7 Ways to Help Your Marriage Thrive After Baby
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage. But what about after baby? What then? Marriage in itself already has it highs and lows – I mean, it wouldn’t be called marriage if it didn’t. And in some of those highs and lows enters one of life’s most profound gifts. And suddenly, there’s nothing more you could ever want, or need.
Wrong. If anyone has ever said their life hasn’t changed in the slightest since a baby came into their world – they’re lying. Lives do change, and drastically. You go from just you, to you and your spouse, to you, your spouse and now a baby. Your world is about to be rocked, for the good and bad. But somewhere along the way, there starts this tiny crack in the foundation that couples tend to ignore. Over time it grows bigger and deeper when left untreated.
Just slap it over with spackle and it’ll be fine.
Wrong. There’s this common misconception about childbearing: that everything from before goes right out the window, as if it was never there, because life is now forever changed – baby proofed, as you say – and our entire existence and sole focus is this little human being.
In moderation. As with everything in life, am I right? But that’s difficult to say that when you’re in the midst of clinging onto your little one and picking up the mess of the other, all the while tidying up the house for company later. And all of the help and prepared meals in the world still can’t fix the lack of time, sleep and drastic hormonal changes. I get it, 100%.
Still, it truly amazes me how much effort is put into bringing a baby into the world, but often ignored are the changes a marriage will endure. Marriage after babies is forever changing. And there’s one crucial aspect that tends to be neglected and forgotten.
Marriage After Babies And The Crucial Aspect We Tend To Neglect
Our spouse. They still exist, right? Of course they do. They’re either helping to keep the lights on in the house during the day, remembering to take the overflowing trash out every Tuesday and Friday, attempting to change that dirty diaper in order to let you catnap, or simply entertaining the little one so that you can whip up a real meal uninterrupted.
Whatever it is they’re doing – they’re there. But that’s not all why – it’s important to remember they’re not just a father now. This also applies to moms, too. You’re not just a mommy now – you’re still a wife, lover, soulmate, friend and companion.
Two people didn’t bring a baby into the world without Love and stability between one another (hopefully), so everything in your marriage pre-baby doesn’t just disappear into thin air. Maybe placed on the back-burner for a while? Sure, just don’t forget that its there and leave it stewing too long. Remember, a healthy, happy baby also requires two happy, healthy parents – in all aspects of life and Love. And it’s important to make the extra effort for our spouse.
There are very simple and effortless ways to spoil your spouse as much as you spoil your babies.
1 | Small romantic gestures
I know, I know – there’s nothing romantic about 3 day old smelling hair and spit up on your shirt. But you mustn’t let that discourage you. Leave little love notes for one another to find or grab your spouse whenever the chance arises for a long embrace. Simply saying ‘Thank you’ with a kiss out of appreciation, or a sweet text during the day are small simple gestures that go a very, very long way. And these don’t take any overly exerted effort in your busy, baby filled routine.
2 | Support and compliments all around
Because we all want to know we’re doing above and beyond in this case – even if we feel we’re failing at times, and look like we rolled out of a dumpster doing it. We crave it, nonetheless, whether we believe it or not every time. It’s important to show support in one another, and have each other’s back even when things go wrong or aren’t done right. Nobody’s perfect at parenting the first time around, nor the second or third and beyond – tell me if I’m wrong.
So what if your hubby forgot to put laundry detergent in that dirty stained load of whites that one time? It’s not the end of the world – only in our minds, in that moment. Let him know you appreciate the effort, and how much it helps you feel secure knowing he’s got your back when you can’t juggle using octopus arms all day long.
Support may also have nothing to do with the baby – scary, I know – but maybe you’re having frustrations with your mother-in-law being overbearing, or he’s stressing about something at work and could use a little motivation. I know – you’re thinking, “As if I’m not stressing out, too?” Of course, and you shouldn’t deny that he knows that. But he’s still your husband, and may just need your attention on something other than about the baby. And this goes both ways, obviously.
Compliments – easy peasy lemon squeezy. Let him know how good he looks or smells before he rushes off to work. If you find it just absolutely irresistible when you catch your wife doing half squats while changing that diaper – tell her. And even when one another isn’t at their best, let them know anyway – simply an ‘I Love you’ will always be something keen on the mind.
