That little baby in the baby carriage has made their debut and – admit it – the love and the marriage that came beforehand may be taking a backseat. Sleep deprivation, hormones going crazy for the ladies, sleep deprivation, baby things EVERYWHERE, sleep deprivation, no sex for six weeks (minimum)…and did I mention sleep deprivation? All of these factors have a significant impact on how you communicate and interact to be sure that you both feel loved, supported, and valued in your relationship.
Whenever a significant change occurs in your marriage, you will find yourself calling on old tools in new ways. In this post, I’m going to highlight different ways to invest in your marriage after your new baby. I’m sure many of these will all sound quite familiar to you – the trick will be implementing them in new ways to benefit your relationship and allow you to enjoy this exciting new chapter together.
- Take the 5 Love Languages assessment together. This is a great at-home date night idea! Baby can even be in the room with you, but set the scene: make a living room picnic for the family with your favorite takeout or an easy meal you throw together, have your favorite music playing – whatever it takes to make it fun for the two of you. Already taken the 5 Love Language assessment? Awesome, take it again! Why? Well – when you’re 21 with limited commitments, gifts may be high on your Love Languages. Fast-forward to 31 and all you want is help with the dishes – your Love Languages may shift to Acts of Service. You won’t know until you take an updated assessment together. After you have taken the assessment – USE IT! Husbands: if she needs Words of Affirmation, tell her how beautiful she is, even when she’s in pajamas at 3:00pm and covered in fresh spit-up (trust me, she needs to hear it!) Wives: if his Love Language is Physical Touch, hug him – even when you’re exhausted, he needs to feel you close. The better you honor how your spouse needs to be loved, the better able you are to navigate through these new, unchartered, and sometimes rough waters.
- Talk to one another – about more than the baby. Sounds easy right? Man, when they start smiling for the first time or have a huge blow out while you’re out in public it is SO easy to let all of your conversations circle around this new, tiny, beautiful human you’ve created together. It is 100% fine to talk about your new little love – but check in with each other. How were your days? How are YOU feeling? What are YOU needing? Ladies, if you’re staying home with your little one and need 20 minutes to just lay in your bed alone with no interruptions after your spouse is home from work – ASK for that support! The more communicative you are, the less likely you are to find yourselves in an argument because your spouse isn’t living up to expectations. Parenthood unfortunately does not make you a mind reader, so both of you will need to set, relay, and support each other in expectations of one another.
- Take a deep breath. Whether it is your first baby or your third, you will be doing it all for the first time with that particular tiny human, so your experience will be different. Give yourself and each other some grace. If your family or friends reach out about how they can help – let them! Mom volunteers to watch the kids? Great! Go grab a date night together however best suits you (it could be longer like dinner and a movie, or shorter like just going to the carwash – YOU determine what you are comfortable with). Friend wants to come help with chores around the house? Let them! They wouldn’t offer to help vacuum if they truly didn’t want to – and now you have one less to-do and more time to spend connecting as a family (which is a basic human need!).
Finally, be real and be okay with where you are. Cluster feeding doesn’t last forever. Sleepless nights don’t last forever. Teething doesn’t go on for eternity. It will feel that way, but it is a season – kind of like hurricane season. The best thing you can do is prepare as much as possible and share the impact and what you need with each other with love and grace. Focus on the smiles, the firsts, and make time to celebrate that all of those wonderful things would not have been possible without the two of you. Remember who you fell in love with in the first place, celebrate seeing them step into a new role as a parent, and love them how they need to be loved now.
What other tips (calling on all experienced parents!) do you have to share with new parents who want to make sure they don't lose sight of the relationship that brought them this new ball of joy in the first place? Share them in the comments!
Photo by Brittany Simuangco on Unsplash
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