Having a baby sets off seismic changes in a marriage. Like the many couples who find themselves engrossed in the full time job of raising children, my wife, and I also felt a big shift after having our two amazing children. With the need to feed, bathe, and play with these demanding creatures, we had to be intentional about hanging out as a couple, in order to inoculate ourselves against marital demise. A happy marriage is the greatest gift you can ever give to your children and raising kids should never be at the expense of nurturing your relationship. If you’re not sure how to nurture your marriage while raising kids, here are my top 5 ideas:

1. Make regular together time.

Though time becomes a scarcity when you are raising kids, making time to reconnect on a daily basis can improve the quality of your marriage. You don’t need an entire weekend to pull this off. Get the kids to bed early and take some time to watch the stars, play a game or watch a movie. Even if you don’t have 2 hours to watch a movie, spending 15 to 20 minutes talking each day, will create emotional connection and can make a big difference in your marital satisfaction.

2. Share the load.

Team work makes the team work. This means dividing up the chores. Deciding for example, who gets up on particular nights and attend to the crying, hungry child. Even folding clothes together after doing laundry can lighten the load as well as providing you with time to connect.

3. Give each other a break.

Have you ever noticed that children can never have enough time? They will consume all the time you give them and still ask for more. It is your job therefore to discern how much is enough so you can have some for yourself. With that said, taking the kids so your spouse can have some “me” time to hit the reset button is a prudent thing to do. Your spouse will have more to offer you, the relationship and the children, having taken the space and time to recharge.

4. Schedule Sex.

“That’s not spontaneous,”I hear you say. Correct! Who says Sex must always be spontaneous. When you went on your honeymoon it wasn’t! You planned for it. Didn’t you? Put fun and joke aside, some times it’s just the practical thing to do. Chances are, if it’s not on the to-do list it may never happen. Furthermore, looking forward to a night in the “sack” builds anticipation and takes sexual intimacy to a whole new level.

5. Give your relationship regular “check-up’s.”

Just like investing in your car’s upkeep, your relationship also requires attention and maintenance for optimum marital performance. This means setting an hour aside a few months each year to assess your relationship, to see if it’s where you want it to be. This is an inventory of your marriage, with you and your spouse discussing desires, dreams, aspirations and goals for your relationship. In addition, it can be an asset just to check-in with a couple’s therapist to get some new perspective and insight, a couple times per year. The results may be astounding.

While children change the dynamic of a relationship, it doesn’t have to signal the demise of your marriage. You can still have fun with the kids and at the same time have a fulfilling marriage.