I think every parent out there can agree that the six weeks following the birth of your child are some of the most chaotic, exhausting and rewarding weeks of your life. They are also the weeks when it is easy to let your marriage take the backseat because there is so much going on and your priorities are elsewhere. If you don't make effort to keep your relationship going, before you know it, your kids will be grown and gone and you won't know the person that you are married to as anything more than your partner in parenting. For this reason, I believe that those weeks after you add a new little one to your family are some of the most crucial for your marriage.
It will be hard to do but if you can find ways to make time for your marriage now, during one of the most busy changes off your life, you will be creating habits that will last for a long time. And when those actions become habits, you will find it easier to make your marriage a priority throughout your life. Those times when it is the hardest to make time for your marriage are the times when it's the most important to. Whether you're new parents or have something else consuming your time, doing these six things will
Have a date night
Date night has become really important in our marriage over the last year. I get excited to plan our date night activities and look forward to date night each week. While we were balancing our time between both kids while Emmy was in the hospital, date night was one of the only times that we got to spend alone together each week. Since we've brought Emmy home, date night is harder because we're busy feeding both kids, putting Bensen to bed and it's our bedtime before we know it.
Your date nights might look a lot different now that you have a little one in the house, but it's still important to make date night happen. If you have family around who can come and watch your kid(s) while you go out or even while you spend some uninterrupted time together at home. When we had Bensen, we'd take him with us and plan our outings for a time when we knew that he would be sleeping. Of course, that only lasted until he stopped sleeping as much. If a longer date isn't possible, you can get creative with your at home dates. I love these date night boxes and have five at home to enjoy with Joe over the next five months because we're more confined to our house with a preemie during cold and flu season. You could also grab takeout or dessert to enjoy while your baby is sleeping, make something together, play games, etc.
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Cuddle, hold hands and kiss
In the six weeks following the birth of your child, there are certain activities that are off limits. For some people, finding the time and energy to be intimate with their spouse takes a lot longer than that. Those limitations don't mean that you can't increase the intimacy in your marriage during those weeks. Intimacy is so much more than what people often make it out to be. Just from the physical aspect of things, taking the time to hold hands, cuddle and kiss each other daily will help keep the spark alive and help you connect.
Take a bath together
At one of my baby showers, I was given a bag of this epsom salt to use during postpartum recovery. Warm baths with epsom salt was something that was suggested to me by my doctor when I left the hospital after delivery as well. Take advantage of this time while your baby is sleeping, bring the monitor with you, and relax together.
Eat meals together
This was a big thing for us while we were in the hospital because dinner was the only chance that we got to spend quality time alone together each day. Now that we're home, our meals are a little more chaotic because they involve Bensen as well, but we still make that time together a priority.
Some nights we'll wait to eat our dinner until after Bensen is in bed so that we can have more one on one time. Some days Joe will come home for lunch because his break falls right during Bensen's nap and right after I've fed Emmy. It's nice to sit down at the table together and talk. Everyone has to eat, so meals provide a great opportunity to make that time for each other.
Talk every day
It's important to be communicating with your spouse on a regular basis, and not just relaying a run down of your day or discussing the itinerary for the next day. Really take the time to talk and listen to what each other has to say. Talk about the type of parent you want to be and the things that you want to teach your child. Share with your spouse the ways that watching them with your child is making you love them more. This book is one of my favorites for conversation starters that will help you continue to get to know each other and create the kind of connection that you did when you were first dating.
If you will take 15 minutes each day to focus on your spouse and your marriage, you will keep the romance alive and continue to build your relationship, no matter what stage you are currently in. Adjusting to the schedule of your new baby, late night feedings and the exhaustion that comes with being a new parent can bring stress to your relationship. If you really make the effort, the stress and struggles of your situation will make your marriage stronger rather than tearing you apart.
What have you done following the birth of your child to make your marriage stronger?