By Alyssa Rachelle
There’s no question that my husband and I were overjoyed with the birth of our baby girl 10 weeks ago. Although her delicate little toes and infrequent smiling reflexes kept us in love, we were consumed with nervousness and anxiousness over this almost 7 pound miracle.
Having a baby is a life-altering event that can also significantly change the course of your marriage – if you let it.
Below are 5 ways to ensure that your marriage stays strong after baby:
1) Compromise and Let it Go
If there is more than one way to skin a cat then there’s more than one way to swaddle, burp and change a diaper on a baby. Please understand that you both will have your own way of doing things and that both ways can work. When you feel the need to constructively criticize your spouse on their method, take a step back and ask yourself this one question: Did their technique work? If the answer is yes, then let it go.
2) Check in
Periodically, I ask my husband about his feelings on fatherhood. Did he have any fears? Were there any changes that he wanted to make in our routine and didn’t know how to address them? This creates an open dialogue about how we are handling parenthood and makes us feel like we’re in it together.
3) Manage Frustrations
Sleepless nights, fear of the unknown and unbalanced baby duties can create tension between any couple. The moment you find yourself frustrated, talk about it. What is the source of the frustration? Whether it’s lack of sleep or a colicky baby, discussing it can lead to better treatment or a solution. If the solution includes your spouse taking on more duties or picking up an extra baby shift, saying, ‘thank you’ or ‘good job’ will further soothe the situation.
4) Do What Works for YOUR Family
I can’t tell you how many times I have Googled, have looked on mommy forums about various topics and have received advice from family members and friends. While all of their suggestions were great and had come from a helpful place, it might not have necessarily worked for our household or exact situation.
In order to keep the peace at home, make sure you talk with your spouse about plans for your baby (sleeping schedule, when to implement certain items into your child’s routine, etc.). Once you’ve come up with and agree on a plan, stick with it. Don’t deviate from it (without discussing with your spouse) when someone else may criticize or suggest another method.
5) Put Your Marriage First
After all, without you two (and God), there would be no baby. My husband and I kiss each other first before kissing our baby when leaving the house or coming home. We ensure that we make time for each other by having daily conversations about topics other than our baby.
Since our newborn is still in a bassinet in our room, we’ve even watched movies via laptop in the bed with ear buds after the baby has gone to sleep. Any daily or weekly activity that will keep you and your spouse connected will work.
BMWK, how did your marriage change after your children were born?
Alyssa Rachelle is a filmmaker, AusetEnt.com, and writer focusing on marriage, motherhood and entrepreneurship. She lives in the Atlanta area with her husband, 2-month-old daughter and 9-year-old Cocker Spaniel.