisation,its just “lets go to Levy juction ,aint we going for that movie?,I need to go for a kitchen party,or baby ive forgoten its My Friend’s baby shower this afternoon,I need to go back to the office I finish my Project” thats all they know,Be that crazy wife to your husband or dude en he might just be all yours.

  5. Pierre   January 25, 2012 at 8:39 am

    God’s initial desire is a strong bondage between man and wife. Be reminded that God comes first in everything. Man is second in God’s set up, church is third and fourth or lastly are all other things. Children, being a gift from God, should not be an excuse for not fulfilling one’s marital objectives.

  6. Chewe C   January 25, 2012 at 9:07 am

    This is a very important article. I may add that when we let schedules, programs, appointments, tasks etc get in the way of people that are most important to us such as family then we get into lose lose highway.
    A working man/woman going early for work and staying late at work with a view to earn more money and promotion for the benefit of their family may feel justified in not be there for their family but this may have its consequences. The unspoken message is that ‘your work is more important than us’. I guess that no honest family man or woman wants to send such a message. Spouses who feel deprived when it comes to intimacy are vulnerable to fall to ‘heart snatchers’ elsewhere.
    I agree with the article that even within the family one may set priorities. Time for each other as a couple comes only second to time with God. Not even time with children should take precedence unless when a genuine need like sickness comes up. After all both parents can together still have great time with their children in a great family time together.
    However, deep intimacy and romance is only possible as a couple ‘steals’ time alone together without children pressing and running all over around. That sends one back to work as a happier man or woman. It is win win!

  7. CQ   January 25, 2012 at 9:28 am


  8. believe7   January 25, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Great article really,this is great!

  9. sulo   January 25, 2012 at 9:54 am

    This is really great ba Tumfweko i must confess, its like directed to me, wow thanx i love it.

  10. wachabe   January 25, 2012 at 9:54 am

    It would be good to do research on the zambian scene, to give us insight on what other unique problems zambian couples face

  11. sadi   January 25, 2012 at 10:02 am

    this is somewhat rather

  12. Shameless   January 25, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Most women and men today also seem to have more time for face book, reading tunfweko articles at the expenss of their spouses. Shame

  13. SEGULA GIGO!!!!   January 25, 2012 at 10:06 am

    awe mwe long ass article!!

  14. Bakapepa   January 25, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Great article indeed!!!!

  15. Chic   January 25, 2012 at 10:49 am

    This article is really awesome, i wish hubby wud read this and understand me, he always says, i dnt think this is how all married couples behave, but glad to know that its not just me with the problem

  16. Ndate   January 25, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Timely and great article,most of us decent bloggers need this.Whatever marriage you are in,i can assure you that to some extent somehow we have westernised our marriages and from this article you can pick some bits and pieces that relate to your marriage.It’s quite helpfull if you are honest with yourself

  17. beautiful woman   January 25, 2012 at 11:25 am

    am very greatful for this artical thats wat really happens to me i feel this is directed to me and i used to think am the only one with this problem thanx ba tumfweko continue issuing such articles for married couples cause we really face a lot of challanges in homes were by u feel shy to share with a friend thinking dat friend will make a story out of it so instead u decide to keep that problem to yourself and end up feeling like u are not a gudwife pliz kip it up

  18. Ine   January 25, 2012 at 11:36 am

    I thot it was only me. So a lot of marriages are going thru this same problem? Tulibengi!

  19. Mr wise   January 25, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Some of our women come back from work tired for sure and when they mitigate towards a service u can even understand, but careful, some are serviced at work …like my pal who justified that me i cheat me hushand coz i can’t stick to one man for life!

