I believe there is no conflict of interest between motherhood and loverhood. In fact, the bond that is created by sexual intimacy between you and your husband does far more than enhance your relationship alone—it also enriches the lives of your children. That’s right! The best mothers are not those women who devote every waking moment to their children. The best mothers are, indeed, those women who take the time—make the time—to cultivate, protect, and express the lover within. Here’s why:

A happy love life is one of the best defenses against affairs and possibly even divorce. If you ever fall into the trap of thinking that making time for marital romance might detract in some way from the lives of your children, stop a moment and think about how much more they would be affected if either you or your husband had an affair or filed for divorce. Frequent sex does not, of course, guarantee a happy home. And yet a loving and intimate physical and emotional bond between husband and wife is undeniably a welcome harbor in the frequently turbulent seas of marriage.

A happy love life established harmony in the home. One woman I interviewed explained it like this: “When sex loses priority and falls to the bottom of the list, there’s a brokenness in my relationship with Mike. We’re not connected. We’re each in our own little cubicles, seeing the world through tunnel vision, pursuing our own agendas. When this happens, I see the ramifications throughout the family. Even my kids react. They’re out of sync as well. They’re grumpier, don’t do their chores, and don’t follow through.

“About that time, Mike will start to send little signals to me that seem to say, ‘You don’t have time for me,’ and I know it’s true. I realize I’m acting like I don’t have time for him. I have to rethink my focus: Am I more committed to my schedule than to my husband?”

Darla went on to add: “With two busy schedules, we have to work a bit to keep sex a priority. But once we do, it usually filters down through the ranks. When our relationship is cohesive, when we have communication between us, when the quiet, unspoken stuff between us is in harmony, everything’s better in the household. For everyone.”

A happy love life creates a healthy model for our children to follow as they become adults. Why do we so often assume that our children don’t know what’s going on in our homes? They do, you know. They see and hear far more than we think they do. And even if they don’t fully understand what they are seeing and hearing, the words and images stay with them and help shape their perspectives as adults.

I remember, for example, seeing subtle signs of sexuality between my parents. Sitting at the kitchen table watching my mom fix him a sandwich, my dad would suddenly pull her into his lap for a kiss. At other times, when she thought we kids weren’t looking, my mom would flash my dad a subtle wink. Many were the Sunday afternoons my sisters and I would knock on the locked door of my parent’s bedroom and whine, “You’ve been in there for an hour! We’re bored! When are you coming out? To which my mom always replied languidly, “We’re resting. Go play and we’ll be out soon.”

Now that I’m a wife and mother, it doesn’t take a lot of brainpower to figure out the reasons behind those long Sunday siestas. But at the time, I was clueless. All I knew was that my folks seemed to have some secret between them … a pleasant secret that made them happy. Those images, even without being fully understood at the time develop a positive perspective of sex and sexuality as something wonderful to be cherished and enjoyed by husbands and wives.

Adapted by permission of Fleming H. Revell from Pillow Talk by Karen Scalf Linamen, copyright 2002. All rights to this material are reserved. Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Baker Publishing Group.