Things can get quite… Disorganised, shall we say? After a baby is born. One of the pieces of advice my husband and I took to heart was to not forget about our marriage and each other, and to make space for one another.
We have found that the devil—or in this case, the angel?—is in the details. We made sure to have some form of physical contact every day, even if it was only holding hands. We made sure to pray together, even if it was only a small prayer. We made sure to listen to the other person state how they were feeling and what were the biggest challenges of the day. We listed a couple of things we were grateful for every day. In short, we took some of the simplest things that experts recommend couples do to strengthen their relationship and made time for them. And because these were the simplest of the bunch, we always managed to make the time.
Something that we thought about only later that we feel might have added even more intimacy in our marriage in our first year as parents was to have a set of questions to ask each other. It would have been nice to have a question a day—that each day of the week be dedicated to delving into one question.
Here are some of the questions I would have added on this list.
What Did You Do Today That Made You Think “I Can Do This”?
Being a new parent is overwhelming and it can be easy to focus on everything we don’t know how to do. But a lot of the things we have to do really are instinctive. I was amazed and proud to see how quickly—I mean, within minutes—my husband became comfortable holding our baby. By the end of her first day in this world, he looked like he had been holding babies forever.
Listing the things that we did well would have gone a long way into assuaging our fears, especially in the face of all the unsolicited and outdated advice we were getting from older parents, who, however well-meaning, often left us feeling less-than-adequate.
What Help Do You Wish You Had Had Today?
I’ll be honest: the answer to this one might have been, at times, “A wet nurse” or “An in-house nanny.” I even once found myself wishing for a personal driver! Funnily enough, when I shared this with my husband, we went on a tangent in which we drew out a ridiculously lavish lifestyle. After that bit of hilarity, we actually were often able to figure out something humble yet simple that would make our lives a little easier.
How Was Today Different With Baby Different From Last Year Without Baby?
Needless to say, dates and outings change drastically once baby is born. There is a period of adjustment and, for some, of grieving. Discussing these changes openly—and using things like Facebook memories to remember life pre-baby—can help let go of the way things were and accept the new reality parents face. You should of course ideally have discussed all of this beforehand, but a lot of parents don’t really delve into this and are taken by surprise at how different things are post-baby. But it’s OK! This is what this question helps with.
What Did You Do To Take Care of Yourself?
Parents let go of a lot when they have a child—and sometimes, they let go of things they shouldn’t. It really helps to look at what they are doing to take care of themselves—either they will realise they are not doing anything at all and start doing something, or they will be able to slowly add on to whatever they are doing to better take care of themselves. Taking showers? Great! Now add on moisturizing. Stretching in the morning? Fantastic! Now add on a couple of deep breaths. Saying one prayer in the evening before bed? Lovely! Now add on reading a little bit from Holy Scripture or inspiring quotes. For your baby’s sake, learn to take care of yourself amidst the chaos.
What Do You Miss About “Us”?
This is another question that helps deal with the grief some parents go through for their old life. A friend of mine started asking herself this question regularly and would cry for the life she and her husband had had before their three kids, and her resentment towards them, which she had been fighting for years, melted like snow in the spring.
Having a child can do wonders for a marriage—but only if you let it. A strong foundation can be built on even in the chaos of a baby’s first year, with small but systematic steps. If it works for you, create a list of questions, print them out, and put them somewhere visible—and go through them, one at a time, with your spouse. You’ll be amazed how far such a little something can go.
Any tips on how to strengthen a marriage after having a baby? Drop them below!
8 thoughts on “Strengthening Your Marriage: Continuing The Work After Baby”
These are absolutely wonderful conversation starters. Most of them could apply to your kids, too. I can imagine a whole family discussing them over dinner!
These are really great and you can use them even if you don’t have kids.
These are such great questions and definitely, in those early days, you really can forget about who you were as a couple prior to kids! So important to still communicate and you have come up with some great ways to keep that communication flowing xx
Thanks for linking up with Confessions of Parenting today! Great thoughts. One of the biggest things is never give up date night. I wrote about the importance of that on my post Why Date https://confessionsofparenting.com/2017/08/14/why-date/.
Oh gosh, I can’t tell you how many times in the last 7 months (since our first baby was born) where my hubby and I have said something along the lines of “Remember when…” followed by something that has changed since baby has come into our world and turned it upside down. We are less spontaneous, more structured, and basically, schedule everything around our little nugget. Thank you for these tips! It’s good to remember different ways to nurture your marriage even when a teething baby is taking up all your time and effort. #wanderingwednesday
These are such great ideas! It’s true if we’re not intentional about our marriages after baby we can easily drift from the closeness we once had with our spouses. The one thing I’m super grateful for is that we did have friends and family come over for a few ours occasionally to watch out baby so we could get out of the house together. It didn’t matter what we did it was just nice to stroll through the grocery store holding hands even
These are such great ideas! It’s true if we’re not intentional about our marriages after baby we can easily drift from the closeness we once had with our spouses. The one thing I’m super grateful for is that we did have friends and family come over for a few ours occasionally to watch out baby so we could get out of the house together. It didn’t matter what we did it was just nice to stroll through the grocery store holding hands even ❤️
I love that you and your husband recognized how easy it can be to fall into living more like roommates than spouses after baby is born. I really like the suggestion of consciously making physical contact every day. Sometimes I am so “touched out” by the end of the day with two kids that physical connection is the last thing on my mind and then I realize that my husband and I haven’t actually touched each other in days (not even holding hands). He’s actually been much better about remembering than me, even if it’s just a shoulder squeeze or a kiss on the cheek. I’ll have to make more effort as well.