3 | Schedule in moments of leisure, play, and laughter
This can’t be too difficult, right? I’m more than sure there are moments you can find to be lighthearted, crack some jokes or talk about something funny that happened. Play a game – even if you only have 15 minutes to spare – or go for a stroll together in order to unwind. Do things as a family, such as going to the park, or out for ice cream.
Create a schedule of something you will do daily, weekly or monthly as a couple or family. Whatever that be, and stick to that schedule as something to look forward for spending quality time together, even if it’s just spending an hour talking.
4 | Carry on with a little spontaneity in your lives
This, I feel, comes crashing and burning down once couples become new parents. As natural as that is with needing to tend to a baby, it’s important to remember that spontaneity doesn’t need to be a thing of the past. Just because there isn’t much time, or budget, for a Saturday night date night out, you can always create a date night at home.
Sometimes it may require a little planning in advance, but doing something together – without the baby – isn’t asking of much. And if anyone understands this – it’s your closest friends and family. More than likely they would be happily willing to sit while you both take a couple hours to yourselves. Whether that’s a nice quiet dinner, something you both enjoy, or even catching up on much deserved sleep – guilty-free.
5 | Increments of intimacy go a long way
That quickie in the shower, a massage before finally getting to bed, or simply whatever and wherever you darn well please just because. And it isn’t just sex, but those moments of pure closeness – the building up of passion – such as simply holding one another to sleep, snuggling close to a movie, or random moments of intimate touch (holding hands).
Yes, time is of the essence. But believe me when I say – there is time. It is the mutual effort of both spouses to help make that time, such as alleviating the workload on the other to free up that personal time, and taking advantage of minutes rather than hours.
6 | Seek out a way to spend a little
Hopefully new parents are well intact in the financial aspect, with a savings cushion in place, otherwise your entire budget is on deck – which can cause a major clash in marriage after babies. Money already rules out as one of the most prominent reasons for conflict in relationships, and it definitely wouldn’t be any easier with a baby bending that wallet even more.
But sometimes it’s important to remember give and take. And not all the time can that come free. Hold off on buying those unnecessary clothes and toys. Even if that is to buy your wife flowers when you know she’s been having a rough few weeks, or remembering your husband’s favorite beer and surprising him with it stocked in the fridge. The little things at a small cost can be a way to let your spouse know you’re thinking of one another.
7 | Compromise more
You both are going to have different routines and styles to raising a baby – that’s inevitable. You’re going to leave the baby with your husband, come back from grocery shopping to find your baby asleep surrounded by toys in the middle of the floor in the living room – and it’s dinnertime. It’s not your routine for the baby, and it surely isn’t what you advised of your husband while you were gone – so you’re probably biting your tongue knowing you won’t get a lick of sleep that night because of it.
Teaching styles are going to be different – just as sleep, eating and playing routines will differ, too. We should know men and women’s brains are wired differently – yet, we still can’t accept it. At this point in your lives, there are going to be things you don’t agree on, but now is not the time to stir the pot. It’s a time for letting things be, hushing from saying what you really want to say (which will end up being very irrational) and allow certain things to roll off the shoulders.
If some things don’t go your way, everything will still be okay.
But moreover, compromise is always key. If you absolutely disagree on something, discuss it right then – calmly with your husband – coming to a understanding and compromise on the issue.
The important thing to remember is that no matter what, you’re both equally parents – each with a fair, realistic say in raising that baby. And in simply respecting and allowing that in your marriage, it opens up the gates to your spouse knowing you respect and value their judgement, decisions and effort. Think of it like putting pennies in a piggy bank – that little bit always stills feels so rewarding!
It somehow still feels like this post is all about the baby, when in reality my intentions were about putting effort towards your spouse. As exactly how it sounds, babies take up much of your required and needed time.
But we can’t forget the portion of our lives behind all of that – the making of that baby – and the foundation that baby is being raised on, which is your marriage. Marriage after babies is equally important as the life force you created with it, so be sure to spoil your marriage just as much.
This post was written by the amazing Carissa Link. See her bio below and follow her here!