  20. MUNYELO PWETE!   January 25, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    @ GENUINE!


  21. Kajinks   January 25, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    This is very Educative.

  22. conman   January 25, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    this woman is a bad loser. she always finds time for gossip and writing long articles but cant spare five minutes for bonking with hubby. awe mwe. thats why for me i hammer just after knocking off from work before these rottweilers (school kids) knock on my bedroom door. so madam please find time for hubby. make a decision to be taking those warm baths together and bonk each other even in water. goodday

  23. KATUNWENFWA   January 25, 2012 at 1:47 pm


  24. KATUNWENFWA   January 25, 2012 at 1:47 pm


  25. Michael   January 25, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    This very good, am sure most of our Zambia woman can learn one or two things from this.

  26. beautiful at heart   January 25, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    i always find time to give my husband time to pamper him,treat him good,amidst my parenting,but guys the guy is never there he is busy chasing the recognicion syndrome.dancing all night long with college chicks whilst i sleep alone ,with all my dreams of having my hubby in bed,brothers some guys just get it all wrong,kids only see u on weekends and you say what,am only human and you make it a point to let me know tht u r having it is what connects a marriage,u neglect it temptation sets in.guys cut us some slack,i neeed some time to go to the salon and look a bit clean coz u r moved by europe men take paid paternity leave,to relieve stress from there partrners nine months ,labour and colic guys leaves us drained and u want ur time in bed oh oh oh please be involved and i l have energy to be wow in need for that extra cost of a mistress you see simple.can i hear an amem sisters.

  27. pritti   January 25, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    the solution here is for men to pick up chores otherwise a lot of marriages a headed for extinction

  28. Zebige   January 25, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Good stuff.Food for thought for me and my kana makwenkwe.

  29. leah   January 25, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    its really a chanllenge girl, only someone who has been that in state can know how its, av been they…

  30. fenardo   January 25, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    This is very educative::::Great

  31. Williams   January 25, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    wow,thanks for the first time tumfweko.

  32. emma   January 25, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    exhaustion is no excuse of cutting off the husbands desires. when they go get quenched somewhere else you start crying. drink those energy drinks and prepare for your man and give him the best. thast why i love traditional house wives who are taught whether they have quarrelled or are tired to still give it to him. sex has not quarrelled with anyone and so must be enjoyed anyhow.

  33. Bana maggie   January 25, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Whats ths nonsense men ths men tht are the deputy gods. Let thm also take care of the children & see if the can evn manage. Whos going to pliz me as a woman wen my occupation is to pleaz a man. Who wil pliz me. Let him go to hs girlfrend & wat makes hm think i cnt get a boy frend. Men are not gods lets not worshp thm ati if u dnt do ths & tht he’l run away wat nonsense evn justifying thr stupidity.

  34. janet c   January 25, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Great article. I think women in zambia have no excuse for neglecting their husbands. Zambian women (the middle class ones who blog on this site) have maids, cooks, gardeners to do all their house chores. Zambian women have maids to look after their babies. So there is no excuse for neglecting hubby!!!!!!

  35. Shud get bitch?   January 25, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Thts a great aticle big up tumfweko. i wsh my hny cud read ths coz shz full of excuses, there ar tmes wen am seduced cz of seein pants of ladies in town, all i do is 2 rush hme, suprisng my hny will start gvng stupd excuse lke “no am nt ok cnt u wait 4 2mrw bla bla”.Morover i only go i round, en 2mrw i wont hv da sme prssure, damn all dat effort wat cud u do? obviously u start bonkng elsewhere.

  36. virgin   January 26, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Too long article yaba! *sigh*,jst browsd through,and only thing that caught my attention was…Enjoy eachother.

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  38. Angered   July 11, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    beautiful at heart, you have said the truth. women r not too tired to have sex with their husbands. its their husbands who r busy chasing school kids all over town without making an effort to disguise their cheating ways. and when u make the mistake of putting yo husband as number one in everything he will abuse and destroy yo love. u end up as a doormat who gets crap day in and day out. women r not tired, if anything they are starved of sex by useless men who drink too much and fuck around.

  39. MOJO   September 5, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    nga taule mutombeshatombesha bakakwafwa or balakwafwa period!