Whether you've just had a baby or had your last baby years ago, you probably know about the toll kids can take on a marriage. It's not that couples fall out of love, but that they never get the chance to love each other because they're so busy with work and home life that the "each otherness" gets left behind somewhere. Both spouses end up feeling alone, despite so often working together.

Staying connected, then, is the most important thing you can do for your marriage after you have kids. If you're not sure how to achieve that, here are 10 ideas:

1. Make time together regularly.

Everyone says this, and they say it because it's true. Even if you can't find a babysitter, are both exhausted, or don't have the money to go out, spend some time together after the kids are in bed. Order takeout (you can just get dessert if it's too late for dinner) and watch a movie together, or watch the stars from your backyard.

2. Get in touch daily.

Some couples find themselves drifting apart because they just don't know what's going on with each other on a daily basis. Call him at work during the day, or spend your morning commute on the phone with her. While face time is important, these short calls can be a good chance to say, "How is your day?" and share a little about yours, too.

3. Do the things you both love.

Most likely, you got together because there are at least a couple of things that you both enjoy. Whether you like to read the same books, watch the same movies, debate the same sorts of issues, play the same sports, or do something else together, make sure that having kids doesn't derail these activities. You can even take the kids along — there's nothing more bonding than teaching your kids, together, something that you both love.

4. Take a long weekend.

Once or twice a year, take a long weekend away together to talk, connect, and remember why you love each other. Your kids need you, but they also need your relationship with your spouse to be strong. Besides, the grandparents (or honorary grandparents, or aunts, uncles, and friends) will love to get some time with the kiddos. If you have trouble finding someone, offer to do a swap with another family. You get one weekend, they get the next.

5. Give your relationship a "check-up" a couple times a year.

Set aside an hour or so every several months to see where you're at. Talk about all things financial, emotional, spiritual, psychological, etc. This gives you the chance to make sure you're both on the same page and to catch any potential disagreements before they get ugly.

6. Connect daily on problem issues.

If there's an issue that you disagree on or that routinely comes up, take some time each day to check in with each other specifically on that issue. It can be as easy as asking, "Are you okay doing the dishes tonight?" or "How are we for money today?" This helps you stay united instead of working against each other.

7. See a counselor if you need to.

It can be hard to admit that you need some outside input in your marriage relationship. Sometimes, going to counseling feels like you've already been defeated. But it doesn't have to be that way. Counseling isn't just for couples with serious problems, but also for those who want to avoid them. If there are issues you and your spouse can't resolve, don't hesitate to get some help from a professional in the field. It may prevent a divorce.

8. Give each other some free time.

Ironically, taking the kids so your spouse can have space frees him or her up to connect better with you. When both parents are so focused on working and taking care of children, it can be hard for them to string two thoughts together coherently, which makes it difficult to communicate. If you both get a little down time, though, you'll have more to bring to the table when you do finally connect.

9. Do something spontaneous.

If you want to do something out of the ordinary, be sure to tell your spouse. While you won't be able to take all of these opportunities, you'll do enough that you'll build memories for your family and foster a sense of connectedness. When you do exciting things together, you build the sense of "we" in your family. That not only helps kids feel loved, but helps the adults feel closer, too.

10. Remember the little things.

When you have kids, it can be hard to carve out even 15 minutes a day to nurture and build your marriage, but you can still do the little things. Pick up a pack of her favorite gum when you're at the grocery store, or buy his favorite (and more expensive) kind of coffee when you run out. These little things remind both you and your spouse that you're in love, that you're important to one another, and that you're caring for one another, even when you don't have the chance to say all of those things. An "I love you," every day never hurt anyone, either.

There are a million ways to stay connected as a couple, even when it feels like your kids have taken over your world. Each couple will find the ways that work for them, and will find that other things just don't have the same effect. I'd love to know what works for you (and what doesn't) in the comments.

This post was included in the All Things Family blog carnival.