Can I just be honest for a second? The hardest part about having a new child is not the exhaustion or lack of personal space. For me It’s the toll it takes on the relationship I have with my spouse, temporarily of course- Anyone else out there feel this way? My husband and I are both stubborn, so that doesn’t help. You may have a different dynamic within your marriage, but my husband and I bicker more when there’s a newborn in the home. Can you blame us though? Patchy sleeping patterns, trying to manage our time correctly and wondering which person should be doing what. I often will expect too much of my husband and It will make me upset. He doesn’t always know why I’m angry so he gets frustrated, and then the mood spirals downward in our home. Not to mention no you-know-what for the first 6 weeks after birth(Not that I would have the energy to get frisky during that time anyways). There are many factors that affect our emotions during the newborn faze and as parents of a whiny two-year-old and a fussy 3-week-old, we are doing the absolute best we can.
So how can a person keep the love alive and their relationship strong when there’s a newborn in the picture? Here are a few tips that I try to live by postpartum and always:
Turn off the tv, put down your phone. Time is even more limited now that most of it is consumed by a child. Your spouse should be priority. It’s baffling how much time you’ll find you actually do have when you make time for the people you love instead of meaningless distractions. The older I get, the more I realize that my phone is a huge waste of time and being with my husband is a lot more emotionally rewarding.
Have Realistic Expectations
This is a difficult one for me. I have scenarios in my head of how things should be and anyone who has any experience in life knows that expecting things to go a certain way is setting yourself up for disappointment. Be grateful when your spouse is helpful and don’t nag if you feel like he’s not doing enough.
Take a shower together! While your newborn sleeps, Turn on the tv to keep your littles busy while you hop in the shower together. It’s a great way to stay sneak in some alone time during the day. I mean, I’m sure your kids will come check on you every couple of minutes but we have got to take what we can get.
Kiss Every Day
Kiss for 12 seconds every day. I got this from another article I read about a year ago. It was marriage advice given to a man who had been happily married for his whole adult life. Since then on really busy days, I’ve literally found myself counting to 12 in my head while kissing my husband and making sure I don’t rush. It’s totally random, but really great advice. I believe it has helped my own relationship because it reminds me to slow down and be in the moment.
A quick date is still a date. A casual trip to the grocery store or a super quick dinner isn’t anyone’s first choice for a date, but it’s still a chance to be together without the kids. Just get a dang sitter, call a friend or whatever it takes… for even just 30 minutes.
Don’t Forget to Communicate
I feel a lot of depression as a mother of a new baby. I will feel so many emotions and bottle them up inside until I don’t even know how to feel anymore. It’s easy for that to happen as a mother. You’ve most likely felt those feelings, too. Luckily, my husband always knows how to get me to share my feelings with him. Then, after a day or two, I feel somewhat like myself again. Communication is obviously a massively important part of marriage in general, so don’t forget to express your emotions.
In my very short 3 years of marriage, the times when my husband and I were consistent in praying together each night were the times our relationship was the strongest. We pray each night as a family and because of that I’ve felt more patient and loving towards my spouse. With a new baby in the home, routines get thrown around and It’s easy to forget to do simple marriage-strengthening things like this. I have a tendency to have a short temper, especially with a newborn in the home, so praying together is especially crucial for me.