By Amy Reast via SWNS
A Colorado woman says she "keeps the romance alive" in her marriage by being intimate with her husband every day, so they don't feel like "roommates."
AnnaLee Ford, 31 and her husband, Ethan, 40, are parents to two young children - and noticed their lives "completely change" after having their first child.
The couple had much less free time to spend together and found that tiredness, business and stress meant they began being less and less romantic.
They made a list of ways to keep the intimacy in their relationship, which includes kissing for 10 seconds whenever they say hello or goodbye and no electronics after their kids go to bed, and AnnaLee says it's worked a treat.
The couple says not only has their relationship improved in the bedroom, but every aspect has got better and they are happier, argue less, are kinder and "more in tune" with one another.
AnnaLee, a water engineer, from Denver, Colorado, said: "It's crazy how much things change after you have kids, it hit us harder than we expected.
"Nobody really wants to think about sex when you haven't showered in three days and your boobs are leaking and the size of Jupiter. Being intimate is hard.
"So my husband and I decided to make our relationship a priority because, without that, everything else will fall apart."
They make a point of being intimate every single day.
She explained: "This doesn't necessarily mean sex, but whenever we have alone time, we agree to do the 'one-minute rule.'
"Whenever we have alone time, we have to be close for one minute, and give it a chance, no matter how tired we are.
"Nine out of 10 times it does lead to sex after.... and it does ensure we don't immediately say no without giving it a chance just because of tiredness or stress."
She added that if sex isn't your jam, another way of being intimate is sharing a shower, and washing each other's hair.
And no electronics after their three kids go to bed.
AnnaLee said: "It can be a hard rule, and some days we do just want to lie in front of the TV, but if either of us wants to go without electronics the other has to do it too.
"We sit together, read a book, talk and be near each other. And it's nice not to be glued to your phone."
They also say they have to kiss each other hello or goodbye and it has to be for at least 10 seconds each time.
This is because life can be busy and stressful, but this tiny thing allows them a moment to be close and still.
AnnaLee said: "Especially if one person is holding the baby, we're so rushed to say hello or goodbye - in and out of meetings, making dinner, getting the kids to school.
"We force ourselves to take 10 seconds to be slow. It's a long time - but after the five-second mark, you start to notice yourself relax and get closer.
"Then you can go back to your crazy days."
While their list of rules might sound excessive or difficult to implement, AnnaLee said the more you do it, the more natural it feels.
Their followers on social media were shocked that parents of young kids could get physical so often.
But AnnaLee said: "We don't have sex every time, but we try to give it a chance.
"Sex is like, sometimes at first you don't want to go to the gym, but you go and do a workout, and then you feel great after."
She added: "I do feel lucky that I have had two kids with my husband and I am still madly in love and so attracted to him.
"But when you have kids and life is crazy busy, being connected is the only thing you can control."
AnnaLee's husband Ethan said: "Life can be very hectic, not only with two little ones, but three dogs, buying and selling homes, moving, and then you throw your career on top of all that!
"With life, and of course all the really fun and happy times, it has been really important for Annalee and me to take a step back and really focus on 'us' and our relationship and mutual respect and love.
"A big part of our success is the everyday intimacy like the early morning snuggles in bed, the hugs, the little touches and kisses throughout the day, and of course sex, I mean who doesn’t love sex?"
"But success is also finding or making time to spend quality time together such as turning the TV off and just listening to music together on the back patio in the evenings.
"Before kids, relationships felt more about the big, romantic gestures. Now that our life is full of babies and chaos, we have switched to also finding love and happiness in the little moments.
"It’s all about the little wins after you have kids. This mindset has made such a huge difference in our happiness and the quality of our relationship.
"We focus and prioritize connecting with each other daily, which not only reminds us how in love we still are with each other but also has a positive impact on our parenting, our relationship with our kiddos, our career, and all other aspects of life."
AnnaLee and Ethan's top tips for keeping intimacy alive:
- Prioritize intimacy every day -sex, cuddling, sexting and long hugs
- 10-second kiss hello and goodbye
- No electronics after bed – this is a great time to talk about your day or just listen to music and read your favorite books.
- Write letters to each other, whether it's an email once or twice a week or in a special journal you buy that you pass back and forth.
- Talk frequently about your future dreams and goals as a team – whether it’s your forever home, a dream vacation, etc. This seems really simple but helps refocus on what you have been working together to build.
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