First of all, if you don't know by now, having a child with someone does not necessarily draw you closer together with your spouse. In fact, if anything, it makes things in a marriage more challenging. Why? Well speaking only from a woman's perspective, there are many reasons:
- Postpartum Hormones. After having a baby, there are sooo many postpartum hormones surging through your body. Your hormones can cause an array of emotions which often lead to postpartum anxiety and/or depression. This obviously can cause some tension between husband and wife. If you are currently dealing with postpartum anxiety or depression make sure you seek out help.
- Resentment. If you are breastfeeding, all your husband can help you with really is diaper changes. So that leaves pretty much all of the responsibility on YOUR shoulders. This can cause resentment. See while breastfeeding, it's pretty much solely your responsibility to wake up for night feedings. Although breastfeeding is an amazing gift, there are some hardships that do occur with it. But know that I am a huge advocate for breastfeeding, as I still do at 16 months! See my other articles about breastfeeding for more info/advice on that area. More resentment can come when your spouse goes back to work and you are left to care for the baby all night and day.
- Raising a child is hard. Just know, no matter how prepared you are... having a child is hard work. It's a constant 24/7 thing. You can't be selfish and be a successful parent. You will be constantly thinking about your child's (children's) needs and no longer your own. On top of that, sometimes you can get touched out. When your husband wants attention physically, it's sometimes difficult to not only find the energy but also the ability to want to be physical when you have been holding at least one child all day.
Well without further ado, here is my two cents on how to keep your marriage on track in spite of the obstacles that occur when you have a child:
1. Ask for help.
This is a two part point:
- Most importantly and key to how my husband and I have a very happy marriage, is turning to the Lord in prayer. I try to ask God for help in every situation we encounter (good or bad). When I'm mad or resentful towards Mr. Picturesque, I ask God for help to forgive him, to deal with whatever emotions I am feeling, and/or for Him to correct Mr. P.
- Ask your spouse for help. Don't assume he knows what you need or what you're thinking. Because I can guarantee you he is clueless. Although he is not as sleep deprived as you, he is still sleep deprived. So ask him for help changing diapers, bathing the baby, cleaning up.
2. Communicate. Communication is key. Tell your husband how you're feeling and what you're feeling. Tell him what he can do to help with what you're feeling. Try your hardest not to yell and to keep your voice calm and low. Once you start raising your voice it escalates from communicating successfully to a fight. Communicating how you are feeling should not lead to a fight.
3. Listen. Maybe there is something going on with your spouse that he is insecure about. Of course he would probably never say the words insecure, but there might be something he's unsure about or scared about when it comes to dealing with a baby. So when he avoids changing a diaper or bathing the baby, maybe there is a reason. Maybe he's worried that he won't do it right.4. Trust his instincts too. Yes, as a mother you have freakishly awesome instincts most of the time when it comes to your kids. I've found this especially to be true when you pray about everything. But your husband tends to have instincts as well when it comes to being a father. So trust him and listen to him. This can be hard to do, especially when you feel that since you're with the kids all day, you have everything down pat. But he has some good, helpful ideas too. So listen to him, trust his instincts and let him know when he's right.
5. Maintain Intimacy. I actually asked my husband for ideas for this fifth point and I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of this point till he said it. Intimacy is so vital to a marriage, especially after a baby. As I mentioned earlier in this post, once a child enters your life, it is often hard to focus not only on yourself but your spouse as well. This is why intimacy is so vital. By intimacy I don't just mean in the bedroom. But that's so important too, to make sure you have sex once a week (at least). But you need to make time for each other in addition to sex... to talk alone, to snuggle, and to go out on a date (at least once a month).
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Shared at Titus 2sdays, Turn It Up Tuesday, & Titus 2 Tuesday.