Remember that moment? The one when you saw those two pink lines on the test or your doctor delivered the news or you received that placement call…you know what I mean. I’m talking about the moment you realized your family was officially expanding. You were just the two of you, and now you would become the three of you. While this is exciting news, it also becomes the moment in time that your mind went from nurturing the one relationship between you and your husband, to ALSO nurturing the relationship between you and your child, and your hubby doing the same.
In the blink of an eye, things went from being focused on your marriage to focused on your family. So how do we navigate the difficult waters of marriage while at the same time learning to become parents and how to care for another human being? Here are a few helpful tips on how to continue nurturing your marriage through these different stages!
It Starts During Pregnancy
Whether you yourself are pregnant or you are in a season of waiting for a foster/adoption placement, it starts before they even arrive! Once we know there’s a child on the way, we begin to make all kinds of preparations. This is the time to start reorienting your mind to be able to focus on the care for your children AND the care for your marriage. As you wait for your child, carve out specific time for date nights, goal setting, and reminiscing with your husband. Make sure you both feel loved and adored even though you are anticipating this new life that you will love and adore just as much.
Remember Your Honeymoon
You may or may not have taken a super wonderful and extravagant trip after your wedding, and that’s okay. The goal of this is to remind yourselves of the time in your relationship when you were either actually on your honeymoon, or you were in that “honeymoon phase”. It’s important to look back fondly on the days when your mind and heart were so focused on all the things you love so much about your husband. When entering into a different or challenging season of life (I would argue becoming a parent is both of those), being able to be reminded of what drew you to him or what made your heart skip a beat is key. Don’t let those sweet days before babies be lost on you.
Appreciate the Little Things
When you have an infant, life gets really hectic for a few months. You’re losing sleep, your focus has shifted and it’s easy to allow your relationship to take a back seat. While it makes complete sense not to have the time or energy for fancy dates or long heart-to-hearts, that doesn’t mean you forget about your husband. Tell him thank you when he takes the baby after a long day when you just *can’t*, or changes ten poopy diapers in a row, or makes your favorite dinner or even when he just gives you the hug you need after a long night. I’m not saying you shouldn’t expect him to help in all these ways, because good daddies do all those things! I’m just saying it’s important to remember that he is adjusting to new life with a baby just like you are, and the small gestures mean he’s taking the time to be there for you. The more you remember that, the more likely your heart will be rekindled with love for him over and over.
Get a Babysitter
This one is hard, I know. If you don’t have family close or really good friends, this can be a challenge. But do your best, and once your baby is old enough that you feel comfortable leaving for even just an hour or two, do it! Leave baby with someone you trust and take some time to eat a meal together, take a walk or simply have an uninterrupted conversation. If you truly want your marriage to flourish you NEED time to yourselves. Do this when you can, and always take advantage of the time when baby is sleeping!